Andrea McLendon, Guest Writer
Collier County celebrates its 100th anniversary with a yearlong schedule of events commemorating the county and its founder, Barron Gift Collier. Collier’s impact on the area beginning in the early 1900s and continued influence today through his legacy companies have shaped Southwest Florida into one of the world’s most revered destinations.
Barron Gift Collier first came to Southwest Florida in 1911 and was immediately struck with the beauty of the area. He assembled over one million acres of land stretching from the Gulf of Mexico east toward the Florida Everglades. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to begin new businesses in the area and enhance existing ones. When the state of Florida struggled with completion of the coast-to-coast highway known as the Tamiami Trail, Collier stepped in and funded its completion. For this contribution, as well as numerous others, Collier County was named in his honor.
This year, Collier County celebrates with special events including a special speaker series highlighting pioneers and defining moments, educational interactive activities for preschoolers, a special Tamiami Trail Celebration featuring members of the Collier family, special museum exhibits, and many more. An official schedule of events can be found here.
“Barron Gift Collier was an extraordinary man, a true visionary,” comments Blake Gable, CEO of Barron Collier Companies. “His foresight of what Southwest Florida would become was unmatched during those early years. We are indebted to Collier for his vision as well as his stewardship for Southwest Florida and we hold high these values in Barron Collier Companies today.”