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Cape Coral celebrates 50th anniversary of city incorporation

Southwest Florida’s largest city has changed a lot in the past half century. Although it was not an enormous event as originally intended, Cape Coral city leaders and longtime neighbors and friends were gathered for their city’s big day.

The City of Cape Coral celebrated its 50th anniversary Tuesday. To commemorate the occasion, the city reenacted the signing of the city’s incorporation papers during the morning event.

“I look at Cape Coral today, and I think, ‘How did all this happen,’” Elmer Tabor said.

And no one knows the city’s history better than Tabor, who was present before Cape Coral was incorporated and developed like it is during its milestone celebration.

“I walk around and remember Del Prado as a dirt road,” Tabor said.

The city looks much different than what it looked like when the city’s founders, Leonard and Jack Rosen mapped it out.

“In 1957, they flew over the area, and there was nothing here,” said Janet Trull, the executive director of Cape Coral Historical Museum. “So they built all of the canals, and we have over 400 canals. We have more than the city of Venice, which was their goal when they created the city.”

Fifty years later, the canals are still the Cape Coral’s main attraction. There has been some population growth as well. The city has gone from a little more than 11,000 people to nearly 200,000, giving Cape Coral the distinction as the region’s largest city.

Cape Coral originally planned a big celebration for the 50th anniversary, but that was canceled due to the concerns for the coronavirus pandemic.

Cape Coral Historical Museum does have exhibits planned to mark 50 years. Visit the museum’s website for more information.

“It’ just amazing what we’ve accomplished, not just accomplished, but we’ve been number one to three safest place to live, best place to build a business, best place to retire, best place to raise kids,” Tabor said.

MORE: Cape Coral Historical Museum

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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