Lofton's Island - Dredged Up From The River, and Claimed By Squatters Rights (video)
Categories: Rural Land
In Southwest Flordia, right off Fort Myers, the original bridge to be installed between Matlacha and the mainland was destroyed beyond repair in the 1926 hurricane. The winds in that storm were so great the dredge that was creating the roads leading up to the bridge was blown into the bridge and knocked it into Matlacha Pass. That dredge was owned by the J.L. Lofton Company and was named the C.W. Stribley.
Mr. C.W. Stribley was a good friend Lofton, and also the neighbor of Thomas Edison. And like Edison, Stribley was an inventor and created the process for making wax paper. The C.W. Stribley, the dredge, was also used to repair Edison's seawall at his McGregor Boulevard home.
Above: Thomas Edison's Rock Sea-Wall
Above - Thomas Edison's Winter Estate
The J.L. Lofton Company was also responsible for dredging the downtown Fort Myers's boat basin in 1910. By dredging the basin deeper for larger boats, they utilized the sand and muck to create that island you see when you drive over the downtown bridges. Lofton claimed squatter's rights to the island when it was finished and it became known as Lofton Island. He subsequently built a house on the island and lived there for many years.
Here is the island as seen today:
In 1929, Lofton sold the island to T.H Phillips for $4,000. Phillips, known as Tom Phillips to Pine Island residents many years later, was responsible for developing Tom's Town, which is now called Pine Island Center. On Pine Island, Phillips Park at the four-way stop is named for him. Phillips also developed the St. James communities of Gulfhaven, Bay View and St. Jude's Harbor, and assisted in developing Flamingo Bay.
At the very end of Oleander Avenue, in St. James City, Phillips also owned the property that would became known as the community of Pine Island Shores.
Below is a great video about the island today which is for sale for a whopping $5.9 million. More of the story with walk-through and drone footage is worth watching:
The island was listed for sale in October of 2006 as 9.30 Acres. Later in 2015, it was on the market for $5.9 million dollars as 10.08 acres. It's interesting to note the island has gotten bigger. The island is known to shrink and grow due to the flow of tides in and out continuously.