Mound House has its own book
Patrick McKeown was used to writing computer books and teaching at the business school at the University of Georgia before a boat tour at the Mound House led him to volunteer at the state historic site and ultimately write a newly-released historical book of the oldest home on Fort Myers Beach.
The self-published book on the site which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was financed by the Friends of the Mound House. “A lot of people had requested a book” about the property, McKeown said.
The Mound House, built in 1906 above a Calusa shell mound, now serves as a historical museum. The Town of Fort Myers Beach purchased the property in 2000 and has made the grounds accessible to the public, while also conducting boat tours from the docks there.
For his research, McKeown spoke to Bill Grace, the great-grandson of the original builders of the home – William and Milia Case. Originally no more than a one-room kitchen for the Case family while they lived in a houseboat, a bungalow was eventually built at what is now the museum store and ticket office.
The property would change hands several times and go through multiple changes. It was overhauled into its current look after being purchased in 1951 by Wiliam and Florence Long. McKeown provides some historical background and information about the various owners of the property in the book.
McKeown, who splits his time between Georgia and Fort Myers Beach, said he has “always been a lover of history.”
Trying to learn about the Calusa, the Native American tribe who inhabited the area for centuries, was a daunting task. “They absolutely disappeared” after the colonization of the area, he said. “They don’t exist as a tribe (anymore) like the Seminoles and the Cherokees,” he said.
McKeown said 1,500 copies of the book were printed and will be available only at the Mound House.