NAME: Deep Lake
COUNTY: Collier
CLIMATE: hot and humid most of the year, mild to cold in winter
BEST TIME TO VISIT: anytime, summer will be hot though
COMMENTS: Now part of the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Forest, no current residents. Tours leading to the Deep Lake natural sinkhole can be arranged from January to Mid-April thru the park service. From I-75 head south at the State Road 29 intersection for approximately 7 miles. Only indications you've come to Deep Lake are the abandoned prison on the west and yellow gate on the east.
REMAINS: partial building wall, railroad tram ties, abandoned prison
Shortly after 1900 the Deep Lake area was acquired by Walter Langford and John Roach, with plans to develop the land into a grapefruit enterprise. 200 acres were cleared and planted with Marsh seedless grapefruit trees and a railroad tram system was built, with a small four wheeled rail car and flatbeds to transport their crop output. The line eventually extended to Everglades City, and by 1915 17,000 boxes of Deep Lake grapefruit were being brought to market. In 1922 Barron Collier purchased Deep Lake and built a large cottage home there. The Atlantic Coastline Railroad bought the line from Deep Lake to Everglades City, revamping it become part of the extensive ACL route in 1928. A prison was built across State Road 29 from the grapefruit groves as well. The rail line from Immokalee thru Deep Lake to Everglades City was abandoned in the 1960's, and the prison was taken over by the Dept of Transportation before being abandoned in 2002. Today the Deep Lake area is part of the vast Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Forest. Submitted by: Jim Pike

Deep Lake, partial wall of Baron Collier's cottage or an overseer's house
Courtesy Jim Pike

Original path of railroad tram, now used for Deep Lake tours
Courtesy Jim Pike

2 original railroad tram ties, partially submerged on trail
Courtesy Jim Pike

Close-up of old railroad crossbeam tie
Courtesy Jim Pike

The deep lake the town was named for, a 98 foot natural sink hole (filled with alligators)
Courtesy Jim Pike

Deep Lake Company vehicle in parade, 1915.  Courtesy of the Florida Archives

Deep Lake rail car, traveling to Everglades City
Courtesy Jim Pike

Deep Lake townsite, 1920.  Courtesy of the Florida Archives

Deep Lake abandoned prison
Courtesy Jim Pike