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Miles Family Donates Cape Coral Land to SCCF

July 19, 2021
Thanks to the generosity of the Miles family, SCCF is now the proud owner and steward of 38 acres of mangrove and creek in Cape Coral. 
The new preserve land, outlined in turquoise, is at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee, across from Shell Point as pictured here. A creek runs through the mangroves, while the adjacent property is in state ownership, making it an ideal acquisition for protecting water quality.
The land was donated by the family of Dr. Franklin Miles, pictured here, who was the founder of Miles Laboratories, best known for creating Alka-Seltzer, One-a-Day Vitamins, and a popular sedative, Dr. Miles’ Nervine. 
Through retired Fort Myers attorney Hank Hendry, the Miles family approached SCCF Natural Resources Policy Director Rae Ann Wessel early in 2020 about donating the land. “I believe Dr. Miles would be pleased some of his land is in the hands of SCCF with its dedication to protect and steward Southwest Florida’s natural resources and promote best management practices,” said Wessel, who retired in May. “Thanks to Hank Hendry for making this connection.”  
Miles came to Fort Myers in 1904 from Elkhart, Ind., and bought 16,000 acres on both sides of the Caloosahatchee in the area south of College Parkway to Iona and across the river in the southwest area of today’s Cape Coral. 
He used the land to pursue his interest in agriculture, experimenting on a variety of crops, fertilizers, and plant diseases. He was the first to cultivate Irish potatoes and gladiola, as he expanded and shared his knowledge of how to grow a wider variety of vegetables in the region’s soil.
His research led him to encourage local farmers and groves to be less reliant on ready-made, commercial fertilizers by creating their own organic plant food. He warned that local soils could not be built up with commercial chemical fertilizers because he believed they were too soluble. He also believed they would easily leach out of the soil during heavy rains.
Instead, he encouraged the use of both vegetable and animal waste used by farmers in the Orient for thousands of years as a more economical, sustainable approach. Longtime residents recall the time when the Iona area and the land where Gulf Harbour is today were all gladiolus fields and the logo of Lee County was a glad.
Click here to learn more about Dr. Miles: News-Press Tropicalia Article


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