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New Resident Club celebrates 50 years

By Staff | Sep 4, 2013

When the Cape Coral New Resident Club came into being in 1963, there barely was a Cape Coral.

Tuesday, new and old residents alike came to the Yacht Club to meet with new residents, eat some birthday cake and hear stories about the beginnings of the city that went from being an idea to a city of more than 160,000 people.

Local historian Bill Tremper served as guest speaker at its monthly breakfast meeting.

Tremper, producer of the documentary film, “Castles in the Sun,” turned back the clock and reflected on the vision of the Rosen brothers and their efforts to develop a unique waterfront community which ultimately became Cape Coral.

“It was my personal experience with the people that I met doing the documentary and how I felt about the early development of the city,” Tremper said, who has lived in Cape Coral since 1987, when the population was 38,000. “It was a unique story and I thought it was something that should be put on film.”

Tremper said the Rosen brothers used tactics that hadn’t been used at the time. They gave away free gas station coupons and flew people down and paid for their airfare and hotels by the tens of thousands as many as 95,000 annually in the early years.

Tony Mandell should know. He worked in Baltimore in a tenement house in the 1960s, calling people from all over the east coast to persuade them to give Cape Coral a try, the first of what would become telemarketers.

“The whole basement had telephone cubicles and we called all over,” Mandell said, who in 1983 listened to what he sold and moved to Cape Coral himself.

The New Resident Club of Cape Coral was officially established in 1967. However, its founding dates several years prior to that when Col. Richard Crawford, the community relations director for Gulf American Corporation, was assigned the responsibilities of welcoming new residents to the community.

Within months, Paul Sanborn, another Gulf American employee and current city historian, took over the position and continued working with new residents for the next five years. During that period, new residents were placed into groups that were named after the month and year they joined.

For example, if a new resident became affiliated in May 1962, he or she was a member of the May 1962 Club.

In 1967, Sanborn handed over the reins to Helen Peck, who became the first president of what is now the New Resident Club of Cape Coral.

Another feature of the event was that all newcomers, including those who have resided in Cape Coral for more than three years, had the opportunity to join during September’s open enrollment.

The club is active throughout the year and hosts monthly dinner dances as well as group events and socials.

For additional information, log on to their Website at: www.capecoalnewresident.com.