Will This Be The New Home For The Iconic Arches?

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Fort Myers Beach Town Councilman Jim Atterholt’s location suggestion to reconstruct what’s left of the arches seems to be gaining steam. The northern most entry point to the beach in Lynn Hall Park has been unanimously approved by the organization that has been behind this movement for years.

The Restore The Arches group voted in favor of the Lynn Hall Park location this week. And, while this is only in the discussion stage right now, the Fort Myers Beach Town Council seemed to be in favor of this site when the topic came up at a recent Management & Planning meeting.

The Lynn Hall Park location would need to be approved by Lee County being that it’s a Lee County Park. Atterholt suggested the arch could be considered for either side of that park entrance.

Another option is the northern most beach access to Bowditch Point, pictured here to the right.

Atterholt told us Thursday that he had a discussion with Lee County Commissioner Ray Sandelli who told him that if the town of Fort Myers Beach and the Save The Arches organization were united on a location he would certainly try to help at the county level.

There are 17 stones from the original arches remaining, about 1/3 of the original structure.

That amounts to 60,000 lbs of stone. The estimated cost of replacing a 60ft Arch is approximately $75,000 according to the Restore The Arches organization. The group has said it will pay for the restoration project.

The arches welcomed residents and visitors to Fort Myers Beach, where the Matanzas Pass bridge now sits, from 1924-1979. When they were knocked down to construct the new bridge not all the pieces were saved. Those that were are now in storage.

5 COMMENTS

  1. My aunt and uncle moved to Iona in 1963. I have many fond memories of driving under the arches to get to the beach or dinner at Gulf Shore Grill back in the day. This is not only a piece of our history, it was also a great tourist attraction. Let’s bring it back in some form. I think there is enough of the original arches to create this single arch. It will again be a tourist attraction, photo op and perfect setting for events such as weddings. I prefer Lynn Hall to Bowdich so that the maximum number of visitors will enjoy it but could be happy with either location. I hope the county agrees. There was board support when Commissioner Pendergrass suggested Crescent Beach. Let’s get it done.

  2. My Uncle and Aunt rekindled their love by those arches. Whenever we came stateside we would pass under them. They were my strongest and lasting memory of Fort Myers Beach and Florida. All the old buildings and shanties that used to grace the beach are slowly being replaced with new and modern. I understand change but it seems wrong to be wiping out all of our local history. Growing up overseas where history is predominant it is a shame we don’t appreciate it as much here in the states. America is a young country still, compared to the rest of the world. What little “good” history we have should be preserved and enjoyed. The Restore the Arches group have worked hard to bring them back. I have supported the efforts and it seems to me it is an easy decision to say lets do it. Give us a great place on the beach to rebuild them and we will make them fit. Let us keep a bit of charm and reminder of what it used to be like back in the day. It is an insult to think one stone would fill that dream. We could have weddings under an real arch, pictures that would be shared world wide. My Grandparents, Aunt & Uncle are gone now but my memories of them, Fort Myers Beach and the arches are forever in my heart. The pictures fade, we pass from this earth but our memories and past would live on in a little piece of future if we can reconstruct them in some form.

  3. The Lynn Hall Park location gets my vote. And I was also thinking that it closer the original San Carlos Blvd entrance to the beach. Remember when it came right up to the pier?

  4. Your article reminded us that the arches welcomed residents and visitors to Fort Myers Beach, where the Matanzas Pass bridge now sits, from 1924-1979. I was one of those visitors beginning about 1950, passing under those arches many times when I was a kid growing up, and I remember being fascinated with them. Later, as an adult, it was still fun to pass under them, until sadly they were torn down. Having returned to SWFL about 10 years ago, and being a regular visitor to FMB, I noticed the monumental efforts (pun intended) to bring back the Arches and investigated the newly suggested locations. To me personaly, the Lynn Hall Park location seems the better choice. As I visited the locations last week, and tried to envision how the Arches would look, Lynn Hall Park not only felt right to me, but I realized it would again be associated with a “bridge” to the beach ! So my feeling is, Let’s get it done in ’21 🙂

  5. We are elated about the idea proposed and our group voted unanimously to support the Lynn Hall Park location. The idea of a single Arch was brilliant and it makes the size of the Arch manageable. We do prefer Lynn Hall Park over the Bowditch location. But that is up to Lee County. We see a light at the end of the tunnel and the goal is getting closer to being accomplished thanks to the leadership of Jim Atterholt. The remains are part of our history and will make an incredible artwork in the park.

    LET’S ROCK THESE ARCHES!

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