Laurel Estates--Then to Now

Much of the following information comes from documents gathered by Lois Fritz. There are lots of gaps in the history we would like to fill. If you have any additions or corrections to this document please send an email to webmaster@laurelestates.com.

Early history comes from NOTES from Abstract of Title of Laurel Estates acreage.

  • 1879
    • Laurel Estates is part of 582,360 acres of “Swamp and Overflowed Land unfit for cultivation” turned over to the State of Florida by U.S. Government for reclamation in 1879 under General Land Act of 1850, signed by President Rutherford B. Hayes.
  • 1884
    • Laurel Estates is part of 2,182,412 Acres under reclamation of lands overflowed by Kissimmee and tributaries and Lake Okeechobee transferred from State of Florida to Atlantic and Gulf Coast Canal and Okeechobee Land Company.
  • 1886
    • 1,280 Acres (including Laurel Estates acreage) sold to John Lowe, Jr. for $1,600.
  • 1889
    • $300,000 mortgage held by Guarantee Trust and Safe Deposit Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • 1895
    • Mortgage paid in full by Atlantic and Gulf Coast Company.
  • 1903
    • 2,720 Acres deeded to Cartier, Ratt, and Shackleton of Ludington, Michigan, for $2,292.
    • Cartier family and Cartier Lumber Company owned acreage until 1931.
  • 1931
    • Part acreage deeded to Maurice Flynn of Fort Myers.
  • 1941
    • Rest of land deeded to Maurice Flynn upon death of Cartier family.
  • 1957
    • Deeded to Lee Investment Company on death of Flynn family, then deeded to Jean and Carl Goehrings, then to Ewings family, and finally to William Winters for $27,690.
  • 1969
    • 135 Acres deeded from William Winters to David Howell, Pontiac Michigan on December 31.
  • 1970
    • David and Jane Howell began clearing land in June of 1970.
  • 1971
    • Fred and Dorothy Schaefer are the first tenants February 26, 1971.
  • 1972
    • Bingo started in 1972. Harry Moore and Gene Dittmar callers, $10.70 income on August 2.
    • Social Club started August 27. President, Gene Dittmar, Vice-President, Harry Moore, Secretary, Evie McClure, Treasurer, Jane Howell.
    • First calendar (handwritten and delivered by Vivian Douglas) with just dates.
  • 1973
    • Monthly mimeographed calendar, typed programs printed first in November, showing shuffleboard, Jack Pugh’s art class, Bible class, and bingo as regular weekly events.
    • New Year’s Eve Party with snacks and BYOB.
  • 1974
    • Card Night every Tuesday beginning January.
    • Ceramics Class began February with Jane Elwell.
    • Bowling League at Everglades Lanes began in May on Thursdays.
    • Coffee added to Bingo night in July.
    • Coffee (and sometimes doughnuts) started on Sunday morning in July.
    • Exercise Class begun October on Wednesdays.
    • Thanksgiving Dinner. Howell’s furnished turkeys.
    • Laurel News Scope newspaper first printed December by Editor Mick Holeman.
    • First Craft Bazaar, December 5.
    • First Year Shuffleboard League Play, December. $1.50 annual dues.
  • 1975
    • $12 monthly maintenance fee.
    • The initial cost of home, carport, screened patios and lot is under $12,000.
    • New Player Piano. (February)
    • Program Committee formed. (August)
    • Card Night once a month.
    • Craft Club started. (August)
    • Decorated Bicycle Parade, July 4.
    • First Laurel Estates Resident Directory sheets with address and phone number.
    • Birthday lists. (August)
    • Drinking Fountain purchased for the club house.
  • 1976
    • Golfing, Men’s and Women’s groups. (January)
    • Washers and Dryers installed for use on Mondays only.
    • New Entrance Sign. (March)
    • Shuffleboard Covers. (October)
    • Dart Baseball begun. (December)
  • 1977
    • $20 monthly maintenance fee.
    • Pictorial Directory.
    • Hand Crocheted US Flag for Clubhouse by Bea Hunt. (April)
    • Park Band practices begun. (October)
  • 1978
    • Birthday Parties begun on monthly basis on Saturdays. (February)
    • Refusal by Lot Owners to purchase Laurel Estates. (October)
    • First Christmas Tea. (December)
    • Judging Xmas outdoor decorations. (December)
  • 1979
    • Flea Market and Bake Sale. (January)
    • New Organ purchase organized by Dottie DevLin and Helen Ferrenberg. (May)
    • LaPetite Femme exercise class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (July) (Three days per week in 1981.)
  • 1980
    • News printed on back of calendars first time. (February)
    • Traffic light petition for Laurel Drive and Business Route 41. (March) (238 signatures from Laurel Estates)
    • North Fort Myers Library dedication. (April)
    • Park Office/Manager mobile home placed in Lake Arrowhead by David Howell. (July)
    • Jerry and Marie Meyers, park managers. (August)
    • Shell Factory blaze. (August)
    • Pay phone in Club House. (December)
  • 1981
  • 1982
    • Refusal of Lot Owners to purchase Laurel Estates Corporation. (August)
    • First luminaries. (December)
  • 1983
    • Ladies Golf Association formed with 17 members at Del Tura. (January)
    • Line Dance Classes started on Thursdays with Priscilla Weatherholtz as instructor. (February)
  • 1984
    • Dwight and Virginia Stangel, park managers.
    • First Farewell Dance with Weatherholtz tapes cost $1. (April)
    • Coffee and Doughnuts two Saturdays each month. (May)
  • 1985
    • First Valentine Dance with Tune Ups, BYOB. (February)
  • 1986
  • 1987
    • Coffee and Doughnuts every Saturday. (January)
    • First printed Laurel Estates and Lake Arrowhead phone directory. (October)
    • Stereo/tape/record player donated to Club House by Eileen Dickerson. (November)
  • 1988
    • Curt and Dee Gaylor, park managers. (September)
    • George Gannities organized Laurel Aires Fun Band. (October)
  • 1989
    • $50.42 monthly maintenance fee.
  • 1990
    • $52.57 monthly maintenance fee.
    • Lot Owners Association prevented a proposed sewer fee increase.
    • Lot Owners Association annual dues $4.00 per household. Social Club annual dues $2.00 per person.
  • 1991
    • United States and Florida flags for the clubhouse purchased by Laurel Aires.
    • Vertical blinds for the clubhouse purchased by the Social Club for $870.
    • Jerry and Marie Meyers, park managers.
  • 1992
    • $56.62 monthly maintenance fee.
    • Clubhouse expansion, including carpeting for old and new sections, completed at a cost of $476. (February)
    • Outside bulletin boards for the clubhouse purchased by the Men's Club. (March)
    • Vertical blinds for the card room purchased for $225 with the Men's Club paying half. (March)
    • Canadian residents purchased a Canadian flag and flag pole. (March)
  • ...
  • 2003
    • Refusal by Lot Owners to purchase Laurel Estates. (October)
  • 2004
    • Laurel Estates web site, www.laurelestates.com, goes online. (March)
    • Laurel Estates purchased by John and Linette Parrish. (June)
  • ...
  • 2010
    • Refusal by Lot Owners to purchase Laurel Estates. (October)
  • 2011
    • $76.24 monthly maintenance fee.
    • Commercial refrigerator purchased for the clubhouse. (April)
    • Laurel Estates purchased by Ultra 5 LLC. (October)
  • 2012
    • $78.98 monthly maintenance fee.