For Immediate Release
Friday, December 7, 2018
Contact: Sarah Revell
Secretary Detzner Designates Downtown LaBelle as Florida Main Street Program of the Month
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced today the LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation, also known as Downtown LaBelle, has been designated the December 2018 Florida Main Street Community of the Month. Communities are selected based on their development achievements and participation in the Florida Main Street Program.
"We are proud to have Downtown LaBelle as part of our Main Street family" said Secretary Detzner. "This beautiful town reminds us of Florida's great history while also bringing us into the future with their revitalization efforts."
Wharf Walk in Historic Downtown LaBelle, Florida
The city of LaBelle, also known as the "Belle of the Caloosahatchee," is located in southwest Florida along the Caloosahatchee River, approximately 35 miles west of Lake Okeechobee. The original settlement began in the 1880s along the western edge of property owned by Captain Francis A. Hendry (1833-1917), a cattle rancher and prominent landholder in the area. It is believed that the city was named after his daughters Laura June Hendry and Carrie Belle Hendry.
LaBelle was originally part of Monroe County until 1887 when the northern portion was carved out to create Lee County. Lee County was further subdivided in 1923, with the eastern portion becoming Hendry County, named after Captain Hendry, and LaBelle became the county seat. In the early 20th century, Edgar E. Goodno purchased the majority of Captain Hendry's landholdings. Goodno replatted and expanded LaBelle, which grew to 20 times its original size. But in 1928, a fire destroyed numerous downtown businesses. The few buildings that survived the fire still stand in downtown today.
In 2014, the LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation received Main Street designation from the Florida Division of Historical Resources. In just a few years, they have brought new businesses downtown, created jobs and brought in public and private investment.
Mayor Dave Lyons said, "The success of our revitalized Downtown River District is due in major part to the energy and enthusiasm of a small group of volunteers. It's a tremendous resource to be a Main Street community."
LaBelle hosts a variety of events throughout the year. One of their most popular events is the award winning Wharf Walk. In its sixth year, the Wharf Walk takes place the second Saturday of every November and features local food vendors, artists and live entertainment along the Caloosahatchee River waterfront. December brings the annual Christmas event when Downtown LaBelle turns into a winter wonderland.
The Downtown LaBelle Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Hendry County Courthouse and the Captain Francis A. Hendry House, also listed on the National Register, were restored with the assistance of grant funding from the Florida Division of Historical Resources.
For more information about the LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation visit downtownlabelle.com or facebook.com/downtownlabelle. For more information on the Florida Main Street program visit floridamainstreet.com or facebook.com/FloridaMainStreet.
About Florida Main Street
Florida Main Street is a program administered by the Division of Historical Resources under the Florida Department of State, which currently oversees 48 communities throughout the state. By implementing the National Main Street Center's Four-Point Approach®, Florida Main Street encourages economic development within the context of historic preservation through the revitalization of Florida's downtowns - the community's heart and soul.