Pelican Hotel

3040 Estero Blvd.

The "Pelican" was first known as Ma Turner's Honeymooners' Houseboat, then became the "Pelican Hotel" when it was rolled up on logs and land-based on the Gulf shoreline in 1933. It opened as The Pelican Hotel and Restaurant but was run mostly as a restaurant at this time, with a population of 62.

Ft. Myers Beach was growing from a sleepy fishing village with a road that stretched south as far as Connecticut St. It boasted of cottage cabins, two groceries, a church, a school, four hotels, a pier, and a coquina canning factory during the WWII years. It was during the 1940's that the Pelican became a refuge for the Page Field and Buckingham airmen stationed in Fort Myers. Additions included rental cottages on the roadside and later on the beachfront, as seen above.

The Pelican was purchased in 1955 and resold in 1957 to the Reasoner family, who refurbished the galley and dining area while expanding the second-floor "crows nest". A shuffleboard court with neatly trimmed Australian PInes and a thatched hut also attracted many local artists to this pristine beachside for many years.

It was during the 1970s that the nautical theme was reinstated, while some of the houseboat cypress still remained. The galley and restaurant were expanded with a cocktail lounge.

As the tides change, so too have the owners and names of the Pelican Restaurant, as seen here from the roadside. Beach cottages gave way to parking, and today's side-by-side restaurants, known over the years as "Skipper's Galley", "Lighthouse Grill", "Anthony's on the Gulf", Junkanoos," and the "Fresh Catch Bistro," remain popular with honeymooners as well as the established population longing for great food and drink on this Gulf shoreline site.

Once again, the old Pelican Building was washed away in the storm. The Fresh Catch Bistro building is still standing but will probably be torn down as well. Junkanoos and Fresh Catch have relocated to the old Bayfront Bistro building behind Publix.

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