The Museum of the Everglades celebrates the 82nd anniversary of the opening of the Tamiami Trail and the museum’s 12th anniversary on Saturday, with an afternoon of activities including an antique car parade, storytelling, lunch with birthday cake and local musicians, and a walking tour of historic buildings.
The Tamiami Trail was a critical first step in Barron G. Collier’s plan to develop his County by connecting the east and west coast region via Florida’s two leading cities. This stretch of U.S. 41 spans 275 miles connecting Tampa to Miami. After more than a decade of construction and $8 million, the trail opened officially on April 26, 1928.
Today, the Tamiami trail is Florida’s version of Route 66 with plenty of alligators, black bears, circus sideshow performers, fine art masterpieces, tomatoes and roasted Cuban pork along the way.
“When it was built during the ‘Roaring 20’s,’ the Tamiami Trail was considered the 8th wonder of he world,” said Timothy England, Museum of the Everglades manager. “For the first time, cars could travel comfortably over land across the southern tip of Florida. It opened up Collier County to great economic development.”
The Museum of the Everglades opened April 26th 1998, to coincide with the same day as the opening of the Tamiami Trail. It was through the hard work of the Everglades community, a dream of Pauline Reeves and the Women’s Club of the Everglades, to turn a rundown building into a museum. It took more than seven years and considerable help from the current director of the Collier County Museums Ron Jamro to restore the building to its former glory and turn it into a museum.
About Collier County Museums: More than 10,000 years of Southwest Florida History is on display at Collier County Museums’ four locations — the main museum location in Naples, two additional museum facilities in Everglades City and Immokalee, and the historic Naples Depot, a former train station and local favorite in the heart of downtown Naples. The main location is located just five minutes east of downtown Naples in the government center at 3301 Tamiami Trail East in Naples. The Museum’s five-acre plot includes a native plant garden, orchid house, two early Naples cottages, a logging locomotive, swamp buggies and a WWII Sherman tank.
The Museum of the Everglades is in the center of Everglades City, and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday-Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. Admission is free and the site is handicapped accessible. For more information, visit colliermuseums.com or call (239) 695-0008.
IF YOU GO
What: The Opening of the Tamiami Trail and Museum of the Everglades Anniversary Celebration
When: Saturday; 11 a.m. – Arrival of Antique Cars from Naples-Marco Island Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America; 11:30 a.m. – Opening ceremonies and “Hurricanes: Stories from the Past;” 12:30 p.m. – Hot dogs, refreshments and birthday cake with music from Snooker Joe Stem and Terri Rementeria; 1:30 p.m. – Walking Tour of Historic Buildings.
Where: Museum of the Everglades, 105 West Broadway Everglades City, Florida