Naples is merely the beginning of your visit to Southwest Florida. Beyond its city limits, there are many more sites and outdoor opportunities for you, your family and friends visiting with you to explore.
One of these cities worth your visit is Everglades City, which is located 45 minutes away from East Naples, or an hour away from North Naples, in the direction of Miami. In Everglades City, there are several notable sites that can help you experience authentic, old Florida at its finest. One of the best places to start your visit to Everglades City, is to stop by the Museum of the Everglades.
Located in the heart of Everglades City, the Museum of the Everglades is a historic museum filled with as much history as are the exhibits within. The building itself was first constructed in 1927 as a laundry building, used by Barron Gift Collier Jr.’s employees for their laundry.
After it was closed in the 1940s, the laundry was abandoned, until the 1970s, when it saw several reincarnations up until the 1990s when it once again became an abandoned building. These reincarnations included a general store, an ice cream shop, and as a Catholic church.
However, in the mid-1990s, some locals partnered with the Collier County Museum system to restore the building and create what is now the Museum of the Everglades.
The museum contains exhibits that pertain to the history of the Everglades, in particular, to how Everglades City came to be. You will learn about the earliest days of the Everglades, from pre-historic days to the Calusas, to the earliest settlers in Everglades City.
Furthermore, you will learn about the early days of Everglades City under the influence of Barron Gift Collier, Jr., the impact that Hurricane Donna had on the future of Everglades City, and an idea of what the laundry would have looked like in the 1920s. There is a front gallery, the Pauline Reeves Gallery, which features art by local artists.
The Museum of the Everglades is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. The museum is open to the public, free of charge, and self-guided. However, the volunteers and staff are knowledgeable enough to where they can answer any questions you might have on the exhibits you saw, and also on the history of the laundry building and/or Everglades City.
For more information, please visit their website at http://www.evergladesmuseum.org/home.aspx.
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