When I was growing up in Miami, we always used to go at some point during the Christmas holidays to the Rod and Gun Club in Everglades City for a day or two to enjoy the cool weather on the west coast of Florida, eat stone crabs and do a little boating through the Thousand Islands. In later years my best friend in High School and I used to organize an improptu day-long rally down Alligator Alley, with lunch at the Club, usually punctuated by someone's old british roadster breaking down along the way! It's amazing but this bit of Florida history is still around and kicking after all these years. Still as lovely as ever and great fun to visit. Less than a 2 hour trip from Miami, I am surprised so many Miamians either don't know the place or have never been to it. Everglades City was a pretty ramshackle town of the kind you saw many of in the old days. While its been somewhat modernized, it still retains that old Florida Cracker style and look.
Prior to 1923, Everglades City was called Everglade, a name given the settlement along the crooked little Allen's River in 1893 by Bembery Storter after the U.S. Post Office refused the request for the name Chokoloskee, which is now the name of an old outpost just to the south at the western entrance to Everglades National Park. Flamingo, the third of the old original towns, still marking the end of the main park road, is now a park community with a campground, ranger station, marina and lodge. Farming was the primary occupation of people living in the area and included sugarcane, bananas, and vegetables. George T. Storter is considered the true founder of the town. He and his family were prominent in Everglade's growth and activities and owned much of the land around the town until the arrival of Baron Collier in 1923. It was under the Storter stewardship that the Everglade began to draw visitors and sportsmen. The Rod and Gun Club was built around the Storter home.
Barron Collier is primarily responsible for the foundation of Everglades City as you see it today. In 1923 he and his company purchased most of the land in and surrounding the town. Within five years the sleepy trading post and farming community was converted into a bustling industrial-based company town replete with roads, a railroad, a bank, a telephone, sawmills, a boatyard, churches, a school, workers' barracks and mess halls, and even its own streetcar at one time. It served as the county seat of Collier County until 1960, when prosperity waned and county offices were moved to Naples. Neighboring Chokoloskee did not have a road until a causeway was built from the mainland in 1956.