In 1513, when the first European explorer, Ponce de Leon, conducted his survey of the south Florida coast, the area was already home to thousands of Colusa Indians. The archeological evidence suggests that humans had inhabited this area for nearly 8,000 years. However, relatively few Native Americans survived the depredations of the ensuring Spanish conquest.
Bonita Springs had its beginning in the 1870s, when the US Army Corps of Engineers sent a survey party through the remote and uncharted regions of southwest Florida. The team pitched camp along what is now the upper-Imperial river. That site became known as ‘Survey’ and the river as ‘Surveyor’s Creek.’
In the early decades of the 20th century, real estate developers decided that the name ‘Survey’ lacked sales appeal. They renamed the area Bonita Springs and ‘Surveyor’s Creek’ became the Imperial River.
in the 1920s, Barron Collier extended his railway from Fort Myers, and the completion of the Tamiami Trail launched the region’s first land boom. During this period, Bonita Springs incorporated as a city.
Bonita Springs’ most recent period of growth began with the advent of airconditioning, the opening of Interstate 75 and the completion of Southwest Florida International Airport. A steady influx of tourists, immigrants, vacationers and retirees in the 1980’s and ’90s ushered in an age of condominiums, shopping malls and luxury golf courses.
Today, Bonita Beach is mainly known as a retirement and second home vacation community, however low business taxes and an abundance of affordable commercial office space have also made this city an attractive home for businesses and educated professionals.