Willard Lamb Velie at the time was the other car magnate in Fort Mayers.
The Velie's built a home next to Annie's fathers home on the Caloosahatchee river. The Velies gave elegant parties just like their home in Moline. Willard would golf at the Fort Myers Golf and Yacht Club. Thomas Edison was listed as a director of the club.
Who knows if Willard ran into Edison or Ford, on the Golf course. With the population at the time in Fort Myers around 3,000 to 4,000 I'm sure they did run into each other.
In Feb 1912 Willard had one of this cars shipped to him in Fort Myers from Moline.
In April 5th of 1919 Willard jumped into the first annual gun club championship in Fort Myers. He was a winner of a trophy in that first year. Velie's home was on the corner of First street and Park Ave next to the Edison Bridge. Where the Sea Chest Motel is today. We have three Velie cars listed in the Velie Register in Florida today.
A man by the name of John Murphy, a wealthy mine owner and stockman from Montana. Showed his friend Daniel Flowerree around Fort Myers. The men weren't impressed with Florida's lean, stringy range cattle, but instead were charmed by Fort Myer's tropical beauty. Murphy purchased 450 feet of riverfront property for $3,500. Later he sold about half of that to Flowerree. Flowerree built a home on the lot next to Murphy's home in 1898. In 1900 Mr Flowerree bought 600 acres to start a booming citrus business. With general shrowdness and foresight which made him one of the biggest stockmen, he launched a grapefruit and oranges business in Florida. At the time he was one of the largest individual shippers of oranges and grapefruit in Florida. In the late 1950s his house was torn down and an apartment building was erected on site.
You ask yourself what does Willard Velie, Daniel Flowerree ( Annie's Father a Montana cattle baron) Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, have in common ?
Successful businessmen yes and they all had winter homes in Fort Mayers Florida.
During the building boom between 1898 and the 1920ís, torrents of winter visitors from the north flocked to Fort Myers Florida seeking their fortunes in land investments. And to get out of the snow and cold weather ( better known as snowbirds ).
Fort Myers has seen incredible growth to its population throughout its history. A community of just 575 people at the time of the 1890 census bounced to over 2,400 residents in 1910. By the 1940 census, the city had over 10,000 residents. The popultion today is now is 82,000.
In 1887, Thomas Edison (the world renowned inventor) completed building a winter home estate, known as the Seminole Lodge, in the city of Fort Myers. Throughout the following years, Edison developed many important inventions at his lodge, and was often visited by Henry Ford.
Eventually, in 1911, Ford built a winter lodge next to Edison's estate. Henry Ford spent his time in Fort Myers creating his famous automobiles. The first Ford dealership in Fort Myers opened in 1914, following the successful design and manufacture of the Model T in 1907.