Barron Collier’s Life and Legacy Revisited

Barron Collier - Collier County MuseumEver wonder how Collier County got its name? The Collier County Museum will be shining a light on one of Southwest Florida’s founding fathers, Barron Collier (even his name sounds mysteriously regal) on October 23.

   The museum’s Curator of Education Naomi Goren will lead the special presentation, “Barron Collier: The Man Who Made Collier County,” discussing his life and legacy. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1873, Collier became a self-made millionaire, raking in a fortune in the burgeoning advertising industry. After a vacation to Fort Myers in 1911, Collier purchased Useppa Island, just off the coast near Fort Myers and once thought to be where pirate Jose Gaspar kept his favorite female captive, Useppa (hence the name). Over the course of the next decade, Collier bought more than a million acres of Southwest Florida frontier, making himself the largest landowner in the state. Under his watch, the Tamiami Trail was completed, and many of the towns and cities dotting Collier County today first took root.

   The Collier County Museum will explore what drove Collier to develop what many considered inhospitable territory and his lasting legacy in what’s now dubbed the Paradise Coast.

  • The lecture, “Barron Collier: The Man Who Made Collier County,” will take place at the Collier County Museum on Wednesday, October 23, at 2 p.m.
  • Admission is free.
  • For more information, visit

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