About LaBelle, Florida
LaBelle, “The Belle of the Caloosahatchee,” had its beginning as a settlement in the 1880s when the Caloosahatchee River began to play a part in Philadelphia entrepreneur Hamilton Disston’s dream of Everglades Reclamation, and had the double advantage of being on the western edge of Captain Francis A. Hendry’s vast ranch holdings in Monroe County. According to the 1885 Florida State Census, William Byrd Fraser and Francis A. Hendry were the last household heads to be listed for “Monroe County Exclusive of Key West” with the Hendry household including 16 year old daughter Carrie Belle as well as several of Captain Hendry’s other older and younger children.
Captain Francis A. Hendry, a force in the creation of Polk County in 1861 at the onset of the Civil War, was instrumental in a new county being carved from northern mainland Monroe County in 1887; this new county was named Lee County in honor of Hendry’s hero General Robert E. Lee. It is entirely possible that some members of the Hendry family including 18-year-old Carrie Belle thought the new county was also named for an older Hendry daughter, Virginia Lee.
The beautiful Caloosahatchee Riverside landscape offers an incredible view from some of LaBelle’s most treasured attraction locations.