The Cape Coral City Clerk's Office is working to compile photos and documents from the city's brief but interesting history, an ongoing project officials hope will provide a database for residents to learn about the Cape.
The project started over a year ago and City Clerk Rebecca van Deutekom said it's a normal function of the clerk's office to act as historians for the city.
So far, much of the information the office has gathered has come from residents, who've either donated or allowed the clerk's office to scan their documents and photos to create the archive, which is available online.
"I thought it would be a good idea to start gathering this information and what we found was that a lot of citizens had information they hadn't shared with anyone," van Deutekom said.
Featuring a combination of photos, articles from The Breeze and the News-Press and literature touting the newly founded "Waterfront Wonderland," the clerk's website offers the chance to peruse the archives at a leisurely pace.
A photo collection of the Cape's two official city halls are available on the site.
For example, one aerial photo of the old city hall, taken in 1980, shows the building surrounded by nothing, with Nicholas Parkway and Country Club Boulevard leading to nowhere but city hall.
Where the new city hall and post office now stand are but vacant land in the picture.
Van Deutekom said it is important to have information available for people to see how far the city has come in a short period of time.
With so much happening right now in the city, she said it is also important to remind people of some of the positives of living in the "Waterfront Wonderland."
"We're young but we do have a history. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget that," she said. "The project is an attempt to illustrate the accomplishments and positive things in the city."
Much of the work was done by Samantha Westen, a former research specialist in the clerk's office who recently left to pursue other opportunities, van Deutekom said.
The hard work of Westen and the willingness of the community to participate in the project have made it a success so far, van Deutekom added.
The project also compliments the work of the Cape Coral Historical Society, van Deutekom said, and it's in no way competing with group or trying to upstage that group's efforts.
The city clerk just wants to highlight where Cape Coral started and the path it took.
"We can be proud of how we got started. It might not have been the best start, but you can see how far the city has come," she said.
The City Clerk's Office is still collecting photos and documents pertaining to the history of Cape Coral. You can contact the clerk's office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To visit the archive, go to capecoral.net.