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‘Spring Cleaning’ and Summer Days at Sanibel Historical Village

By Staff | Jul 1, 2011

The School House for White Children was built in 1898 and stood on Periwinkle Way. There are many current islanders who attended class in the one-room school, which did not close until 1964 when the Sanibel School was opened on Sanibel-Captiva Road. Laeticia Nutt, one of Sanibel’s early pioneers, taught school for a salary of $2.50 per pupil per semester.

The City of Sanibel has been sprucing up the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village in the past few weeks. The volunteer “Hammerheads,” led by Dean Skaugstad, have been working to finish replacing the Village walkways and handicap ramps with the more durable Trex boards. The City recently power-washed the Old Bailey General Store and the Rutland House and gave the outside of the School House for White Children a new coat of paint. Sun and rain take their toll each season and the buildings and grounds must be maintained on a regular basis. Gordon Kraft, who works in the City’s Public Works Department, is at the Historic Village regularly and helps to keep the buildings, built in the 1890s through the 1920s, in good condition and the grounds cleared of debris and neatly trimmed. Gordon also regularly clears the pathways of raccoon droppings. The vegetables and fruit grown in the Village’s Heritage Garden attracts the critters. They especially enjoy the ripening mangoes and leave their leftovers on the pathways. As Gordon says,

“It’s all part of the charm of the Village.”

While life slows down at the Historical Village during June and July, many island visitors are taking a time-out from a sun and surf holiday to enjoy a leisurely “step back in time” and get a sense of the way life was on Sanibel long before the Causeway brought hordes of tourists. Children, in particular, find the old typewriters, wall telephones and the 1930’s era goods sold in the Old Bailey Store most interesting. Their parents enjoy a “trip down memory lane.” The Museum Gift Shop is open and sells a unique mix of gifts and history related items. All of the merchandise is “Made in America” and reasonably priced.

The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is open on Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Docents are available to tell some Sanibel stories and share their knowledge about the seven historic buildings on the Museum grounds. Audio recordings in each building bring to light the island’s rich heritage. The Museum is located at 950 Dunlop Road (next to BIGArts) and is handicap accessible. Admission is $5 for adults; children (17 and under) and members are free. For more information, visit the Museum website at www.sanibelmuseum.org or call 472-4648 during business hours.