Port LaBelle, Florida 33935
FIRST POPULATED: Late 1800s by Florida Pioneers
UNINCORPORATED PORT LABELLE POPULATION: 5,000
GREATER LABELLE: 12,000
HENDRY COUNTY: 37,000
INTERESTING FACTS: Port LaBelle, a 31,000-acre single-family planned housing community with about 13,000 residential lots, three miles east of the city of LaBelle, brings a modern, country club atmosphere to the city of LaBelle. It was originally developed by General Development Corp. in the 1970s and includes neighborhood parks, a marina, and a growing residential community.
In 1972 the land for the Port LaBelle community was purchased by the Miami developer from the heirs of Joe B. Hendry, Sr., the “Cattle King” of south Florida, who bought most of the county’s land from LaBelle to Clewiston from Henry Ford in 1942. The majority of Port LaBelle's vast, and until recently remote lands, are still unfenced and are mostly vacant one-quarter acre lots, some lots backing up to recreational greenbelt areas.
Four community subdivisions have been developed over the last thirty years including Country Village, Eucalyptus Village, Laurel Oaks and the Port LaBelle Ranchettes. These four Port LaBelle subdivisions were designed with greenbelt areas surrounding the neighborhoods, and plentiful oak and fruit trees, with all underground utilities (except for the Ranchettes) to preserve the uncluttered natural open space look.
In recent years three additional subdivisions were built including Mira Verde, a 140 unit one-story apartment complex with subsidized housing for agricultural employees; Oak Haven, with 35 two-acre executive home sites; and Tanglewood, with 54 manufactured homes on small lots. A one-story apartment complex for subsidized elderly housing has also been built on the southwest corner of Eucalyptus Village.
There are currently about 5000 residents in Port LaBelle and about 1600 homes. An additional 100 homes are expected to be built each year for the next few years. It has been estimated that a 50% build out of Port LaBelle's 13,000 lots will not take place until 2033 and a complete build out near the end of the 21st Century.
Country Village, north of Cowboy Way, is a small neighborhood of primarily one-bedroom homes each with a single car garage, although many garages have been converted to bedrooms, all homes have underground utilities. Eucalyptus Village homes are larger 2 and 3-bedroom homes with one or two-car garages or carport, although most homes have converted the garage to an extra room. All homes have underground utility lines. Laurel Oaks, north of State Road 80, is a half mile east of the Oxbow Inn and Port LaBelle Marina, and the 53 homes are executive style with 3-bedrooms or more and two-car garages, and the neighborhood has all underground utilities. Port LaBelle Ranchettes, north of State Road 80 and just south of the Caloosahatchee River, have larger executive-style homes on acreage of two to five acres and above ground utility lines. The remainder and vast majority of the Port LaBelle area is still undeveloped lots and all homes will have above ground electric lines on traditional poles. The privately owned Port LaBelle marina and OxBow Hotel and Restaurant, north of SR80, are on the Caloosahatchee River, which flows from Lake Okeechobee to Ft. Myers. Lake Okeechobee is the second largest freshwater lake in the United States.
The City of LaBelle, 3 miles west of Port LaBelle, is located in a vast oak hammock and on the shores of the Caloosahatchee River, at the intersection of State Roads 29 and 80, and is 26 miles east of Ft. Myers. The town and unincorporated communities within a 15-mile radius see the number of residents rise to 12,000 or more during the winter vegetable and citrus harvesting season. The city of LaBelle has recently annexed land south along State Road 29 in which a technical college is planned and a large subdivision by the Bonita Bay Group in expected in coming years. The city also annexed and purchased a portion of Port LaBelle’s Country Village vacant lots to build a waste treatment field.
The area was originally settled by the Caloosa Indians, who held religious rites here. The Ortona Indian Mound Park is about 15 miles northeast in Glades county. LaBelle means "the beautiful" in French and according to Florida history books, Capt. Francis Asbury Hendry named the area in 1896 for his daughters, Laura and Belle. The greater LaBelle area includes North LaBelle on the north side of the Caloosahatchee River and 31,000 acres in Port LaBelle, 3 miles east of downtown LaBelle.
Citrus, mainly oranges and grapefruit, sugar cane, and vegetable growing, and retail automobile sales drive the area's economy. LaBelle is home to two new car dealerships. Until the late 1940s, LaBelle, and nearly all of Hendry County, was owned by cattlemen. When cattle ranches began to downsize, range land gradually turned to farmland. Since 1986, citrus plantings in the county have more than doubled, from 40,000 to more than 90,000 acres. Today, Hendry has more than 15 million citrus trees, among the top producing Florida counties. (St. Lucie County has 12 million while Polk county has 11 million.) Hendry is third in citrus acreage with 100,000 acres. St. Lucie county has 107,000 acres while Polk county has 104,000 acres.
Music is an important part of the culture of the area. LaBelle's schools are noted for their outstanding music programs and the large number of students who play in the school bands. The LaBelle Middle School had over one hundred students in the band, about forty percent of the student body. Lots of fine bluegrass and country musicians can be heard at local restaurants and community events. In the background on this page can be heard an example of exciting bluegrass banjo pickin'!
The LaBelle area is also home to the annual Swamp Cabbage Festival held on the last full weekend of each February. Visitors from all over the world attend this big festival and parade. The Festival is named in honor of Florida's prolific state tree, the Sable Palm, nicknamed the "cabbage" palm or cabbage palmetto because of it's cabbage like pulp, the bland tasting "heart of palm" found inside the trunk. When the heart of palm is removed, the tree dies, so it is not recommended to cut local trees to get at the palm heart. The Sabal palm and the mighty Live Oak trees help give LaBelle it's famed scenic beauty.
FOR SALE. Port LaBelle residential lots. Looking for an investment in rural Hendry county, the Citrus Capital of Florida, and affordable prices? We have lots available at great prices in Port LaBelle and Hendry county, Florida. See Listings Below:
Highway 80 from LaBelle to US Highway 27. e-mailFor Sale. Historic 1.29 acres on north side of State Road 80 east of LaBelle. (see video at right for views) SOLD but a smaller parcel from the original acre is available. Previously owned by county pioneer, the late Joe B. Hendry, Jr., since 1949. East of the the Pioneer Shell Store and Hendry Isles Blvd, this agriculturally zoned land is the perfectly placed investment for the coming four-laning of
FOR SALE. Clewiston Harlem residential zoned building lot. 83’ X 110’. Quiet subdivision. Build a home or buy for investment. Concrete foundation already in to place a home on, and city water and FPL utilities. Address: 1130 Virginia Avenue. e-mail.
PORT LABELLE/Hendry county property owners: We can photograph your lot inexpensively, from ground level or from an airplane, starting at $39.00. We can also provide inspection reports of what’s being built in your neighborhood, and recent lot sales prices. e-mail.
For more real estate information, more Port LaBelle property listings and photos click here: Hendry County Residential Real Estate best values for sale.
We buy Hendry County property. Cash for your unwanted vacant lots, homes or apartments (in any condition) in the area. Contact us for a quick sale for your property. We cannot give you a free property appraisal, but if you seriously want to sell your property, click here and email what you have for sale and the price: Email: LaBelle Property Buyer
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