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Not too late for historical village auction

By Staff | Mar 18, 2015

Organizers, board members and volunteers involved in village fundraisers and events include Karl Rodman, Jane Holder, Jan Halliday, Ellen O’Neill, Gail Migliorini and Pam Magnotto. CRAIG GARRETT

While the Sanibel Historical Village’s March 19 fundraiser has sold out, that doesn’t mean the live auction items are out of reach. Sealed bids will be accepted, and bidders do not need to be present to win.

The auction items are:

An eight-day, seven-night stay beginning Oct. 30 at a beautiful townhouse in Lake Lure, North Carolina. The three-level, two-bedroom, two-bath home has decks looking into the Blue Ridge Mountains, just 40 minutes from Asheville. The unit sleeps six and offers many amenities at this Wyndam Resort, Fairfield Mountains.

A week at a four-bedroom, 2-1/2 bath lakefront Keuka Lake house in the heart of wine country in New York’s Finger Lakes. The house sits right on the lake with an expansive front porch. The region boasts an abundance of natural beauty and amazing attractions in any season, from pristine lakes and gorgeous waterfalls to magnificent parks and charming villages. The autumn offers fall foliage and the grape harvest and wineries. Summer offers hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, and kayaking. Keuka Lake has been called the Grand Dame of the Finger Lakes and offers everything a vacationer would want. Keuka Lake is 30 miles south of Rochester, New York.

A vacation at the HF Bar Ranch in the foothills of Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains. On the National Register of Historic Places, this second-oldest guest ranch in America has been named one of the “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.” Many of the cabins actually “hang” over Rock Creek. With no phones and no TVs in the cabins, it is the perfect setting to enjoy family and friends.

A 36-by-36 Myra Roberts painting depicting Shore Haven as it looked circa 1930 with a glamorous woman in Myra’s inimitable style fishing off the dock.

A vintage dollhouse more than 50 years old with more than 75 pieces in the Pennsylvania Dutch style. According to FAO Schwarz, the furniture was painted by Peter Hunt, a legendary folk artist, or possibly one of his protegees. Hunt has many devotees, and his work has become valuable over the years.

As important as funding is, the March 19 event is also a showcase for the village, an event to celebrate the island’s history and its place in southwest Florida’s culture, a place “to pay $10 to understand Sanibel the way it should be understood,” said Karl Rodman, president of the Sanibel Historical Village board of directors.

Resting on city property next to the BIG ARTS complex, the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village is a popular island attraction that last season welcomed more than 10,000 visitors.

Even with changes and additions over the years, museum grounds remain vintage Sanibel; an original packing house/general store, a post office, a tea parlor, a one-room schoolhouse, the things and places that characterize a small island in a subtropical paradise.

For many, the centerpiece attraction is the Bailey’s Packing Co./General Store, a wood structure retaining the charm of its era after a hurricane destroyed its predecessor in 1926. The store’s interior is stocked with hundreds of items representing goods sold from the 1920s through the 1960s. It has that strange and warming sensation of timelock in historic villages.

The store’s authenticity is concentrated in and around founder Frank Bailey’s desk, crouched in silence for decades near a corner window.

Sheathed in plastic on the desk are Mr. Bailey’s correspondences, including a letter to his brother Ernest that began: “It seems a very long time since I have had a letter from you” and he shares the business of his life in January 1919.

The Historical Village also recently welcomed the Caretaker’s Cottage.

The two-roomed cottage was restored to its original form starting in the late summer of 2014. The exhibit of the Caretaker’s Cottage will have photos on display, which will include the Gavin and Walker families, who each had long histories on Sanibel. The cottage was built in 1926, and was used to house caretakers to stay over in case they missed the ferry.

The village’s Shore Haven home this season was converted to a welcoming center, replacing the Rutland House. Shore Haven is an example of finer living in Sanibel. It is spacious; a couple of bedrooms, even an upstairs bathroom. At one point the home at 1111 Bird Lane shared with its Morning Glories’s neighbor an artesian well, an electric generator and bathhouse. The two homes were owned by brothers Ross and Martin Mayer. Ross and Daisy Mayer built Shore Haven. It was located near the old Sanibel Packing Co., with its rear side facing San Carlos Bay near the Matthews Wharf where the daily steamer docked.

Museum hours, prices and structure histories are at sanibelmuseum.org.