During the 19th century, Florida was known as the "Wilderness State" due to its vast stretches of undeveloped land and abundant wildlife.
Hendry County, located in the southwestern part of Florida, has a rich and diverse history. The area was once inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Calusa and Seminole peoples, who relied on the rivers and abundant wildlife for their sustenance. These tribes left a lasting impact on the region, with archaeological evidence of their settlements and artifacts still being discovered today.

European exploration of Hendry County began in the 16th century when Spanish explorers arrived in Florida. However, it wasn't until the early 19th century that the area started to be settled by pioneers and ranchers. The establishment of Fort Thompson in the mid-1800s as a military outpost played a crucial role in attracting settlers to the region. The fort provided protection against Native American attacks and served as a hub for trade and transportation.

The foundation of modern Hendry County was laid in 1923 when the county was created out of parts of Lee County. Agriculture became the main industry, with the rich alluvial soil along the Caloosahatchee River being well-suited for farming. Sugarcane, citrus, vegetables, and cattle farming became the backbone of the local economy.

Over the years, Hendry County has seen significant growth and development. The construction of the Herbert Hoover Dike in the 1930s provided flood control and enabled more land to be used for agriculture. The growth of the sugarcane industry, in particular, brought prosperity to the area. Today, Hendry County continues to be an agricultural hub, attracting both small and large-scale farming operations, while also embracing tourism and outdoor recreation as important industries for the region.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Hendry County, Florida.

  • 1923 - Hendry County is established and named after Captain Francis A. Hendry
  • Late 1800s - Pioneer settlers began to move into the area
  • Early 1900s - Agriculture becomes a vital industry with the cultivation of citrus crops
  • 1914 - LaBelle, the county seat, is incorporated
  • 1923 - Clewiston, a major city in Hendry County, is incorporated
  • 1930 - Construction of the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee begins
  • 1948 - First commercial sugar cane harvest takes place in Clewiston
  • 1960s-1970s - Hendry County experiences significant growth and economic development
  • 1992 - Hurricane Andrew causes significant damage to parts of Hendry County
  • 2004-2005 - Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Wilma impact the region