The site of the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center Art 2301 First Street Fort Myers has significant historical importance. Hundred of years ago, it was the site of a Native American Calusa Settlement. In the mid 1980’s, it was the site of Fort Myers.
In 1933, a 23,000 square foot post office was built at this site. The architect was Nat Gaillard Walker. The style was Neoclassical. The structure and the ionic columns were built of concrete and steel. They were faced with coquina rock ( coral formations, sea shells and limestone quarried in Key West. Construction costs were $200,000.
In 1960, the building usage was converted to a federal courthouse. It housed government offices.
In 1998, the building was vacated. A new nearby courthouse had been built. Unfortunately, the old courthouse building has deteriorated significantly due to water damage, wear and tear and skipped maintainance. Original fixtures were stolen or destroyed.
In the year 2000, the city of Fort Myers purchased the building from the federal government for $185,000. In the year 2003, the city leased the building to Florida Arts with the proviso that they restore the building and convert it to a cultural art center.