Alva Offers Small Town Charm in Southwest Florida

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The tranquility and beauty of the tiny historic river town of Alva rests in its appeal as a small town, situated in Southwest Florida. It is part of the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area. In 2000, the population was 2,182—a very small town, indeed. Today, Alva is a quaint rural area of Lee County with citrus groves, pastures with farm animals, and houses—big and small—ensconced amid grand majestic oak trees with hanging moss. It’s a small town on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River. Alva is one of the first settlements in Southwest Florida, and reflects a long, rich history.

A Danish sea Captain, Peter Nelson, acquired land in the late 1800’s on the north side of the Caloosahatchee River and built a city. He designated lots for streets, churches, parks and schools. A botanist as well as a sea Captain, Peter Nelson named his town “Alva” after the proliferation of the white Alva flowers growing along the banks of the river. The Caloosahatchee River provided transportation to the area, food, water and recreation.

Known as the quiet town on the Caloosahatchee River, tiny Alva is about 11 miles east of I-75 on State Road 80 between Fort Myers and LaBelle. After crossing the old bridge over the Caloosahatchee River, you are in the heart of Alva, Florida on Pearl Street. The first bridge across the Caloosahatchee River was built in 1903 in Alva. At that time, it was a bustling small town with two hotels, several homes and life revolved around the river. The Caloosahatchee River is the western part of the Okeechobee Waterway that connects the east and west coasts of Florida. There is a museum in Alva that is open only 1 day a week—on Saturdays from 2-4 PM. There too is a boat launching area east of the church. Most of the homes in Alva are modest. It’s a good place to relax for nature lovers, and watch the boats sail by, or bird-watch.

The town of Alva holds an annual social Strawberry Festival every March held under the oaks at its historic library-turned-Museum. Volunteers from the Alva Garden Club run the museum. The Strawberry Festival includes a plant sale, strawberry shortcake fundraiser made with fresh local strawberries, and fresh produce is for sale. There is an open house for the Museum. The Museum’s collection includes local fossils, dugout Indian canoes, Mina Edison’s clothing and antique medical instruments.

Here is a resource to view active Alva real estate listings.

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