According to living members of the Lee County Black Historical Society, big name bands played here in addition to other venues that allowed black entertainers: big names like Louis Armstrong, Otis Redding, Count Basie, B.B. King, and Duke Ellington. McCollum Hall was the USO for the black soldiers stationed at Buckingham Gunnery School and Page Field during World War II. White soldiers at a nearby USO would also come to McCollum Hall, although a rope across the dance floor divided the room between the two races. McCollum Hall became the upscale social heart of the community. Other businesses operated there as well, including a men’s clothing store, barber shop, coffee shop, grocery store and liquor store.
Buck McCollum came to live in Fort Myers when he was 30 years old, and ran gambling bolita games, akin to the lottery. He used his winnings to invest in land, housing and commercial buildings on Florida’s east coast. He later financially backed men’s and women’s baseball teams. In 1998, the city of Fort Myers designated McCollum Hall a local historic landmark, despite its shoddy condition. In 2015, Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency awarded a special $500,000 grant to the architecture firm, Parker Mudgett Smith, to restore its façade. There are now fundraising efforts posted on a Facebook page to help the city of Fort Myers revitalize McCollum Hall.