Most of Florida's tiny fishing towns are disappearing and giving way to McDonald's, high rises and hotel chains. Not Matlacha, however. Here you still find cozy cottages, bed & breakfasts, fishermen tending their nets, bait shops and shrimp boats.
Matlacha housing started in the 20's. The bridge to Pine Island was completed in 1927. Fishing shanties and squatter shacks appeared on the Island. Many of them have survived to present day. The area around the Matlacha Bridge was made famous by Ft. Myers author, Richard Powell, in his book, Pioneer Go Home. This book was made into an Elvis Presley movie called "Follow that Dream".
Bert's Bar is composed of two buildings. The original building was the bar near the road. It was built in the 30's as a "sweet shop". Then in 1941 the hotel building was built. It consisted of eight sleeping rooms. During WWII, army bases were set up at Page Field and many of the soldiers would come out for a weekend to Matlacha to go fishing off the "fishingest bridge in Florida" at Matlacha Pass. They became regular customers of the hotel and bar. The hotel had the reputation of "ill repute" and ladies of the night. Imagine that!