The first settlers came to Everglades City in 1868. By 1920, it was still a small fishing village. In 1923, Barron Collier began buying land in what would become Collier County. It became apparent that a road was needed from Miami to Naples. Thus was started the Tamiami Trail project. Barron Collier's efforts to build the Tamiami Trail included making Everglades City a center of this project. Everglades City became a boom town. The original building, now the Ivey House, was erected at Port DuPont by the Collier interests for use as a recreational center for the workers who built the Tamiami Trail. The facility included a bowling alley and pool hall. Port DuPont, across the river from Everglades City, served as a distribution center for supplies needed to build the trail. The house was moved to the present location shortly after the 1925 hurricane.
One of the men who worked for Barron Collier was Earl W. Ivey. He was in charge of one of the Bay City walking dredges used to create the road bed for the Tamiami Trail. He worked eighteen hours a day to help complete the ten mile stretch between Black Water River and the Belle Meade Crossing between 1927 and 1928.
After the Trail opened in 1928, the Collier interest converted the recreation hall into a boarding house. Earl Ivey and his wife, Agnes, ran the house for the Collier Development Corporation until 1960 when the Iveys purchased the house. Earl Ivey died in 1962 and Agnes continued to run the house until her death in 1974.
The house deteriorated for the next three years until Beckett Academy, Inc. acquired the building as a dormitory and classroom for problem children as part of their wilderness experience school.
In 1979, David Harraden began providing overnight guided canoe adventures in the backcountry of Everglades National Park. In 1989 he purchased the Ivey House from Beckett Academy, and he renovated it into a Bed and Breakfast to expand his services for visitors to Everglades City. In 1995, the Harraden family renovated the cottage located next door to the Ivey House.
In 2001 the Harradens again expanded the facility, creating the Inn, which adjoins the Lodge. The Ivey House Inn now consists of a great room with an Adventure Desk, a large dining room, and 18 rooms with private bathrooms. All these new rooms surround a screened-in courtyard and a beautifully landscaped, shallow conservation pool with waterfall.
David and his family continued to provide adventures into Everglades National Park and the surrounding areas. The Ivey House retains the typical appearance of the company town period and marks a permanent identification of the early history-making days in the life of the Everglades area. It is our wish to preserve this historic building for the enjoyment and education of future generations.