Fort Myers in Lee County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Agrico Chemical Company purchased #143 in 1944 for use in Florida’s phosphate mining industry around Mulberry. The locomotive hauled cars to and from the mines for interchange with mainline railroads. #143 was retired from service in 1959 and placed on display at Agrico’s offices at Pierce. In the early 1970’s #143 was moved to Webster, Fl and displayed at the short-lived Orange Belt Railroad.
Number 143 was eventually moved to Tampa and stored on a short piece of track near a cement plant. Its condition deteriorated over the years. Prior to being scrapped it was obtained by the Railroad Museum of South Florida in Ft. Myers. Number 143 was moved to Ft. Myers in August 1992, then to Lakes Park in 1995. Restoration work started 1999 and was completed April 2001.
The Seabord Air Line Railway came to Ft. Myers during Florida land boom of the 1920’s and directly competed with the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. The extension to Ft. Myers originated off the Seaboard line to Boca Grande at Hull, Fl, near Ft. Ogden, and terminated in Naples.
At Punta Rassa Junction, where Six Mile Cypress Parkway crosses. Ten Mile Canal, a branch departed the main line and ran through what is now Lakes Park. The right of way entered the southern end of the Fragrance Garden and continued to a point about where this markers stands. the railroad grade then ran just south of the present day boardwalk and causeway across the lake and then curved to the southwest exiting the present park boundary along the West Trail. Therefore the line ran beside and south of present day Summerlin Road to a farming area called Truckland, in Iona. The branch never reached Punta Rassa.
Large amounts of produce and gladioli were once shipped from this area. Late in 1952, the Seaboard abandoned its Fort Myers Extension and the Coast Line resumed its monopoly.
At a later date, the Atlantic Coast Line constructed a short spur track off their main line to serve the lime rock mining that created the present lakes in the park. June 1st 1967 the SAL merged with the ACL to form the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad.
Location. 26° 31.681′ N, 81° 52.608′ W. Marker is in Fort Myers, Florida, in Lee County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Gladiolus Drive (County Road 865) and Old Gladiolus Drive, on the left when traveling north. Marker is located at the Railroad Museum of South Florida in Lakes Regional Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7330 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers FL 33907, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Dragon And His Tail (approx. 4 miles away); Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve (approx. 4.3 miles away); Slough Interpretive Trail (approx. 4.3 miles away); Great Blue Heron Pavilion (approx. 4.3 miles away); A Slice of Slough (approx. 4.3 miles away); The Twilight Zone (approx. 4.3 miles away); Harney's Point (approx. 4.4 miles away); Iwo Jima Monument (approx. 6.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Myers.
Also see . . . Railroad Museum of South Florida. (Submitted on November 23, 2015.)
Categories. • Railroads & Streetcars •
More. Search the internet for Locomotive 143.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 24, 2017. This page originally submitted on November 22, 2015, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Alabama, USA. This page has been viewed 276 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on November 22, 2015, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Alabama, USA. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.