By: Robert Carr & Tim Harrington and Maureen Sullivan-Hartung
Today’s Everglades City was originally called “Everglade” when it was but a vast formidable wilderness. Following county namesake Barron Gift Collier’s arrival and the subsequent establishment of both the county government seat and the company town, it became Everglades (plural) in 1923. This former desolate acreage, located approximately 45 miles south of Naples, was soon bustling, with not only shops and homes but also the construction of the Tamiami Trail, which was completed in 1928. Everglades City is home to the Western Hemisphere entrance of the Everglades National Park, bringing in tourists from around the world. The annual Everglades City Seafood Festival held the second weekend in February, began 50 years ago to initially raise funds for playground equipment. A former commercial laundry building, dating back to the 1920s, now houses the Museum of the Everglades. Approximately 500 residents live in Everglades City year-round today.