The Mound House Shoreline- A Rocky History
Taking a stroll along the banks of the Mound House site, you will find a steep slope, lined with mangroves and oysters, a living shoreline, all of which is manmade and extends back in time over 2,000 years.
Deep down, these slopes are built of shells brought here by the Calusa. But, lying on the surface you will find flat, jagged, thick chunks of concrete, clearly not placed here by the Calusa. What is this rubble? How did it get here? Last week, quite by chance, this mystery has been solved.
A FRIEND IN NEED
It turns out that back in the 1980’s Mrs. Long ,who owned the Mound House at the time, was losing her shoreline to erosion from the waves caused by years of wind and boat wakes. However, she was also friends with Pat Burns, a local building contractor who had spent decades on the beach, building everything from cottages to condominiums. Pat was in a tough bidding process for a project in town, to remove and replace the sidewalks near downtown Fort Myers, including those by the Edison Home. As a small businessman, he needed an edge to beat out the big guys, and he found it at Mound House. Disposal fees to the landfill for the concrete debris would eat up any profits Pat would make on the job, and the cost to install riprap and maintain Mrs. Longs’ shoreline were just too much for her to afford. Over drinks on the back porch Pat and Mrs. Long struck up a deal, he would deliver and install the old concrete sidewalks as riprap to protect the shore, but he would charge her only $18 per ton ,a real bargain for both of them.
A RECYCLING TRADITION
It was the Calusa who first recycled the shellfish they harvested for food and tools ,then turning them in their millions into the building material that forms our Mound House property .
And centuries later, it was the resuourceful thinking of two friends, helping each other, who recycled the old city sidewalks of Fort Myers into the riprap shoreline we see protecting the Mound House today.