Captiva landmarks now on historic registry list
For decades, visitors to Captiva Island made their way to two more well-known locations recognized as the Chapel By the Sea and Captiva Cemetery.
Nestled away in a peaceful and one of the most beautiful places on the island, both of the sites were always a highlight of vacationers’ and residences’ days alike.
Now, the site of the old Captiva School – and now the Chapel By the Sea – and the Captiva Cemetery, will be known nationally after being named to the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors will be able to see this proof firsthand now after an unveiling ceremony and a champagne toast was had Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the two wondrous locations.
Two aluminum-cast markers are placed at the locations of each location, with educational and historical information telling of the interesting stories of how each became to be.
“We are dedicating these two plaques to serve to recognize these locations as being designated to be on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service,” said past president of the Chapel By the Sea board of associates Mike Boris. “All the buildings which are on the site hold historical significance. The Captiva Cemetery is also a pioneer cemetery, which helped its inclusion.”
A property listed in the National Register may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred to preserve the property.
There are more than 1 million properties listed on the National Register, 80,000 of those are listed individually. Each year, around 30,000 properties are added to the National Register.
A good gathering of residents and Chapel By the Sea board members attended the champagne toast and dedication of the two 44 x 30-inch National Register markers.
“Both these sites are very, very special and represent the remnants of how it all began out here,” Boris said. “Most of us agree, these are very sacred and special spots.”
An important reason the Chapel By the Sea was added to the National Register, was due to the fact it used to be a pioneer Captiva schoolhouse.
The Captiva Cemetery holds the realm of history of the island in its sacred ground. William Herbert Binder (1850-1932) was the first Captiva resident after homesteading the island in 1888. He is buried in the cemetery after his death in 1932.
Ann Brainerd holds one of the cemetery’s saddest stories, but also one of the most inspirational. After the four-year-old told Binder how the area was her favorite place on the island, he agreed to sell her plot for a gold coin.
Tragically, after she paid Binder for the plot, Ann passed away a year later after stepping on a rusty nail and dying from tetanus.
Shells can still be found around Ann’s tombstone, which has a baby lamb on it, from visitors placing them during their stay on Captiva.
Herbert and Hattie Brainerd lost an additional 10 infants, six of which are buried near Ann.
There are numerous stories which comes with each headstone, in that each an every one will now be preserved.
“The first time I ever stepped foot on this sacred ground, my heart was swept away,” said Chapel By the Sea board member Susen Berg. “I know many of you have that same tale to tell. Each one of us has our own unique story to tell.
“The placement of these historic plaques are now on the National Register of Historic Places, means this story will be carried on and on. The Chapel has welcoming arms to all who visit it, and now think of how far those arms are going to be.”
The cemetery is still maintained, thanks to the donations by guests who visit the grounds and give to the cemetery fund box which is located at the entry. Off-site donations may also be made through the authorized Captiva Chapel by the Sea website at www.captivachapel.com.
After the ceremony, coincidentally, the “Deck the Hall with Chapels” art exhibit opened inside the Captiva Civic Center. The exhibit displayed works created by artists who depicted the Chapel By the Sea.
Winning top honors was Kathleen Taylor, who was presented her first-place certificate by CCA Art Committee member Molly Barbee during the grand opening of the exhibit. Her piece, entitled “Captiva Chapel by the Sea Again”, is a watercolor art work.
Other prize winners included Stan Timson for his oil painting “Where All Are Welcome” and Mark Klunk for her oil painting entitled “Chapel By the Sea, Captiva”.
Show dates are from Dec. 8-18, Wednesday and Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or by appointment by calling 239-472-2111. The Captiva Civic Center is located at 11550 Chapin Lane.