Historical village celebrating Women’s History Month with exhibit
The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village will honor some of the women who made history on Sanibel for Women’s History Month. In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month to honor the extraordinary achievements of American women.
A different female Sanibel pioneer will be featured in each of the village’s nine buildings.
Some of the women highlighted are:
– Mary Dos Santos Bowen
Aa native of Trinidad, Bowen traveled to Sanibel in 1887 with her husband and two children. She was married to Oliver Bowen, a Confederate veteran. When it came time to homestead, Bowen had to be the homesteader, because no one who bore arms against the United States was allowed to homestead. Together they ran and worked their 80-acre farm, growing vegetables for northern markets. She soon became the farmer, as her husband had become eccentric and spent most of his time in a hammock strung between two palm trees over his well. In 1894, at his request, he was buried in this well. After he died, an older Bowen son from a prior marriage showed up to claim his inheritance – her homestead. He sent Bowen and her then-f4-year-old son packing back to Trinidad. He sent the other children to a northern relation, and then leased out the farmland.
– Elinor Dormer
A conservationist dedicated to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Dormer helped formulate the historical preservation section of Sanibel’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. She was instrumental in getting the Sanibel Lighthouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After the toll bridge was built, Dormer worked to preserve the island’s historical buildings and helped form the city’s Historical Preservation Committee. The group was the power behind the formation of the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village in 1984. Dormer authored “The Seashell Islands” in 1987 after interviews with island families and research into the origins of the island’s history. Her book has long been considered the quintessential book on the history of Sanibel. Dormer’s parents, Ross and Daisy Mayer, built the Sears kit home Shore Haven, in 1924 that serves as the museum’s welcome center.
The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.
Free guided tours are at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., based upon docent availability.
Admission costs $10 for ages 18 and older; children and members are free.
For information, call 239-472-4648 or visit online at www.sanibelmuseum.org.
The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is at 950 Dunlop Road.