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Tropicalia: Lee County author, curator write about Cape Coral
By Amy Bennett Williams   - 11/15/2009

News-Press

More Info on This Book: Cape Coral

Forget the snarky nickname (Cape Coma), the jeering dismissals (home of the newly wed and nearly dead) - even the so-called common knowledge (it's a town without a history).

The fact of the matter is, Cape Coral has a rich and quirky past, something Chris Wadsworth and Anne Cull, curator of the Cape Coral Historical Museum, were reminded of over and over as they put together the new book: "Images of America: Cape Coral."

The 128-page book is full of images of the city's history, from shots of barefoot early settlers to swinging '60s publicity stills of big names like Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller celebrating the Cape's charms.

"It truly was a very exciting place," says Wadsworth, a freelance writer who also writes a media column for The News-Press. "To promote it, they had so much going on - beauty pageants, golf tournaments, celebrity appearances - anything to get them a mention in a Northern paper. So there was always something happening and it was because of that excitement that people bought property there."

The book has generated some decidedly contemporary excitement of its own: It has a page on Facebook with more than 500 fans and old-timers contributing their own recollections and photos. For example, here's what Debbie Cooke wrote: "My husband's grandfather (Seth Daniels) and his brothers owned this land and it was called the Matlacha Cattle Company. It was a working ranch for years. ... brimming with deer, turkey and wild hogs. I can't remember what year they sold it. ... it was a beautiful place to see, huge oaks and pines (and) lots of rattlesnakes too! Pappy brought in a barge full of wild hogs to kill the snakes. ... There were places to sleep the men and a big Ranch House. ... Big Mama drove a wagon with a top on it to follow them with food and water and other supplies.

"It was truly a part of history forgotten by most. "
But thanks to Wadsworth, Cull and their fans, Cape Coral's vivid past is still close at hand.

Buy It Now: Cape Coral $21.99




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