STEP BACK IN TIME WITH OUR
History Walks Of Bonita Springs

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The BSHS has partnered with Calusa Ghost Tours to provide a series of educational and entertaining history walks in our downtown. There are several different walk itineraries, each focusing on a particular area and with different stories.
See below to reserve and prepay for a $10 discount.

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We greatly thank the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau for grant funds to help promote this downtown cultural activity!

Private history Walks may be arranged for your group. Minimum of 10 participants, or $200 for Walks ($300 for the Wonderment Walk).

See below for dates & details of upcoming 2021 Walks.

Note that the cost per person is $10 Less if reserved and prepaid with credit card via Paypal (within 24 hours advance of Walk date), as opposed to paying the day of Walk. Please select desired Walk and date from drop down menu, click the "Add to Cart" button which will take you to secure Paypal webpage, then select the number of participants (Quantity) on Paypal link page.

Select History Walks

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NOTES FOR PARTICIPATION

* Please arrive a few minutes (10 minutes or so) early to register (we have a sign-in questionnaire form) so we can start Walk at 10am. Tours end by noon.

* For the safety of all during this time of Covid,
the wearing of masks is required. Most all the touring is conducted outside, however we require masks to be worn throughout. We will also follow Social Distancing guidelines.

* Funding to support these walks is provided by Lee County Visitors Bureau. As part of the grant requirement, we will need to collect demographic data, such as they want to know if you are a local resident, seasonal or visitor. Please bring a pen to fill out the form (to avoid physical contact), or you may download the form attached, complete and bring to the walk.

* There are no refunds for "no shows" if you do not attend, however a credit can be given for a future Walk. For payments the morning of Walk, it is additional $10 per person and to be paid in Cash or Check only, if not booked online within 24 hours prior. Refunds will be provided if the Walk is cancelled by the BSHS.

* All Walks start at the Liles Hotel in Riverside Park, except the "How Bonita Got Its Name" walk, which starts at the Shangri La Resort. See below in Walk descriptions for addresses. Lunch is NOT included on any of the Walks, however there are good downtown restaurants.

* Since we will be outdoors and walking, we suggest comfortable shoes, drinking water, a hat and sunscreen, and umbrella if chance of rain.

* For questions in advance, you may call the BSHS at 239-992-6997. For morning day of contacts for cancelations or directions: John at 239-221-8218 or Charlie at 239-992-6133.


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2021 HISTORY WALKS OVERVIEW

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LAND OF THE CALUSA: January 16 & March 27, 2021
Learn about the archaeology of the first peoples to live in Bonita Springs. Hear the stories of the mighty Calusa, who ruled all of Southwest Florida and whose capital was Mound Key in Estero Bay, including their contact with the Spanish starting in 1513. See demonstrations of the tools the Calusa used to prosper: the atlatl (an ancient device to throw a spear for fishing) shell tool making, weaving, and more. Walk to Island Park and learn about our native plants and ecology.
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HOW BONITA GOT ITS NAME: January 30 & April 10, 2021

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Learn how Bonita Springs got its name and stories about many of our oldest buildings. Tour Shangri-La Springs, one of our first developments and site of the springs that gave Bonita Springs its name. Learn about the owners and intriguing uses of this resort over time. We’ll also make stops at the Goodbread Grocery, our 1921 Elementary School on the National Registry of History Places, our oldest church, Fleming House, and other neighborhoods with historic houses. Stay afterward for an optional garden-to-table lunch at the Shangri-La (reserve in advance) and learn about its new programs.
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PLACES OF WONDERMENT: February 13 & April 24, 2021
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Hear about lost historic tourist attractions of wonderment like the original Shell Factory (now in North Fort Myers), Seminole Indian Village, the Dome, and Mystery House. Then get a VIP tour of the 80-year-old Everglades Wonder Gardens, still going strong, to experience the history and beauty of this tropical oasis and learn about the colorful Piper brothers who created it.
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DOWNTOWN LANDMARKS: February 27, 2021
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Hear stories of the people, buildings, and places that shaped Bonita Springs—and about what’s happening to revitalize our downtown. Starting at the Liles Hotel History Center, we make stops at the Imperial River, Riverside Park, the Banyan Tree, 1915 McSwain Home, historic murals, and more. Learn about lost landmarks like Baird’s Camp, Bonita Court, Pavilion, Wayside Inn, and Post Office.
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CRUISIN’ DOWN THE RIVER: March 13, 2021
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The Imperial River and its tributaries were the main means of travel and commerce in Bonita Springs until the first railroads and the Tamiami Trail (now Old US 41) in the 1920s. The river was a vital to fishing and recreation, attracting winter visitors and new residents. Walk along the river to Depot Park and over the river to Island Park. Learn about the community’s main dock and Rosemary Creek. See historic homes in the 1930's Riverside subdivision. Learn about the river's ecosystem, its importance to the past and present, and about water issues (water quality, flooding, etc.).
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GHOST WALK
Listen to mysterious local tales, meet a historic ghost, and learn about fascinating characters of our past, from Calusa chiefs and Spanish explorers to the Piper brothers of the Everglades Wonder Gardens. (Available for private groups)
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MONUMENTS, ARTS & CULTURE
Historic Downtown Bonita Springs is home to over 2 dozen murals, sculptures, and memorials. Featured are the Arts in Public Places pieces, the 911 Memorial, and the Artist Village at the Liles Hotel Historic Plaza in Riverside Park. (Available for private groups)

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2021 HISTORY WALKS DETAILS

January 16 & March 27, 2021Saturday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

"Calusa History Walk”   LAND OF THE CALUSA 

Learn about the archaeology of the first peoples to live in Bonita Springs. Hear the stories of the mighty Calusa, who ruled all of Southwest Florida and whose capital was Mound Key in Estero Bay, including their contact with the Spanish starting in 1513. See demonstrations of the tools the Calusa used to prosper: the atlatl (an ancient device to throw a spear for fishing and hunting), shell tool making, weaving, and more.  

Walk through Depot park over the Imperial River to Island park and learn about our native plants and ecology.  Afterwards, enjoy a picnic lunch or eat at one of the nearby restaurants (lunch not included).

Start/End at Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park. Total walk distance is about 1 mile and tour duration of 2 hours. Meet at 10am at the Liles Hotel in Riverside Park, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. For History Walk reservations, call 239-992-6997, or email  info@bonitaspringshistoricalsociety.org

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January 30 & April 10, 2021: Saturday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

"Springs History Walk”   HOW BONITA GOT ITS NAME 

Learn how Bonita Springs got its name and about many of our oldest buildings. Hear the history of the Shangri La Resort, the first developments of our town, the Goodbread Grocery, our Elementary School (which its listed on the National Registry of History Places), our oldest standing church, local Art In Public Places, the Corner Store, the Fleming House, and neighborhood areas with historic houses. 

After the tour, an optional lunch (cost of lunch is separate with advance reservations) at the Shangri La is suggested. Relax and enjoy the beauty of this historic oasis in the middle of Bonita Springs. Lunch entrees from $12 - $20. Total walk distance is about 2 miles and tour duration of 2 hours.

Start/End at the Shangri La Resort. Total walk distance is about 2 miles and tour duration of 2 hours. 
Meet at 10am at the Shangri La, 27580 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. For History Walk reservations, call 239-992-6997, or email  info@bonitaspringshistoricalsociety.org
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February 13 & April 24, 2021: Saturday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $30 in advance, $40 the day of.

History Wonder Walk”   PLACES OF WONDERMENT

Take a guided walk through the Liles Hotel History Center and hear stories of Bonita Spring's origins and past. Walk through the historic plaza and hear about the water towers, artists cabins, the Imperial River, and the local businesses of old downtown. Learn about our lost historic attractions of wonderment like the Shell Factory, the Seminole Indian Village, the Dome, and the Mystery House.

Then visit the Everglades Wonder Gardens and get a VIP Tour through the jungle. Experience the history, beauty and wonder of this tropical oasis in the middle of Bonita Springs. After the tour, an optional lunch (cost of lunch is separate) at the Twisted Tangle Cafe right next to the Gardens is suggested. 

Start/End at Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park Total walk distance is about 1 mile and tour duration of 2 hours. Meet at 10am at the Liles Hotel in Riverside Park, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. For History Walk reservations, call 239-992-6997, or email  info@bonitaspringshistoricalsociety.org
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February 27:
Saturday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

"Downtown Walk Through History"   DOWNTOWN LANDMARKS

Walk through historic downtown with your local guides and listen to the stories of early Bonita Springs. See and learn about the people and places that once were at the center of Bonita Springs commerce and social life along the Tamiami Trail and the Imperial River.

Features the Liles Hotel History Center, Artist Cottages, Imperial River, Riverside Park, the Banyan Tree, Savannah's, Engels Bike Shop, Bensons Groceries, CGT Kayaks Inc, the Reality Building, Shear Unity Spa, First Baptist Church, the new downtown clock and the Art & Public Places murals, the Historical Society's 1915 McSwain Home, and more.

Learn about the Tin Canners, the Home of the Tiger Snook, and lost buildings like Doc Baird's Camp, Eagle Hotel, Bonita Court, the Pavilion and Community Center, the Wayside Inn, Post Office, Lawhon's Grocery, etc.

Nearby For Heaven Shakes and get some delicious ice cream (cost not included).

Start/End at Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park. Total walk distance is about 1 mile and tour duration of 2 hours. Meet at 10am at the Liles Hotel in Riverside Park, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. For History Walk reservations, call 239-992-6997, or email  info@bonitaspringshistoricalsociety.org
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March 13: Saturday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

"River History Walk"   CRUSIN’ DOWN THE RIVER

The Imperial River and its tributaries were the main means of travel and commerce in Bonita Springs until the first railroads and the Tamiami Trail (now Old US 41) in the 1920s. The river was a vital to fishing and recreation, attracting winter visitors and new residents. Walk along the river to Depot Park and over the river to Island Park. Learn about the community’s main dock and Rosemary Creek. End your tour at the Casner Home and enjoy a leisurely walk back.

Highlights include: Learning about pioneer life along the Imperial River and Rosemary Creek, along with Riverside Park, Liles Hotel Historic Plaza, Depot Park, the dock, Island Park, and see historic homes in the Riverside Subdivision.

Includes discussions regarding the health of the River's waters and its importance to our local environment and development, both past and present.

Start/End at Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park. Total walk distance is about 2 miles and tour duration of 2 hours. Meet at 10am at the Liles Hotel in Riverside Park, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. For History Walk reservations, call 239-992-6997, or email  info@bonitaspringshistoricalsociety.org
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Note that the cost per person is $10 Less if reserved and prepaid with credit card via Paypal (within 24 hours advance of Walk date), as opposed to paying the day of. Please select desired Walk and date from drop down menu, click the Pay Button which will take you to secure Paypal webpage, then select the number of participants (Quantity) on Paypal link page.

Select History Walks

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CUSTOM AND GROUP TOURS

We’ll bring history to your group, friends, or business associates with creative custom events:

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> Tour the Liles Hotel History Center and other historic sites with optional catered picnic or snacks
> Socials & Teas at the Society’s 1915 McSwain House
> Downtown bicycle tours
> Imperial River paddle history tour
> Trolley tours
> Private social and business meetings
> History presentations at your location or ours

Call us at 239-992-6997 or email info@BonitaSpringsHistoricalSociety.org and we’ll make it happen!
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> Click Here to view other upcoming events.

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