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Historical Village to celebrate Rutland birthday

By Staff | Mar 8, 2013

The Rutland House turns 100 years old this month.

Sanibel Historical Museum & Village will celebrate the 100th birthday of the Rutland House on Friday, March 22.

The Rutland House was the first building moved to the current Historical Museum & Village site in 1984. Built in 1913 in the typical “cracker” style is made of hard Florida pine. The house originally stood on Periwinkle Way (where Periwinkle Park is now) above ground on pilings made of concrete and beach sand. This protected the house from floods and allowed the air to circulate.

Eleven-foot ceilings, a wide hallway and the placement of windows and doors opposite each other keep the house cool and are typical attributes of a “cracker house.”

Clarence Rutland came to the island with his parents in 1896 at the age of 6 and was a jack-of-all-trades. In the 1920s he earned seven cents per crate packing tomatoes and peppers for farmers and resided in the house from 1928 to shortly before his death in 1982. Uncle Clarence, as he was known, and his wife Ruth are fondly remembered by islanders.

“To honor the 100 years this house has lived and breathed Sanibel history, we will have activities ongoing all day,” said museum manager Emilie Alfino. “We’re going to start with a traditional birthday cake to cut at 10 a.m. in Rutland’s beautiful dining room. Later on there will be treats in Charlotta’s Tea Room.”

In addition to goodies, author Marya Repko (A Brief History of Sanibel Island, and The Story of Sanibel Island: A History for Younger Readers) will talk about Sanibel History and sign books in the Old Schoolhouse. This begins at approximately 10:30.

From 10:30 to 4 there will be craft demonstrations in the tea room (craft kits are available for sale in the museum gift shop).

At 1:15, long-time museum docent Ted Hoesel will speak about his extensive vintage clothing collection, while Hal and Nola Theiss will do a reenactment of Sanibel lighthouse keepers in the Old Schoolhouse.

Learn more about Rutland House and Sanibel’s history at the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village, 950 Dunlop Road, open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Guided tours take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day.

Admission is $5 for adults over 18; children and members are free. For more information, call 472-4648 or visit www.sanibelmuseum.org.