History

The Caloosahatchee Riverfront was a prime target for residential land development during the years following World War II. As service personnel returned to the United States and retirees began searching for affordable housing, the region’s warm climate, laidback lifestyle, and cheap undeveloped land provided unparalleled incentives for economic growth and development. The Rosen brothers — Leonard and Jack — recognized an opportunity to profit by selling the American Dream, affordable housing on the installment plan. In 1957, they purchased for $125,000 a 1,724-acre parcel at Redfish Point on the north bank of the Caloosahatchee. The Rosens would turn that investment into a fortune of over $100 million by 1970 and create the largest land sales operation, Gulf American Corporation, in the United States. Their real estate business was a pioneer in using mail-order sales, television advertising, giveaways, and popular culture celebrities as company spokespersons.