Selling the Cape

Dated: March 28 2021

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The Rosen Brothers, who developed Cape Coral, were masters of marketing.  Billed as a “Waterfront Wonderland” Gulf American Corporation embarked on an advertising campaign that promised a paradise for only $20 down and $20 a month for one quarter of an acre of paradise.  Initially, the Rosens converted the vacant land to create 138,000 lots. The plan also included paving 1,700 miles of roads and dredging 400 miles of canals using the earth that was dug up to raise the land so it could be built upon.

To attract buyers to the Cape, the Rosens built the Cape Coral Gardens in 1960 featuring a porpoise show, a garden of patriots, and the famous “Waltzing Waters. In 1960, when their marketing campaign began, the Cape was nothing more than swampland with a few dozen homes built on dirt roads.    The first four homes were built in 1958 on Riverside and Flamingo Drives near the present site of the Cape Coral Yacht Club. The first road in the Cape was Harney Point Road, named after General Harney whose army post was built near where the Cape Coral Bridge is today.  In 1960, the road was completed and renamed Del Prado. In 1964, the first Cape Coral bridge was opened. Prior to that time, residents had to drive twenty miles to North Fort Myers for everything.  The only way to get across the river to Fort Myers was to cross the Edison Bridge.

The first non-residential construction on the Cape was not a grocery store or a gas station.  Rather, it was the Yacht Club at Redfish Point.  Shortly afterwards, the Surfside, the first restaurant, was opened along with the first motel called the Nautilus. 

All of this was created as part of the marketing hype for the newly formed “Waterfront Wonderland.”  Cape Coral was not originally planned as a city.  Back in the 60s it was a large subdivision with no plans for schools, shopping centers, water, or sewers.  Today, however,  the Cape is one of the fastest growing communities in the nation.

 

 

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Ellie and Bob Bunting

Ellie has returned to real estate sales after spending the last 40 years teaching English at Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers She has teamed up with her husband, Bob, who has been a....

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