The Liles Hotel dates back to 1927, when Bonita Springs pioneer J.W. Liles opened one of the area's first winter accommodations. Liles lost the hotel during the Depression and the hotel passed through several families. Several families operated the hotel, with mobile homes and cottages also serving as residences. City officials bought the property for $1 million.

The cottages were built during the 1940s, a time when winter tourists first started coming to Bonita Springs. They were dubbed "tin-can" tourists by locals because most of their camping goods were stored in metal coffee cans that often made clanging noises when they unpacked for the winter.

Most of the cabins were painted silver to reflect heat. Some locals even thought the shiny color kept bugs like mosquitoes and termites at bay.

They were one-room, studio type abodes with small, add-on kitchens. Bathrooms, during that time, were still called outhouses and weren't attached to the tin-roofed cabins, although toilets were later added to the cabins to make them more inhabitable.

A fireplace was standard, as was a small set of stairs that often acted as front porch for fishermen cleaning the day's catch. A lone lightbulb was mounted to the front gable above the door as the sole source of night light.


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