Repko releases new book about Sanibel, from the Calusa to today
Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, you can’t help wondering how Sanibel Island was settled and became the popular and peaceful place it is now.
According to author Marya Repko’s recent release, entitled “A Brief History Of Sanibel Island,” her paperback is filled with just enough of the island’s background, “but not so much that you’re overwhelmed.”
About six years ago, Repko — who back then lived on Sanibel — began to do research on the island’s long and storied history. She envisioned writing her own book to tell the story about the island’s earliest inhabitants on up through contemporary history, but foremost wanted her book to separate the fact from fiction.
“I was bringing books home from the Sanibel Public Library almost every day… the research was very intense,” Repko recalled. “But after I moved to Everglades City, I stopped doing research for the book. And then it sort of sat on the backburner.”
But the would-be author shifted her focus to her new hometown before launching her successful “Brief History of the Everglades City Area.” She followed that with the highly-acclaimed “Brief History of the Fakahatchee” and “Angel of the Swamp: Deaconess Harriet Bedell in the Everglades.”
However, she never forgot about Sanibel.
“I came up for a Historic Preservation conference in May,” said Repko. “I visited the Book Nook and asked them if they would be interested in a book about Sanibel’s history. Melanie (Wilford) told me that there wasn’t anything like that out yet, so I got back to work.”
After talking with island historians Alex Werner and Charles LeBuff, Repko drafted an initial version of her book, which she asked both to proofread. A few tweaks, corrections and additions later, and the book came off the presses two weeks ago.
In her “Brief History of Sanibel Island,” Repko tells us about the early settlers, their schools and churches, the ferries that linked them to Punta Rassa before the causeway, “Ding” Darling and the conservation effort, and the incorporation of the city, which was spurred to keep Sanibel free from over-development.
Also included in the 74-page softcover book are numerous old photos, quotes from unusual sources, and enough Florida history to put events into context.
“There is an extensive bibliography but this is an easy-to-read little volume — small enough to fit into a beach bag,” she added. “Coming over the causeway, you get this great feeling of relaxation. It’s like you’re moving from one world to another. That’s why I love Sanibel.”
“A Brief History of Sanibel Island” is available at $10 from local outlets or online at www.ecity-publishing.com.
In addition, Repko will conduct a book signing at MacIntosh Books & Paper (2407 Periwinkle Way) on Sunday, Oct. 24 from noon until 3 p.m. Call 472-1447 for more details.