Historic Markers Across Florida

Fort Thompson

Marker ID: FLHM 
County: Lee
Waymark: None


LaBelle´s history begins here, along the Caloosahatchee River, on this old Fort Thompson site. Fort Thompson began c.1838 as a military post during the 2nd Seminole War, named for Lt. Colonel Alexander Thompson, who died in the battle of Okeechobee in 1837. The Confederates used the site during the Civil War to raise cattle for their troops. In 1879, former Confederate Captain Francis Asbury Hendry (1833-1917) acquired the property, making it his home in 1889. He established a cattle ranch and soon the town of LaBelle grew along its western boundary. In 1885, steamboat service carried passengers from Fort Myers to Fort Thompson, and in 1912, when LaBelle became a port on Florida´s Intracoastal Waterway, it became a river paradise. In 1905, Edgar Everett Goodno (1858-1936) purchased Fort Thompson and built an ice plant and an electric plant to serve a growing population. By the end of the decade, the former fort had become the cattle and citrus town now known as LaBelle. Thomas Edison was known to have visited LaBelle, staying at the Fort Thompson Hotel. In 1924, Henry Ford purchased part of Goodno´s property. It remained in Ford´s name until 1942 when he sold it to one of Captain Hendry´s cousins, Joseph B. Hendry.

Sponsors: the Labelle Heritage Museum, a chapter of the Calusa Valley Historical Society and the Florida Department of State


City: LaBelle, FL
More Information:
Wikipedia - Seminole Wars
Florida Center for Instructional Technology - Seminole Wars