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Centennial Celebration: Looking back on Collier County's journey over 100 Years

Collier County turned 100 this year. It was split off from Lee County by the state legislature in 1923, mostly because its namesake, Barron Gift Collier, agreed to fund the construction of the Tamiami Trail. It would become the first roadway to connect south Florida’s east and west coasts, opening up the region to more tourism.

Florida Governor Cary A. Hardee signed the legislation, officially creating Florida State’s 62nd county.

To mark the centennial and hear some stories about pivotal moments and people who helped make Collier County what it is today, we took a trip down to the Collier County Library and brought together a panel of guests for a fun chat on stage in the library’s Sugden Theater.


  • Franklin Adams, Author and environmentalist. He’s a member of the National Izaak Walton League of America Hall of Fame, the Florida Wildlife Federation Hall of Fame, and a recipient of the National Wildlife Federation Special Conservation Award for a lifetime of dedication to the preservation and protection of the Big Cypress and the Everglades.
  • Thomas Lockyear, Manager of the Museum of the Everglades
  • Lila Zuck, Local author and historian, and President & Founder of The Collier County Historical Research Center
  • Lucas Benitez, Co-founder of Coalition of Immokalee Workers
  • Laura Vasquez, Director of Complaint Resolution with the Fair Food Standards Council, part of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and longtime Collier County resident