BETWEEN THE LINES
Stories of the women who shaped Fort Myers; their legacies endure
Take a day and explore Fort Myers—you’ll find beautiful parks, diverse shopping experiences and world-class Broadway performances. It might be easy to take these treasures for granted, but if you look at the city’s early days―not much over 100 years ago―you will see the passion and strength of the early women settlers who helped transform a dilapidated outpost into the city we love. Female Pioneers of Fort Myers: Women Who Made a Differ
ence in the City’s Development, by Robin C. Tuthill and Thomas P. Hall (Editorial Rx Press, 2015, $16.95), tells their stories.
We know the names McGregor, Hanson, Hendry and Hancock because we see them on street signs and businesses around Fort Myers. Despite the name recognition, however, who can recall the important role the women who bore these names played in establishing our city?
Consider Julia A. Hanson, for instance, who moved with her husband to Fort Myers in 1880 and quickly worked to establish the town’s first church. She later helped organize the first Lee Memorial Hospital Association, along with many other notable achievements. Mina Miller Edison, in addition to being the wife of the great inventor, was a strong voice for protecting the natural beauty that draws so many to our shores. Tootie McGregor Terry brought baseball and golf to Fort Myers, persuaded property owners to install a seawall along the riverfront and in 1912 offered to pave an important roadway―the first in the city―which we know as McGregor Boulevard. (Her husband, Ambrose, was president of Standard Oil). These stories and many more are an important part of our heritage, but they have largely gone unremembered. Robin C. Tuthill and Thomas P. Hall have brought history to life in this thoughtfully researched and fascinating account of these amazing women.