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.
Click the play button to watch the video
“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.
In May of 1923, the Florida Legislature created Hendry County named for early resident and”Cattle King of South Florida” Captain Francis A. Hendry with LaBelle as its county seat. In 1925, the Florida Legislature chartered the City of LaBelle, which replaced the Town of LaBelle and D. A. Mitchell was named the first Mayor of LaBelle.