Our History
This area was settled in the late 1800s. Little communities farmed, fished, and hunted throughout the Ten Thousand Islands. The Storter family was prominent in the village of Everglade until Barron Gift Collier bought them out in 1922 to create a company town which was the seat for his new County and the engineering headquarters for the construction of the Tamiami Trail. To read more, download "Why Is There A City Here?".
The old Laundry Building was completed in 1927 and cleaned the linens for Collier's Rod & Gun Club and Everglades Inn. From about 1933, the extended Echols family operated the business, some of them living in the building as well as working there. The Laundry closed during World War II and the Women's Club took over the premises in the 1960s, eventually restoring it to be used as a Museum. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. To read more, download "The Old Laundry Building".
Pauline Reeves, one of the last members of the Women's Club, convinced Collier County that the old Laundry should become a museum of local history and led the movement to restore the building. With other local residents, she founded the Friends of the Museum of the Everglades who raised money for the project. The front gallery in the Museum is named in Pauline's honor. To read more, download "Our Founders".
Plaques on the front of the Museum commemorate two Great Floridians with local links. DAVID GRAHAM COPELAND was the chief engineer and manager for Collier's activities in the area and an avid historian. DEACONESS HARRIET BEDELL helped Native Americans to improve their standard of living by encouraging them to sell their craft work. To read more, download "Great Floridians".
© 2017, Friends of the Museum of the Everglades, Inc.