Visit Everglades City and the Ten Thousand Islands of Southwest Florida, the Everglades

70 Years of Cityhood

Everglades City

by Lila Zuck

In 1953, the Florida Legislature passed House Bill 961, changing the status of the 30-year old Town of Everglades to the City of Everglades, 70 years old this centennial year, 2023.

That year, Daniel W. McLeod was elected first Mayor of the City of Everglades.  At the time, he had been serving his 28th year as the second mayor of the Town of Everglades, having been elected in 1925, following John L. Kerr, the town’s first mayor.

Daniel McLeod was born in Euchee Anna, Walton County, Florida on April 15,1888. He was a descendent of the North Carolina Highlanders who settled in the Euchee Valley.  He was educated in Marianna, Florida.  In 1906, became Deputy Clerk of the Circuit Court of Jackson County and later Vice-President of the Florida Land Title and Trust Company.

70 Years of Cityhood by Lila Zuck Daniel W McLeod c1940
D.W. McLeod, c.1940

On May 14, 1911, he married Lucy McKeown of Quincy, Florida and they had two daughters.  In 1913 they moved to Arcadia, where he worked for the Consolidated Title Company until 1921 when Hardee County was created.  He then formed the Consolidated Abstract Company for DeSoto County and the McLeod Abstract Company for Hardee County.  What was named the “McLeod System” was adopted by abstract title companies throughout the State of Florida.  In 1923, the McLeods moved to Everglades, where he operated an abstract title company and began lifelong service to Collier County.

In 1923, Florida Governor Carey A. Hardee appointed Dan McLeod first Tax Assessor of Collier County, a position he held until 1960.  He was Vice-President of the Bank of Everglades until 1960, Secretary of the Collier County Title Company, President of the Board of Elders of the Everglades Community Church, which he helped organize in 1926, Superintendent of the Sunday School, a member of the Collier County Board of Public Instruction, and a board member of the Deep Lake Grove Company.

He became the first editor and publisher of The Collier County News, serving in that capacity from 1923 until 1925.  In 1927, Mayor McLeod was appointed first chairman of the Collier County Chapter of the American Red Cross, a position he held through World War II.  He also served on the Selective Service Board and was a Government Appeal Agent.

He served on the board of the National Mission of the Southwest Presbytery and was a trustee of the Synod of Florida.  In 1928 he helped organize the Tamiami Chapter, F. & A.M., was a Master Mason, Royal Arch Mason, and Knight Templar.  He was a Shriner and Knight of Pythias, President of the Naples Lions Club, a charter member of the Everglades Lions Club, and a charter member of the Everglades School PTA in 1931.

Mayor McLeod passed away on August 12, 1960,  never witnessing the adoption of the historic Resolution by Collier County Commissioners on September 4, 1960 officially changing the seat of Collier County from the City of Everglades to East Naples, nor the passage of the bill introduced on behalf of the City Fathers  by Collier County Representative J. Lorenzo Walker during the May 1965 session of the Florida Legislature requesting the name of the City of Everglades be changed to Everglades City, in order to dispel existing public confusion of the municipality with the vast “Everglades.”

Dan McLeod was, and still is, the only elected Collier County official who held office continuously since the formation of Collier County in 1923 … for a record 37 years, 35 of which he was Mayor of the Town and the City of Everglades.

70 Years of Cityhood by Lila Zuck Daniel W McLeod 1959
D.W. McLeod, c.1959
2024-02-12T14:57:13-05:00July 1, 2023|History|

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