Cape Coral celebrates a semi-centennial

A Retro Day at the Yacht Club: This image from a postcard shows some families enjoying a day at the pool.

State Archives of Florida

A Retro Day at the Yacht Club: This image from a postcard shows some families enjoying a day at the pool.

2020 is a historical year for the city of Cape Coral and Cape Coral High School. The city celebrates its 50th year, and the school turns 40 years old. The community, initially an uninhabitable swampland, has now become a massive, sprawling city.

On August 18th, 1970, the city of Cape Coral, originally known as Redfish Point, came into being. Almost fifty years later, in 2017, Forbes listed Cape Coral as #1 out of 25 fastest growing cities in the United States.

Cape Coral also boasts the most canals of any city in the world, with over 400 miles of canals running through its city.

As 2020 marks the 50th anniversary, the city plans to continue its celebration of such occasions.Janel Trull, the executive director of the Cape Coral Historical Museum, said, “What’s really neat about Cape Coral is they’ve been really on top of celebrating milestones. They did something for their 25th anniversary [and] their 35th anniversary, so it’s nice that they are interested in celebrating their own history.”

The city has big plans for the celebration. The fleet of city vehicles now have a blue and orange decal with the number 50. The city also hosted several events throughout the month of January in celebration and will end the year with a bang by hosting a fireworks display at the Coconut Fest in November.

Trull wishes to provide more recreational activities for the residents of the city. “We’re going to try and do some events around like a car show, and just different opportunities for people to come to our space from a variety of audiences,” Trull said.

Trull likes the feeling of being in a different town, because one can meet and talk with people who were here from the beginning. “There’s a lot of history that has happened, and there’s the people who are still here,” Trull said.

As a director of the museum, Trull receives opportunities to view the artifacts and photos of Cape Coral. She noticed the ever changing appearance of Cape Coral through the photographs that grace the walls of the Historical Museum.

Cape High teacher, Rena Braun, has been a resident of Cape Coral since 1970. Braun considers many of the changes the city has gone through to be good. “I’ve always felt safe in Cape Coral, even with the growth,” Braun said.

Cape Coral is always changing as new houses are built and new families move in. With more people and changes, Cape Coral can be more culturally rich and diverse. “It just doesn’t seem to be stopping,” Trull said.

Students at Cape High even get the opportunity to work with the city and the numerous events. Junior Shaun Mitchinson is a member of the Youth Council, “the youth council specifically allows for the students of the schools to become involved within local government,” he said. As such, Mitchinson sees some events discussed during the city council meetings, which the youth council sits in at.

Over time, cities will get older, and Cape Coral is no exception. One day the city will be 100 years old, and maybe there will be a celebration for that.