subscribe: Posts | Comments

Text, photos and audio for Dean Hotel now on Otocast


The Dean Hotel, also known as the Morgan Hotel, is the latest historic structure to be added to the Fort Myers Guide on Otocast, the free mobile phone app that the City of Fort Myers has installed to acquaint the public with its artistic and historic points of interest. Today, the ground floor is occupied by Ford’s Garage, home to famous burgers and craft beers, with the second and third stories containing office suites.

Originally named The Morgan, the Dean Hotel was built by John Morgan Dean, a wildly successful furniture manufacturer from Providence, Rhode Island. Dean had first come to Fort Myers in 1898 on a hunting trip with a friend. He liked the town so much that he came every winter after that.

In 1923, Dean purchased property on First Street that was owned by S.W. Sanchez. At the time, there was no road where Dean Street exists today, and Broadway was little more than a footpath leading to the County Courthouse. So Dean’s first order of business was to apply to City Council for, and receive permission to construct a road connecting First to Bay Street on the western edge of the old Sanchez homestead. That would give his planned hotel frontage on all three streets. While work on the street was under way, Dean had plans drawn for a 3-story 22-room Mediterranean Revival hotel. He filed his application for a building permit on Friday, January 25, 1924. But within a matter of weeks, W.P. Franklin would complete work on an 8-story addition to his Franklin Arms Hotel that increased his capacity from 20 to 104 steam-heated rooms. The Otocast audio describes what Dean did next in order to be competitive not only with the Franklin Arms, but the Bradford and Royal Palm hotels.

If you are new to Otocast, the app is free and available for download in your phone’s app store and on Google Play. Otocast works through geo-location mapping. Users don’t need to know anything about an artwork or historic building they happen upon. There’s no need to look for a plaque or QR Code.  Simply tap on the app and the guide automatically comes up, providing access to an array of information about the historic building you’re looking at.

The app will also identify other public artworks and historic points of interest that are located nearby.

In addition to the 17 historic points of interest now on Otocast, the Fort Myers Guide also contains narrative, photos and audios for 49 murals and 30 other artworks scattered about town.

By virtue of its audio component, Otocast is like having your very own tour guide who knows all the facts, figures and inside stories about the artworks and historic buildings you see. In fact, in the other towns and cities where Otocast is already in use the app serves as a platform for self-guided audio tours that encourage exploration and discovery, helping people gain a better appreciation of their cultural legacy. This feature is particularly useful in a town like Fort Myers, where many of the century-old buildings and pieces in the city’s public art collection encapsulate tales about the pioneers who built a rough-and-tumble cow town out of the remnants of an old wooden frontier outpost in the years following the end of the Civil War.

Otocast currently hosts guides containing in excess of 4,500 points of interest in more than 200 cities in 90+ countries.

Watch this space for more articles on the historic points of interest that are already live and that will be added to Otocast in the coming weeks. For more information, please contact the City of Fort Myers’ Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

Visit the Fort Myers Guide on Otocast here.

February 13, 2024.



Comments are closed.