Fort Myers, like many South Florida communities, developed during the last half of the 19th century. First Street (once called Front Street) became the heart of the new town, In 1866, Manuel A, Gonzalez and Joseph Vivas took up residence at the recently abandoned fort. Arrival of other settlers led to the establishment in 1876 of a post office and the incorporation in 1885 of the community of 349 persons. First Street, then a sandy trail, appeared on the 1876 town survey plat and continued to occupy a central position in Fort Myers. A church, Phoenix Hall (the town social center), and the Keystone Hotel, which first welcomed Thomas Edison in 1886, stood along its route. Railroad construction and tourism contributed significantly to the growth of South Florida towns. Street light electrification in 1898 reflected progress in Fort Myers. Shortly after 1900, First Street was paved with shell which eased the way for tourists and automobiles. Modern buildings replaced frame structures along First Street, symbolizing the onset of the 1920's era of rapid growth, The first royal palms were planted in the City of Palms in 1897. Palm-lined First Street has continued to embody the appeal or sub-tropical Florida.