25th Anniversary

 

The City of Bonita Springs is celebrating the city’s 25th anniversary throughout 2024! Bonita Springs incorporated for the second time on December 31st, 1999. All year long, the city will be sharing short videos highlighting Bonita Springs history, hosting contests, and encouraging citizens to join the celebrations. The city events will be even more spectacular to celebrate the 25th anniversary.  Information will be shared on the city’s social platforms, so make sure to follow us! Also, download the city’s mobile app to get city news about the 25th anniversary celebrations!

Join us downtown Bonita Springs in April as we continue the twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations with Celebrate Bonita at Riverside Park - 10450 Reynolds St, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. The City will host its annual Star-Spangled Bonita event on July 4th at Riverside Park. The free event starts at 6pm. This year the event will include a 48 minute show that will include drones, fireworks, and laser lights. The Ben Allen Band will be performing. 

Check back often, as more information will be added as we move through 2024 in celebration of the city’s twenty fifth anniversary.

Photo Contest

History

Bonita Springs has long been inhabited. Archaeological discoveries place people here about 8,000 years ago and mound building was well underway by 4,000 years ago. By the time Ponce de Leon sailed along our beaches and first made contact with the Calusa Indians in 1513, this area was home to thousands. Native American village remains and mounds attest to their centuries of prosperity. However, within a couple of centuries, the once mighty Calusa Chiefdom was decimated by European diseases and slave trading.

In the 1870s, Army Corps of Engineers’ surveyors mapped remote Southwest Florida and pitched camp along the upper Imperial River. After the crew left, the area and later, community, became known and recorded on maps as “Survey”. The river became known as “Surveyor’s Creek”.

Over the years, Survey developed from a scattering of homesteaders into a village. In 1901, a Post Office was opened, and in 1910 the two-story, Eagle Hotel was in business catering to visitors attracted to the unspoiled area’s bounty of hunting and fishing.

Later, developers decided that the name, “Survey”, lacked sales appeal, so the town was renamed “Bonita Springs”; Indian Spring Branch became the “Oak River”; and Surveyor’s Creek was renamed the “Imperial River”.

In the early 1920s, Barron Collier, wanting to expand his empire, extended his Fort Myers-Southern Railroad south to include Bonita Springs. This, along with the completion of the new Tamiami Trail in 1928, brought another land boom to the area. During this period, Bonita Springs was briefly incorporated as a city.

Later, roadside attractions enticed visitors to stop in Bonita Springs. The first major tourist attraction to open was the Everglades Reptile Gardens in 1936. This roadside tourist attraction, featuring local and exotic animals, helped put Bonita Springs “on the map”. The Everglades Wonder Gardens is one of the few remaining historic resources of this type in Florida. Also, on December 27, 1957, the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track was opened in the city.

Bonita Springs remained a quiet, small town for decades. But, as the years passed, the rush to build was about to start. With the advent of air conditioning, the opening of Interstate 75, a nearby major airport, along with the new US 41 bypass, the growth in population by the 1980s and ’90s ushered in shopping malls, modern office facilities, and golf courses.

In 1999, residents voted to incorporate Bonita Springs for the second time. Today, the City of Bonita Springs is an attractive, affluent area with beautiful beaches, fine restaurants, excellent recreational facilities, and beautiful homes.

It’s hard to comprehend that, a little more than three generations ago, the roots of this thriving community were a scattering of homesteaders’ shacks by a creek in the backwaters of nowhere – in a place called Survey.

Anniversary Business Logo

Local businesses are invited to use this 25th anniversary logo on their promotional signage, restaurant menus, retail specials and more to attract consumer interest.

25th Anniversary Commemorative Logo Usage Policy

The City of Bonita Springs 25th anniversary commemorative logo is owned by the City of Bonita Springs. In general, the use of the logo should be limited to Bonita Springs businesses and organizations and is recommended to be used for promotional and marketing purposes directly related to the local Bonita Springs businesses and community organizations.

The City of Bonita Springs strives to maintain the integrity of the logo and therefore restricts the use of the logo to promotion of supporting local businesses and community organizations in Bonita Springs. However, the City of Bonita Springs reserves the right to approve any alternative uses or variations of the logo. Any request to use the logo or a variation of such should be submitted to the Bonita Springs Communications Department via email at [email protected].