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Fort Myers / Sanibel


Florida

Centennial Park

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.

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Document Information
Source: Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau; Image courtesy of the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau www.FortMyersSanibel.com
Last modified: 20070829
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