Otter Mound has native vegetation representative of what covered the Island before modern development; the whelk shell walls located throughout the property were built in the 1940’s and 50s by Ernest and Gladys Otter from the Calusa shell that was found on the site. Archaeological surveys show that Calusa Indians occupied the property around 750-1200 A.D. It is thought that the walls were constructed for the Otter’s vegetable and flower gardens. After selling most of Caxambas to Barron Collier in 1922, the Barfield’s moved into their house which was located on the south half of the Block 15 J.M. Barfield Subdivision platted in 1919.
Descendants of the Barfield’s continue to reside on this property. Otter Mound is on the north half of block 15, purchased by Conservation Collier and opened as a County park.
In their effort to increase public awareness of the importance and significance of Collier County’s historical and archaeological heritage, the Historic and Archaeological Preservation Board of Collier County produces a 28-page booklet featuring historic sites in Collier County. The 44 sites highlighted in the book are grouped together by proximity and shown on a locator map.
Historic Designation Process: the designation of specific sites, structures, buildings, districts and properties may be initiated by the Preservation Board or the property owner. Consideration of the Preservation Board’s findings and recommendations, and upon the consideration of the criteria and guidelines contained in the Land Development Code, the Board of County Commissioners either approves or denies the petition. The Board of County Commissioners has designated many of the sites and structures as locally significant.
For more information go to www.colliergov.net and click on Historic Archaeological & Preservation Board under Advisory Boards. Also see www.napleshistoricalsociety.org (Naples); www.themihs.com (Marco/Goodland); www.evergladeshistorical.org (Everglades City); and www.colliermuseums.com (Collier County).