LaBelle, “The Belle of the Caloosahatchee,” had its beginning as a settlement in the 1880s when the Caloosahatchee River began to play a part in Philadelphia entrepreneur Hamilton Disstons dream of Everglades Reclamation, and had the double advantage of being on the western edge of Captain Francis A. Hendry’s vast ranch holdings in Monroe County.
“Belle”, “Belle City”, and “LaBelle” began to be used as names for the tiny new settlement populated by cattle drovers and trappers straddling the banks of the Caloosahatchee River as early as 1889. By 1891 LaBelle had its first school. Francis A. Hendry, the “Father of Labelle”, subdivided and recorded a Plat of LaBelle, Florida in 1909. E. E. Goodno eventually owned the majority of the Hendry’s holdings and increased LaBelle’s size close to twenty times the original subdivision. The 1910 U S Census shows 42 households and some 174 residents LaBelle south of the Caloosahatchee River. In 1911, the Florida Legislature chartered the Town of LaBelle.