Title: Estero Bay, Florida. Letter from the secretary of war, transmitting, with a letter from the chief of engineers, reports of examination and survey o
CITATION DOWNLOADS THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00004582/00001
 Material Information
Title: Estero Bay, Florida. Letter from the secretary of war, transmitting, with a letter from the chief of engineers, reports of examination and survey o
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: United States House of Representatives
Place of Publication: Washington, D. C.
Publication Date: 1908
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00004582
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA5802

Downloads
Full Text


60TH CONGRESS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. DOCUMENT
2d Session. No. 1189.





ESTERO BAY, FLORIDA.




LETTER
FROM

THE SECRETARY OF WAR,

TRANSMITTING,

WITH A LETTER F 1OMV THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, REPORTS OF
EXAMINATION AND SURVEY OF ESTERO BAY, FLORIDA.


DECEMBER 12, 1908.-Referred to the Committee on Rivers and Harbors and
ordered to be printed with the accompanying illustration.


WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington, December 10, 1908.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a letter from the Chief
of Engineers, U..S. Army, dated 5th instant, together with copies of
reports from Maj. Francis R. Shunk and Capt. Geo. R. Spalding,
Corps of Engineers, dated August 12, 1907, and October 5, 1908, with
map, upon a preliminary examination and survey, respectively, of
Estero Bay, Florida, made by them in compliance with the provisions
of the river and harbor act of March 2, 1907.
Very respectfully,
LUKE E. WRIGHT,
Secretary of War.
The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.


WAR DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,
Washington, December 5, 1908.
SIR: I have the honor to submit herewith, for transmission to Con-
gress, reports of August 12, 1907, by Maj. Francis R. Shunk, Corps
of Engineers, and October 5, 1908, with map, by Capt. George R.
Spalding, Corps of Engineers, on preliminary examination and





ESTERO BAY, FLORIDA.


survey, respectively, of Estero Bay, Florida, authorized by the river
and harbor act approved March 2, 1907.
At the time of making the preliminary examination it appeared
that the locality was not worthy of improvement by the United
States, and report to that effect was made to the Secretary of War.
But on representations made by certain local interests in favor of the
worthiness of this project, especially on account of the relatively
small amount of work desired, and its small cost, the Secretary of
War, under date of March 27, 1908, decided that a survey of the
locality might appropriately be made, and a plan and estimate of
cost of the desired improvements be prepared, with a view to present-
ing to Congress more definite information as to the relation of such
cost to the present and prospective commercial interests involved.
In his survey report of October 5, 1908, Captain Spalding ex-
presses the opinion that this locality is worthy of improvement by
the General Government to the extent of obtaining a channel 5 feet
deep at mean low water and 60 feet wide at the bottom from Ma-
tanzas Pass to the wharf at the mouth of Surveyors Creek, at an
estimated cost of $26,000, with $2,000 annually for maintenance after
completion. Estimates are also presented for alternative channels
with a depth of 6 feet at mean low water and 60 feet bottom width,
but the cost of either of these channels he believes to be out of pro-
portion to the present or immediately prospective needs of the com-
merce of the vicinity.
From the facts and for the reasons given in their respective reports
of October 4, 1908, and October 20, 1908, the division engineer, Col.
Dan C. Kingman, Corps of Engineers, and the Board of Engineers
for Rivers and Harbors, adhere to the opinion previously expressed
that Estero Bay is not worthy of improvement at the present time,
and in this opinion I am constrained to concur.
Very respectfully,
W. L. MARSHALL,
Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army.
The SECRETARY OF WAR.


PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF ESTERO BAY, FLORIDA.
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,
Jacksonville, Fla., August 12, 1907.
SIR: I have the honor to submit report of preliminary examina-
tion of Estero Bay, Florida, made in compliance with department
letter of March 14, 1907.
There has been no previous examination of Estero Bay. An exam-
ination of Estero River, emptying into the bay, was made in 1902,
under direction of Capt. (now Maj.) Herbert Deakyne, Corps of
Engineers. Captain Deakyne's report is published in House Docu-
ment No. 175, Fifty-eighth Congress, second session.
The examination was made by Mr. W. W. Fineren, junior engineer,
whose report is substantially as follows:
Estero Bay is on the west coast of Florida; its general direction is north-
west and southeast. It is bounded on the north and east by Lee County, Fla.,
and on the south and west by Estero, Big Hickory and Little Hickory islands.






ESTERO BAY, FLORIDA.


The bay is approximately 13 miles long and 21 miles wide at the center, tapering
to narrow passes at each end. Numerous islands of various sizes are scattered
throughout. Emptying into the bay are Hendrys Creek, Muloch Creek, Estero
Creek, and Surveyors Creek. These creeks drain a large part of Lee County,
where is to be found very fertile land and large quantities of cypress timber.
The bay was formerly called Otsego Bay. A small northeasterly portion of
Otsego was known as Estero Bay. The name Otsego has been dropped and now
the whole bay is called Estero.
There are at present three post-offices bordering the bay-one at Carlos, on
Estero Island; one at Estero, on Estero River, and one at Survey, on Surveyors
Creek. The post-offices at Estero and Survey are served by an overland route
from Fort Myers, and the one at Carlos by a mail boat from Fort Myers to
Puntarasa,. Sanibel, and Carlos.
The principal settlement is the one at Estero, situated about 6 miles up Estero
River. The population here is less than 500, but a great variety of industrial
work is in progress, and preparations are being made to supply the surrounding
country, and to ship to southern points, various kinds of manufactured articles.
Here is located the one machine shop in the country, and one of the largest
printing establishments in Florida. These are under direction of the Koreshan
Unity (Incorporated), who have incorporated the town of Estero on a tract of
70,000 acres. The Unity has spent $3,000 upon the improvement of Estero
River in. order to further their plans for future trade and commerce. I person-
ally inspected their various industries, which are in their infancy, and was
impressed with the fact that they are preparing for a large commerce in the
near future.
Farther up the river there are extensive fertile areas suitable for truck
farming and fruit growing. There are at present 1,000 acres planted in citrus
fruits. One grove alone consists of 200 acres containing 10,000 orange trees,
and at the low estimate of one box to a tree, 10,000 boxes must be moved from
that one grove alone.
There are extensive cypress timber lands in the country between Estero River
and Surveyors Creek. It is estimated that a sawmill, capable of turning out
100,000 feet of lumber per day, would require thirty years' time in which to
cut the timber at hand.
There are extensive fishing interests in the bay. There have been as many
as 36 fishing smacks in the bay at one time, and during the fishing season one
carload of fish is taken every two days to Punta Gorda for shipment by railroad.
There are now three very small gasoline freight launches running between
Fort Myers and Estero River; one twice a week, and two three times a week.
There is also a mail steamer from Fort Myers to Carlos. Owing to the numer-
ous islands, making picturesque scenery, there is a large tourist trade in winter.
The bay is also used as an inland route between Naples on the Gulf, a tourist
resort, and Fort Myers, the southern terminus of the Atlantic Coast Line
Railroad.
There is at present a channel of from 6 to 12 feet in depth at low water from
the Pass at the south end of Estero Island to near the mouth of Estero River.
At this point there is a long sand bar covered with water from 6 to 12 inches
deep at mean low tide. Up the Estero River there is very good water, with
the exception of one or two bad oyster reefs. There is also a channel from
the same point at Estero Island to the mouth of Surveyors Creek, of from 3 to
10 feet in depth. There is another long sand bar at the mouth of Surveyors
Creek, with approximately 1 foot of water at mean low tide.
From the pass at Estero Island north to San Carlos Bay there is a channel
of from 5 to 12 feet in depth, with the exception of one or two sand bars on
which there is but 21 to 3 feet at low water. The tidal rise is from 1 to 2
feet. This channel is very narrow and crooked in some places, making it
dangerous to navigate at night. Boats coming into the bay are obliged to
anchor over night and wait for high tide before going up Estero River. Even
the smallest launches have to wait for the high tides.
I talked with several men, both at Estero and Fort Myers, and all were of
the opinion that the deepening of the bay and Estero River was much needed.
A channel 6 feet deep at mean low water and 60 feet wide in the bay, and a
channel over the bars in the creeks of 4 feet in depth at mean low water and
30 feet wide is very much desired, and will be ample to meet the needs of the
people for the present.
It was pointed out to me that it was nearly impossible to get a large yield
of fruits to market owing to the very bad water facilities. There is no rail-







4 iSTERO ~bSA, iLOWIDA.

,road within 16 miles of this vicinity. It was-stated that orange tree planting
is retarded by the difficulty in transporting the fruit. The large quantities
of timber in that section can not be cut until a way is secured for getting the
timber transported.
During the rainy season the roads are nearly impassable, and while now most
of the commerce is carried on by wagons, extensive team hauling is out of the
question. -It is 16 miles from the town of Estero to Fort Myers by land, and 33
miles by water. The bad roads at times, and the low tides caused by winds,
leave the people for several days without the necessary means of transportation,
and retard the improvement of this section. The mail is very uncertain at
these times. The postmaster at Estero informed me that a post-office inspector
considered the advisability of discontinuing the land route from Fort Myers and
delivering the mail on the mail steamer that goes to Carlos, only 12 miles away,
but the scarcity of water in the bay at the mouth of the river would not insure
prompt service.
The following commercial statistics were furnished by Mr. H. E. Heitman, of
Fort Myers, for the year ended December 31, 1906:

Articles. Weight in Value.
ton Vs.

Citrus fruits............................................................. .. 730 $36,500
Fertilizer ...................................................................... 600 20,000
Grain ..................................... ............ ......................... 60 1,200
Hay......................................... ............................. 40 1,000
Lumber ........................................................ .............. 40 16,500
Merchandise.................................................................. 80 16,000
Tomatoes ................................................................. 20 2,500
Sweet potatoes.................... .................................. 6 1,500
Watermelons ........................... .................................. 50 1,500
Total................... ........................ .... ............ 1,676 80,700

The country around Estero Bay is sparsely populated, and the
water-borne commerce is very small. I am convinced that the nat-
ural outlet for the commerce of this country is by railroad, and I
anticipate that as the population increases communications by road
or branch railroad to Fort Myers will be provided. A channel 6
feet deep, such as is desired, would not give immediate access by water
to any market, but would only effect a small saving in one stage of
a long route. While it may be that in future the commerce of Estero
Bay will warrant its improvement as a portion of the extensive system
of inland waterways comprising Charlotte Harbor, San Carlos Bay,
and its tributaries, I do not think that the present needs of the locality
are sufficient to warrant the improvement by the United States Gov-
ernment.
Very respectfully, FRANCIS R. SHUNK,
Major, Corps of Engineers.
The CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, U. S. Army,
(Through the Division Engineer.)
[First endorsement.]

OFFICE OF DIVISION ENGINEER, SOUTHEAST DIVISION,
Savannah, Ga., August 14, 1907.
Respectfully forwarded to the Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army.
I agree with the district engineer in his opinion that Estero Bay,
Florida, is not worthy of improvement by the United States at this
time.
DAN C. KINGMAN,
Lieut. Col., Corps of Engineers,
Division Engineer.






ESTERO BAY, FLORIDA.


[Third endorsement.]
BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS,
Washington, D. C., September 9, 1907.
Respectfully returned to the Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army.
This is a small bay on the west coast of Florida about 13 miles
long and 21 miles wide near the center. A number of small islands
are within the bay. Hendrys, Muloch, Estero, and Surveyors creeks
empty into the bay. Tributary to these streams fertile lands and a
large quantity of cypress timber are reported. The bay and the
mouths of the creeks are obstructed by sand bars over which there
is but little water. It appears that those interested desire that a
channel 6 feet deep and 60 feet wide be opened up through the bay,
with connecting channels 4 feet deep and 30 feet wide through the
bars at the mouths of the creeks so as to provide facilities for a
regular light-draft boat service into these several streams.
The tributary country is sparsely settled, the largest settlement
being Estero, with a population of 500. The commerce for 1906 is
reported at 1,676 tons, the principal item of which is citrus fruits.
At present the products of the locality are transported by very light-
draft gasoline boats or by teams over the country roads to Fort Myers,
the nearest railroad station, distant about 16 miles.
The district officer is of opinion, in which the division engineer
concurs, that the present needs of the locality do not warrant the im-
provement of the bay by the General Government.
The Board recognizes the difficulties attending transportation in
this locality under present conditions, but it also realizes that the
situation here does not differ greatly from that usually found in
pioneer settlements, which must, from the nature of things, labor
under some disadvantages until a sufficient commerce has developed
to justify the expense of better transportation facilities. The present
commerce is, in the opinion of the Board, insufficient to meet these
requirements, and while the indications point to a future develop-
ment, the outlook for a prospective commerce of considerable size
is not sufficiently definite to warrant the United States in under-
taking the improvement. In view of these facts, it is the opinion of
the Board that the improvement of Estero Bay is at this time inad-
visable.
Interested parties were invited by the district officer to submit to
the Board statements and arguments in behalf of the proposed im-
provement. Hon. S. M. Sparkman, M. C., and Mr. O. O. Stealey,
appeared before the Board in behalf of the improvement, the latter
presenting a letter from Hon. Jas. B. McCreary, U. S. Senate, which
was duly considered.
For the Board:
D. W. LOCKWOOD,
Colonel, Corps of Engineers,
Senior Member of the Board.
[Fourth endorsement.]
WAR DEPARTMENT,
March 27, 1908.
Respectfully returned to the Chief of Engineers.
Strong representations having been made to the Department in
favor of the worthiness of this project, especially on account of the





ESTERO BAY, FLORIDA.


relatively small amount of work desired by the local interests, and
its small cost-approximately $2,000-it is thought that a survey of
the locality may appropriately be made, and a plan and estimate of
cost of the desired improvements be prepared, with a view of present-
ing to Congress more definite information as to the relation of such
cost to the present and prospective commercial interests involved.
Wm. H. TAFT,
Secretary of War.

SURVEY OF ESTERO BAY, FLORIDA.
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,
Jacksonville, Fla., October 5, 1908.
SIR: In compliance with department letter dated March 31, 1908,
I have the honor to submit the following report on survey of Estero
Bay, Florida.
The preliminary report on this waterway was submitted August
12, 1907, by Maj. Francis R. Shunk, Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army.
In this report Major Shunk gave a description of the bay and of the
interests that would be benefited by the improvement, and for such
information attention is respectfully invited to his report.
The object of the survey, as interpreted by this office, was to locate
an inland water route through Estero Bay from Matanzas Pass to
Naples on the Gulf of Mexico. There had been no previous survey of
this bay by the Engineer Department. The information given on
Coast Survey Chart No. 16 seems to indicate an interior waterway as
far south as Clam Pass. No such waterway could be found by the
survey party, although every effort to do so, with the services of the
best available guides, was made. If such a channel ever existed it
has been obliterated by dense mangrove swamps or other obstructions.
Estero Bay proper begins at Matanzas Pass and ends at the Auger
Hole, a mouth of Surveyors Creek a little south of Big Hickory Pass.
There is no passage connecting Big Hickory Pass and Little Hickory
Pass without first going through the Auger Hole into Surveyors
Creek and thence down that creek through the Cork Screw to Little
Hickory Pass; thence a crooked channel leads to Wiggins Pass, the
extreme southern limit of the waterway. While it is not believed that
the Auger Hole and Cork Screw passages are properly a part of
Estero Bay, yet the survey was continued to Wiggins Pass to show
the extent of the waterway.
The result of the survey is shown on a map of two sheets, tracings
of which are forwarded under separate cover to-day.
Two possible channels are indicated on the map, routes A and B.
Following is an estimate of the cost of a channel 6 feet deep at mean
low water and 60 feet wide at the bottom. The unit price per cubic
yard is placed at 25 cents, as the work is to be done in several small
portions and the distance from the base of supplies is great.
Route A.
151,000 cubic yards soft material, at 25 cents_---------------- $37, 750
Engineering and contingencies, about 15 per cent----- --------- 6, 250
44, 000


6





ESTERO BAY, FLORIDA.


Route B.
254,000 cubic yards soft material, at 25 cents ---------- -- $63, 500
Engineering and contingencies, about 15 per cent----------------- 11, 500
75,000
Inasmuch as it is believed that the cost of either of these channels
would be out of proportion to the present or immediately prospective
needs of the commerce of the vicinity, a third estimate was made for
a channel 5 feet deep at mean low tide and 60 feet wide at the bottom,
following Route A. Such a channel would require the removal of
about 90,000 cubic yards of soft material and would cost, at 25 cents
per cubic yard and allowing 15 per cent for engineering and contin-
gencies, about $26,000. This channel is at present in use. The most
difficult part of the channel is between Matanzas Pass and Carlos
Pass, where half of the entire dredging estimated for in the 5-foot
channel by Route A is required.
The annual cost of maintenance of this channel will be, it is esti-
mated, $2,000.
The annual water-borne commerce of Estero Bay is given for the
year 1906, in Major Shunk's report, as 1,676 tons, valued at $80,700.
From the report of Mr. W. W. Fineren, junior engineer, who was in
charge of the survey, I quote the following: "The commerce of
Estero Bay is derived from three sources-first, that from the country
surrounding Estero Creek; second, that from Naples and the country
surrounding Surveyors Creek; third, that from fishing in the bay.
The commerce from Naples is hauled over the county road to Survey-
ors Creek, thence to the bay, and thence by water to Fort Myers and
other points. All of this portion of the commerce passes that portion
of the bay between Matanzas and Carlos Pass.
The following are the commercial statistics of Estero Bay for the
year 1907, as furnished by Mr. H. E. Heitman, of Fort Myers, and
Mr. A. B. Guthrie, of Punta Gorda, Fla.:

Articles. Tons. Value.

Citrus fruits................................................................... .... 875 71, 268.75
Fertilizers.................. ...... ..... ...................... ... ................. 500 17,500.00
General merchandise........................................ .................... 600 81,096.00
Lumber and shingles.......................................................... 500 6,500.00
Potatoes ......................... ................................ ......... 15 450.00
Vegetables... ......... ............ ................................... 100 12,50000
Watermelons ...................................................... ... 10 30000
Total.......................................... 2600 189,614.75

Commercial statistics for Surveyors Creek and Estero Bay, Florida, for twelve
months ending December 31, 1907.

Articles. Tons. Value.

Citrus fruits .. ............... ............................ ......... .......... 580 $47,241.00
Fertilizers .... .... ........ .................................................... 300 10,500.00
Groceries and merchandise...................................................... 480 64,876.80
Lumber and shingles .............. ......... ........... ....................... 500 6,500.00
Vegetables............................................... ..................... 100 12,500.00
W aterm elons .......................... .......... ............ .................. 5 150.00
1,965 141, 767.80





0 ESTERO BAY, FLORIDA.

"To the above must be added 1,250 tons of fish, valued at $252,500,
caught and carried out of Estero Bay, making a total commerce on
Estero Bay of 5,815 tons, valued at $583,882.55 for the year 1907."
That this considerable commerce is handled in the bay in its
present unimproved condition indicates quite clearly the poor trans-
portation facilities that are at present available to this section of the
State.
Were a channel of 5 feet available at mean low tide from the wharf
near Surveyors Creek to Matanzas Pass I am confident that the
greater part of the trade of this section would seek this water route.
Most of the trade is now by wagon to Fort Myers. During the rainy
season the roads are well-nigh impassible and extensive team haul-
ing is out of the question. The bad roads at times and the low tides
leave the people for several days without the necessary means of
transport tion and retard the improvement of the country.
I am of the opinion that this waterway is worthy of improvement
by the General Government to the extent estimated for, for a channel
5 feet deep and 60 feet wide from Matanzas Pass to the wharf at the
mouth of Surveyors Creek.
Very respectfully, GEO. R. SPALDING,
Captain, Corps of Engineers.
The CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, U. S. Army.
(Through the Division Engineer.)
[First endorsement.]
OFFICE OF DIVISION ENGINEER, SOUTHEAST DIVISION,
Savannah, Ga., October 6, 1908.
Respectfully forwarded to the Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army.
I am of the opinion that the benefit that would result from a nar-
row channel only 5 feet in depth would be very small, and I doubt if
much freight would seek this route.
The total tonnage of commodities received and shipped in this
district, according to the report, seems to be very small, and I do not
think that the saving in freight that could be effected by such a water
route would be sufficient to justify the cost of the improvement.
I am, therefore, of the opinion that Estero Bay is not worthy of
improvement at this time.
DAN C. KINGMAN,
Colonel, Corps of Engineers,
Division Engineer.
[Third endorsement.]
BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS,
Washington, D. C., October 20, 1908.
Respectfully returned to the Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army.
On September 9, 1907, after having heard from interested parties
and listened to those who cared to appear before it in regard to the
improvement of Estero Bay, the Board submitted a report in which
it concurred in the unfavorable views of the district officer and the
division engineer. Under date of February 8, 1908, the Chief of
Engineers forwarded the report, concurring in the adverse opinion
as expressed therein. On March 27, 1908, the Secretary of War





ESTERO BAY, FLORIDA.


returned the papers to the Chief of Engineers, stating: "Strong
representations having been made to the department in favor of the
worthiness of this improvement, especially on account of the rela-
tively small amount of work desired by the local interests and its
small cost, approximately $2,000, it is thought that a survey of the
locality may appropriately be made and a plan and estimate of cost of
the desired improvement be prepared with a view to presenting to
Congress more definite information as to the relation of such cost to
the present and prospective commercial interests involved." The sur-
vey was accordingly made and the within report thereupon submitted.
The district officer presents estimates for a suitable channel 6 feet
deep at mean low water and 60 feet wide at the bottom over two
routes, in the sum of $44,000 and $75,000, respectively. In view of
the large cost of either of these, he submits a third estimate for a
channel 5 feet in depth following the cheaper route. The estimate
of this channel is $26,000, and its annual cost of maintenance is
placed at $2,000. It will thus be seen that the cost of the least im-
provement suggested is 13 times the amount represented to the Sec-
retary of War as being required for the work, and the estimate for
the annual maintenance of the improvement is equal to that amount.
The Board is still of the opinion that the expense of providing
suitable navigation through Estero Bay is at this time out of pro-
portion to the benefits to present and prospective commerce.
For the Board:
W. C. LANGFITT,
Lieut. Col., Corps of Engineers,
Senior Member Present.
0


9




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs