Barron Gift Collier Sr., founder of the county and the company that bears his name, made his fortune in streetcar advertising and left his indelible mark on the state and the country.
Southwest Florida was his true passion. After his first visit in 1911, he purchased Useppa Island for $100,000, and eventually acquired some 1.3 million acres of land here.
He brought the first telephone service, first railroad, first newspapers, and first bus company to this area. And, he constructed the Tamiami Trail through the Everglades from the Lee County to the Dade County line. For this last feat, connecting the two coasts of Florida, the County was named in his honor.
Following their service in World War II, Barron Sr.’s sons – Barron, Sam, and Miles assumed management of the company. With the advent of mosquito control and air conditioning, the Sunshine State began its run as the fastest growing state in the union. And, as Florida prospered, so did the Barron Collier Companies. Barron Collier, Jr. managed and expanded the company until his death in 1976. After his death, the family’s assets were split between the heirs of Barron Jr. (who together with a fourth generation now comprise the Barron Collier Companies) and those of his late brother Miles (whose son founded Collier Enterprises).
Over the years, the Barron Collier Companies has grown from a land holding company to one of the largest diversified companies in Southwest Florida, with business ventures including extensive agricultural operations, commercial and residential real estate development, and oil exploration and mineral management.
Collier’s unwavering determination and foresight was matched by his strong values, his business sense, and his respect for the land he owned. Today, these qualities remain the cornerstone of success for the Barron Collier Companies.