The pioneer history of Bonita Springs stretches back to the 1880s, when an Alabama cotton planter named B. B. Comer bought 6,000 acres of land along Surveyors Creek. He started a tropical fruit plantation, and his tiny village became known as Survey, in honor of the U.S. Army engineers who had first surveyed the region during the Seminole Wars decades before. When Florida started to boom in the early 20th century, investors bought up much of the land in the area. They quickly gave the community the more attractive moniker Bonita Springs and renamed the nearby creek the Imperial River. Beautiful beaches and world-class hunting and fishing soon turned Bonita Springs into a tourist mecca. Popular roadside attractions sprang up along the fast-growing Tamiami Trail, including the Everglades Wonder Gardens, the original Shell Factory, and the famous Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track.
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