5 Fun Facts About Dean Park

Just a stroll away from Downtown Fort Myers, the Dean Park neighborhood is one of the most charming places to call home. The neighborhood sits on the National Register of Historic Places, but that’s not the only fun fact about Dean Park. 

The name 

Dean Park was originally called Hyde Park. The current name is tied to a man named John Morgan Dean, who came for vacation and snapped up land for what we now call Dean Park just after the turn-of-the-century. The plan was to construct an upscale residential development. But when the first home in the subdivision was constructed, there wasn’t a map filed with the county, so it wasn’t until years later that it was officially called Dean Park.

Street names

Some of the streets, meanwhile, are named for other places. Dean chose Rhode Island Avenue and Providence Street because he was originally from Rhode Island. Cranford Avenue, First Street, and Palm Avenue were already there, as was Evans Avenue. Another road was originally called Banana Street. In 1920, that street was renamed Michigan Avenue.

Home of founding families

Because of the time period and restrictive nature of the neighborhood, it’s probably not surprising that Dean Park once served as home to many of the city’s founding families. It’s said this was the social center of the city, and occasionally attracted the likes of Thomas Edison.

Architectural styles

As one of Lee County’s very first planned subdivisions, the majority of homes were constructed between WWI and the late 1920s. For this reason, you’ll find some notable historic homes in Dean Park, including some charming Old Florida-style homes, Craftsman-style bungalows, and Spanish Revival. John Dean’s construction company built some of the earliest homes, but others were built by investors.  Construction ceased after the stock market crash, and it wasn’t until the 1950s that additional construction brought ranch-style homes to the neighborhood.

Walking Tour 

Many of the homes have been nicely preserved over the years, and for this reason maintain some of their original detailing, such as wood flooring and decorative molding. You can learn more about some of the neighborhood’s oldest homes with a self-guided walking tour. Brochures are available in a kiosk at Dean Park Triangle.

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