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Dimock photos on display at Captiva Community Center

By Staff | Jan 13, 2016

The Julian and A.W. Dimock photo collection was enjoyed by guests Thursday, Jan. 7, at the Captiva Community Center. BRIAN WIERIMA

A glimpse back into when Southwest Florida belonged to Mother Nature and development was still decades away can now be seen on the walls of the Captiva Community Center.

The photographic works of Julian and A.W. Dimock will be on display at the Captiva Community Center – located at 11500 Chapin Lane – from now until Feb. 17.

The gallery of glass-negative photos taken through the early 1900s by the father-son Dimock combo, was opened Thursday, Jan. 7, with a ceremony and a historical presentation by Sanibel-Captiva historian Betty Ann Anholt.

The Dimocks came to the Southwest Florida region and the Everglades during a time where the region was not developed and Fort Myers was just a cattle depot.

The photos feature the beginning of the popularity of tarpon fishing, the wildlife of the region, Seminole tribe members in custom wear and much other sites which have never been seen before.

The doors were open to guests for the beginning of the Julian and A.W. Dimock Southwest Florida Photo Collection gallery, which is being held at the Captiva Community Center until Feb. 17. BRIAN WIERIMA

Since photography was a new activity during the Dimocks’ travels to Florida, their photographs are some of the rare ones which has captured the spirit of Florida in the early 1900’s.

“It gives people the chance to see what Southwest Florida looked like at the turn of the century and how remote it really was back then,” said Captiva Community Center’s Paul Garvey. “The Dimocks brought their cameras deep into the everglades and wilderness to get their photos. For some of their shots, they even walked up to 20 miles to get to a honey cove. It’s remarkable how the people lived back then.”

To mark the gallery’s closing Feb. 17, Dr. Jerald T. Milanich, who is an Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the University of Florida, will give a presentation about the Dimock’s works.

“It will be a standing room only event, and should be very interesting,” Garvey said.

The Dimocks traveled from New York City to Marco Island in 1904, when Julian was 31 and his father, A.W., was 62 years old.

There were plenty of people on hand and look at the spectacular photos by Julian and A.W. Dimock. BRIAN WIERIMA

The duo made their pilgrimages back to Southwest Florida over the next decade, capturing rare images of the wilderness, wildlife and people which inhabited the area.

The Dimocks traveled by canoe or ox cart, while A.W. wrote books and Julian took photos. In 1920, after the death of his father, Julian donated his entire collection of glass negatives to the American Museum of Natural History, where they are curated in the Research Library.

The collection at Captiva is courteous of the Southwest Florida Museum of History.

During the opening ceremony, Anholt gave a presentation entitled “Telegraphs, Tarpon and Tourism”. She gave accounts of the telegraph cables being laid through Punta Rassa and Sanibel, en route to Cuba.

She also gave intriguing historical accounts of the Tarpon Hotel and its owner George Schultz, the rise of tarpon fishing, and everything he gave the Punta Rassa and Sanibel areas.

Betty Ann Anholt, who works at the Sanibel Library and is one of the islands’ favorite historians, speaks to the audience about the days of the telegraph lines being laid down through Punta Rassa, Sanibel all the way to Cuba. BRIAN WIERIMA

For more information about the Dimock photo collection on display at the Captiva Community Center, contact Garvey at 239-472-2111.

Jack Cunningham started the opening ceremony Thursday, Jan. 7, inside the Captiva Community Center. Cunningham is the president of the Captiva Historical Association. BRIAN WIERIMA