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Everglades City was first homesteaded after the Civil War. In the 1880s the Storter family bought most of the land and exported sugar cane syrup and other agricultural products to Key West by boat. They also built a large house and trading post which is now the famous Rod & Gun Lodge, visited by numerous US Presidents and celebrities. In the 1920s Barron Collier, a wealthy businessman from Tennessee and New York, bought the town and about one million acres of surrounding land. He persuaded the state legislature to create a county named in his honor in exchange for financing the completion of the Tamiami Trail (US41 from Tampa to Miami). Everglades City was the county seat (see the old county courthouse, now City Hall) and headquarters for road building.
This historic town still has many of the original houses and buildings that were part of Collier's development. The Museum of the Everglades tell the area's story. Everglades City is also the Western Gateway to the Everglades National Park and close to the Big Cypress National Preserve and Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. Most visitors enjoy the abundant fishing in the area and the unspoilt wildlife.