Just beyond the perimeter of the walking tour, at First and Heitman streets along the downtown riverfront,
lies sprawling Centennial Park.
While the eight-acre park – complete with playground, picnic areas and fishing pier –
is not in itself historic, it presents two appealing sculptures that reflect the community’s past.
"Uncommon Friends," considered the park’s centerpiece, pays tribute to three famous friends
and winter residents of Fort Myers: Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and Thomas Edison.
Surrounded by a fountain, the life-like bronze trio created by local sculptor D.J. Wilkins in 1988
has emerged as one of the area’s most beloved landmarks.
More recently, Wilkins sculpted another prominent park monument installed in 2000.
The "Civil War’s 2nd Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops" is dedicated to the black Union soldiers
who defended a federal post in Fort Myers against the Confederates in 1865.
It features a single black soldier standing before a wall with a gate, designed to represent the gateway
to freedom from slavery. Reportedly, Wilkins named the soldier "Sgt. Clayton" for the ton of clay
required to sculpt the bronze figure.