Fort Myers Beach is a beach community with sand, sea, diners and lots of fun things to see and do. Amidst the beach goers, and tourists, there is a place where history lives on, and the memory of the first dwellers of this area remains.
The Mound House is a cultural experience with archeological history. Located in Estero Bay, the original dwellers were the 2,000 year old Calusa Indian shell mound builders. When we arrived, we came in at the end of the day and just barely made the time to take a tour of the Mound House.
With my love of historic homes, this was my original reason for wanting to come to the site, the rest was a wonderful addition. The story of the house is of people building a home and living their lives with the unique situation of having shells beneath their floors, literally beneath their feet.
In the first room when entering the house, there is a cutout with glass, and you can see shells beneath the floor. Some of the shells were used in the fireplace when the house was built at the turn of the century, and it remains today.
In the upper part of the home their are artifacts from the Calusa Indians as well as artifacts from people that lived in the home.
the Calusa Indians built mounds from shells and in one section of the home, there was a former swimming pool that was removed, and the area opened a wonderful opportunity for visitors to see the history, the striations of shells when the mound builders came and went.
The guide shared that the arrival of the Spanish was the decline of the Calusa Indians. Some they said went to Cuba, and others just faded away from disease and misuse.
We know bits and pieces of the life these Indians lived, but not enough to fill out all the questions. This archeological site offers much. They have guided kayak tours, marine life observation piers, plant life, and the home as well.
Our visit was a quick one. We toured the house and walked around the lovely grounds. I took a minute to pose with what our guide called the Strangler Fig, a tree that literally strangles the life out of whatever grows next to it.
This made me think about our Western Civilization. Over time, we strangled out the lives of the Calusa until like they palm next to the fig we saw, will eventually be no more.
If in the area, take the time to visit this wonderful historic site and learn about what lies beneath the glitter and fun of Fort Myers Beach. Log onto www.moundhouse.org or call 239-765-0865 for details.