Yesterday we rented a canoe here at the park, and canoed part of the Estero River. We canoed about 2 hours or so. The Estero river is about 10 miles long and runs east to west dumping into the Gulf of Mexico. There it is about 1/4 of a mile wide, up here at the park it is only about 100 feet or so wide. The water here is fresh and salt, what they call brackish. There is one thing that thrives here that does not like brackish water. Yep, alligators. That was a relief as we canoed along. It was fun, i think next time we would go by kayak, smaller and more agile, if we don.t tip over first.
The park is at about mile 7 of the river, it was the original homestead of Gustav Damkohler. He was tired of the Fort Myer’s area getting more and more populated. so he came up the river and at about mile 7 he hacked out a piece of land on the south side and built a small cabin and starting homesteading. This was around 1880. In 1882 he came here with his family and got a homestead grant for about 200 acres from the state of Florida. At this time the river was the only means of transportation as there were no roads, it was a complete wilderness here. Really more of an everglade with swamps, along with tons of flys and mosquitoes alligators and snakes. Try doing that today, right. By 1894 he had acquires to his land holdings a total of about 400 acres. Then he read an article in some paper about a Dr. Cyrus Teed, from Chicago looking for land to form a new Koreshan unity of religian, his “New Jerusalem” so to speak. Damkohler invited Dr Teed down to Florida for a visit. The visit lasted six weeks with Dr. Teed and three of his followers with him cramed in a small one room cabin. Shortly after Damkohler turned over most of his land to Dr. Teed and the Koreshan unity. A decision he would later regret, as he moved out in the early 1900’s and eventualy ended up in Alaska where he died. The Koreshan unity of new religion however did not die and thrived until the 1950’s then declining until the last Koreshan member passed away in 1982. more on the Koreshan Unity settlement in Estero later. Below a few pictures from our canoe outingThe original Damkohler house still satnding
The original piers for the dock leading up to the grand entrance to the Koreshan Settlement
A Crane being very still
Melissa paddling her heart out.Some of the river ahead.