The Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia built #143 for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1905. #143 was used to switch freight cars in rail yards around Charleston, South Carolina. The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad was the first railroad to serve the Ft. Myers area beginning in 1904. Similar steam engines worked A.C.L. tracks in the Ft. Myers area.
Agrico Chemical Company purchased #143 in 1944 for use in Florida’s phosphate mining industry around Mulberry. The locomotive hauled cars to and from the mines for interchange with mainline railroads. #143 was retired from service in 1959 and placed on display at Agrico’s offices at Pierce. In the early 1970’s #143 was moved to Webster, FL and displayed at the short-lived Orange Belt Railroad. Number 143 was eventually moved to Tampa and stored on a short piece of track near a cement plant. Its condition deteriorated over the years. Prior to being scrapped it was obtained by the Railroad Museum of South Florida in Ft. Myers. Number 143 was moved to Ft. Myers in August 1992, then to Lakes Park in 1995. Restoration work started in 1999 and was completed April 2001.
Seaboard served Ft. Myers from 1926 to 1952
The Seabord Air Line Railway came to Ft. Myers during the Florida land boom of the 1920’s and directly competed with the Altlantic Coast Line Railroad. The extension to Ft. Myers originated off the Seaboard line to Boca Grande at Hull, FL, near Ft. Ogden, and terminated in Naples.
At Punta Rassa Junction, where Six Mile Cypress Parkway crosses Ten Mile Canal, a branch departed the main line and ran through what is now Lakes Park. The right of way entered the southern end of the Fragrance Garden and continued to- a. point where the train stands today. The..railroad grade then ran just south, of the present day boardwalk and causeway across the lake and then curved to the southwest exiting the present park boundary along the West Trail. Thereafter the line ran beside and south of present day Summerlin Road to a farming area called Truckland, in lona. The branch never reached Punta Rassa.
Large amounts of produce and gladioli were once shipped from the area. Late in 1952, the Seaboard abandoned its Fort Myers Extension and the Coast Line resumed its monopoly. At a later date, the Atlantic Coast Line constructed a short spur track off their main line ‘to serve the lime rock mining that created the present lakes in the park. June -1st 1967, the SAL merged with the ACL to form the Seaboard Coast Line