Town of Flamingo
Collier County,Florida
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building in Flamingo 1916 building in Flamingo 1925

photo's courtesy of Florida Archives

 The town of Flamingo was established in 1893; its citizens had to choose a name in order to obtain a post office. According to records from the National Archives, Howell C. Low was the first postmaster. He was appointed on December 13, 1893. Cape Sable had its own post office and Jay L. Watrons was appointed postmaster on February 23, 1904.

 In the early days the only way to arrive at Flamingo or Chokoloskee was by
boat. Supplies were shipped from Key West, Fort Meyers or Tampa and cane syrup, fish, and produce were traded in return. Although neither town was ever to become a metropolis, they did have commerce, with some vegetables from Chokoloskee even reaching New York City.

 Flamingo,  is now a park community with a campground, ranger station, marina and lodge. Chokoloskee, surrounded by park waters at the end of highway 29, is still home to fishermen, with a few motels and a resort having been added for park visitors. Although the tiny cane farms and fishing shanties are gone, both areas maintain the tranquil beauty for which they are famous.

 The 1910 federal census record shows 49 people living in Flamingo and Cape Sable. Most listed their profession as farming. There were ten heads of households, with 18 children and seven servants. Five people were cane farmers and one worked in charcoal making. (Charcoal was sold in 100 pound sacks at Key West.) Jobs that other individuals held were boatmen, farmer,
hauling cane, cane farming (13) and one was retired. We also know from tradition that many, if not all, fished for cash and food. Most also hunted. At the turn of the century plume hunting was a major source of cash income.

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page by: Peggy