The Fountain of Youth, a legendary spring that was believed to grant eternal youth to those who drank from it, was thought to be located in Florida. Juan Ponce de León is said to have been searching for it when he discovered the land that would become Florida.
Collier County, located in southwestern Florida, has a rich history that spans thousands of years. Before the arrival of European settlers, the region was inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Calusa and the Seminole. The Calusa were known for their complex canal systems, shell mounds, and sophisticated social structure. Spanish explorers, such as Juan Ponce de León, first encountered the Calusa in the early 16th century.

European settlement in the area began in the late 19th century. The construction of the Tamiami Trail, a roadway connecting Tampa and Miami, played a crucial role in the development of the county. The trail was completed in 1928, opening up the area for agriculture, trade, and tourism. It also led to the founding of the county in 1923, which was named after advertising magnate Barron Collier.

Collier County experienced rapid growth and development in the mid-20th century. The construction of the Everglades Jetport in the 1960s was a major project that aimed to transform the area into a thriving metropolitan hub. However, environmental concerns and legal battles ultimately prevented the jetport from opening. Instead, the land was incorporated into the Big Cypress National Preserve and maintained its natural integrity.

Today, Collier County is known for its stunning natural beauty and thriving tourism industry. The county is home to the famous Everglades National Park, which attracts visitors from around the world. The region's subtropical climate, beautiful beaches, and abundant outdoor recreational activities make it a popular destination for both residents and tourists alike. With a strong emphasis on preserving its natural resources and unique ecosystems, Collier County continues to evolve while maintaining its connection to its rich history.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Collier County, Florida.

  • Created in 1923
  • Named after Barron Collier, a New York City advertising mogul
  • Development of Collier County began in the late 1920s as the Tamiami Trail was completed
  • Immokalee, the largest inland community in the county, was established in the 1930s
  • During World War II, the county served as a training ground for the United States Army
  • Following the war, the construction of the Naples Municipal Airport started in the late 1940s
  • In the 1950s, Collier County experienced population growth with the development of Naples and other coastal communities
  • Collier County was officially incorporated as a county in 1961
  • Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, Collier County continued to grow as a popular tourist destination
  • In 1997, Hurricane Irma caused significant damage and flooding in the area