Property Owners Handbook - Page 18

III . C ommunit y A ssociation Par k s , Pathway s and R oadway s In the 1890’s, the original Naples Dock was built at the Estero Bay Park site. The location of the dock was determined by several factors. A deep water channel cutting close in to shore, along with a narrow mangrove zone and pine uplands coming close to the water made this site accessible. It was also the southernmost navigable point along the inland waterways between Ft. Myers and Naples. The railroad at that time terminated in Punta Gorda. Supplies were loaded onto barges and shipped by inland waterways to the Naples Dock. Once there, they were transferred to wagons and pulled by mule to Naples. Supplies bound for Bonita Springs were shipped up the Imperial River. The pier was abandoned in 1926 when the Tamiami Trail was completed. In the 1930’s, the dock was rebuilt by Ed Hendry, a commercial fisherman. Fishing was a major industry at this time, second only to citrus. In the 1940’s, the site was acquired by Mr. Boone, a commercial fisherman, who decided to clear and cultivate the land. He tried a variety of crops, including mango or papaya trees, none of which remain on the property. Boone built his home atop a 1,690-foot-long horseshoe-shaped shell enclosure, rising up to six feet above the surrounding pineland. This shell enclosure, called the Bonita Shellworks has two arms composed of hundreds of thousands of shells placed on sandy ridges. Radio carbon dates tell us the shellworks was built 1850 B.C. to 1500 B.C. the function of the shellworks remains a mystery. Mr. Boone left town after his home was destroyed by fire in the late 1940’s, leaving the site unoccupied since that time. 16 In addition to the history and archeology of the site, Estero Bay Park is of environmental significance. Estero Bay Park is home to four species of mangrove; the Red Mangrove, Black Mangrove, White Mangrove and Buttonwood, often considered only a cousin of the mangroves. Mangroves are a tree species, which through adaptations can survive in salt and brackish water environments. Mangrove protection is essential as they serve as feeding, breeding and nursery grounds for a great variety of fish, shellfish, birds and other wildlife. Viewing of the mangrove species may be enjoyed while strolling the boardwalk to Estero Bay. Red Mangroves The Red Mangroves grow closer to the water than other mangroves and are usually flooded at high tide. Red Mangroves can root on inter-tidal surfaces such as oyster beds and sandbars, forming mangrove islands. Red Mangroves are easily identified by the tall arching roots, called prop-roots and are often called the Walking Tree. These aerial roots supply air to the underground roots, as well as adding stability to the tree. Red Mangroves average twenty feet in height. The leaves are opposite, egg-shaped, leathery, and shiny dark green above the paler underneath. In the spring, clusters of 3 to 4 pale yellow flowers can be seen. Black Mangroves Black Mangroves grow closer to shore where they are reached only by high tides. Like its name implies, it has a rather black trunk. Black Mangroves can most easily be identified by the many pencil-like, breathing tubes, called pneumatophores, which grow vertically from the mud to just above the highest sustained water level. Like the prop root of w w w. B o n i t a B a y Re s i d e nt s .c o m