Florida: Collier County

Collier County (pop. 321,520) is south of Lee County. It was named for Barron Collier (1873-1939), an entrepreneur who became the largest landowner in Florida.

Florida’s largest county in land area

The entire southeastern part of the county is in Big Cypress National Preserve, established in 1974.

Burmese pythons are not native to the area.

The county seat of Collier County is the unincorporated community of East Naples. The county seat was moved from the city of Everglades in 1962, after it was badly damaged by Hurricane Dora in 1960.

Collier County Courthouse

The name of Everglades was changed to Everglades City in 1965. Its population is now 400. In 1950, before Hurricane Dora, it was 625.

The restored courthouse is now City Hall.

The community of Ochopee, east of Everglades City, is the home of the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters, which investigates local sightings of the Skunk Ape – a Florida relative of Bigfoot.

Skunk-ape-related merchandise is available.

The Ochopee Post Office is the smallest post office in the U.S., at about 7 feet by 8 feet.

Former storage area for irrigation pipes

The largest city in Collier County is Naples (pop. 19,598), one of the wealthiest communities in the U.S.

Many condominiums

The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, which opened in 1969, was formerly the gardens for Dr. Henry Nehrling’s collection of plants.

It can get hot outside.

The Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, east of Naples, was established in 1989 to protect the endangered Florida panther.

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