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Cape ‘pioneers’ gather for ‘Early Resident Reunion’
November 9, 2018

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About 50 Cape pioneers turned out last Saturday for an "Early Resident Reunion" at Gulf Coast Village in Cape Coral. The event was hosted by two of the community's earliest residents, Chris Schroder and Gloria Raso-Tate.

The invitation-only gathering allowed long-time residents, and former residents, to get together to visit, reminisce and catch up on more recent happenings. Those attending, the "pioneer pack," all had moved to the Cape between 1958 and 1965.

One of the highlights of the luncheon was a video presentation by Julia Rosen Swift, the granddaughter of Leonard Rosen, who, along with his brother Jack, founded the Cape Coral community in the late 1950s. Swift is working on a documentary about her grandfather for the Cape Coral Historical Society and Museum.

Swift's "Waterfront Dreams" preview revealed information about her grandfather's life, especially prior to the development of Cape Coral. Leonard Rosen, she revealed through family photos, film and more, was more than just a real estate developer, he had also been a carnival barker; a television infomercial pioneer promoting his business, Charles Antell Beauty Products; and one of the first TV game show hosts to name just a very few.

The preview also touched upon the early promotions of Cape Coral, showing the first homes (which you could buy for $20 down and $20 a month), the Rose Garden, the Yacht Club and much more.

Swift admitted that her grandfather "lived a rather unique life," and to the pioneers she said, "Thank you for making the dream come true."

Another highlight of the program was the announcement of a special tribute to the city's first official historian, Paul Sanborn. Wendy Schroder, the president of the Cape Coral Historical Society, told the group that planning has just begun to place a life-size statue of Sanborn on the grounds of the Historical Museum.

Although the planning is in the very earliest of stages, she said the hope is to have the statue ready by the city's incorporation anniversary in 2020.

On display was a tribute to Sanborn, a former employee of the Rosens and the Gulf American Land Corporation, who also made Cape Coral his home, moving here in 1962 with his family.

A beloved and well respected resident who spent much of his time promoting the Cape Coral community, Sanborn passed away in July 2017.

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