History Of The Burroughs Home & Gardens

The Burroughs Home & Gardens contains a free-standing fountain, a grotto (the first one built in Fort Myers) fed by an artesian well, a secret garden with reflecting pool, gazebo, palm alley, and a tennis court that now holds the Gale McBride Pavilion. The garden features many varieties of palm trees, elephant ears, century-old oaks, ficus, bougainvillea, and birds of paradise. The site also contains a caretaker’s carriage house and utility shed that were built to echo the home’s architecture.

Nelson and Adeline Burroughs purchased the home in 1918. The Burroughs family was from Cherokee, Iowa and Chicago, Illinois. They became popular Southwest Florida winter residents, as well known for their business acumen as they were for their their spectacular parties in the moonlit, tropical gardens. Mr. and Mrs. Burroughs traveled the world, were married over sixty years, and raised four children. They had two daughters, Jettie and Mona, and two sons, Roy and Raynor, who died tragically. Jettie was the responsible older sister who handled the family business affairs. Mona married three times and was described as a fun-loving vagabond.We tell their stories on our tours–stories gleaned from oral histories, first-hand accounts, journals, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, photos, and items of material culture.

When Mona Burroughs Fischer died in 1978, she willed her home to the City of Fort Myers, stipulating that it be used as a park, library or museum. The home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and as a local, historic landmark in 1994. The Burroughs Home is managed by the Uncommon Friends Foundation which is dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders, as well as historic preservation. The Foundation also safeguards the James Newton Archives and the remaining Burroughs family artifacts. The home and gardens are available for historical tours, teas, special events, weddings, receptions, and a spectacular, annual Holiday House in December.