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Historical village home to early Sanibel Post Office

By Staff | Jul 29, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED The 1927 Sanibel Post Office at the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village.

Prior to 1926, the postal system on Sanibel was run out of the postmasters’ homes, which were located on the eastern end of the island. Will Reed served as postmaster for 40 years.

Reed operated out of his home until it was destroyed in the 1926 hurricane – the same storm that destroyed Bailey’s store on the wharf. Reed and island children gathered floating wood, scraps from the buildings destroyed by the storm, and built the post office that resides in the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village today. It is easy to tell when looking at the ceiling that the building is made out of odds and ends pieced together.

There have been several post offices on Sanibel. The first one appears to have been the Nutt home, Gray Gables, where Laetitia Nutt handled mail as post mistress from 1889 until 1895. She picked up the mail at the lighthouse pier. George Cooper also collected mail at St. James City on Pine Island. From 1891 to 1895, he dropped it off on his wife’s sewing machine at their home.

The third post office was the front porch of the bay-front, two-story Reed home, and Reed became postmaster, a job he held until 1940. Rural delivery was established in 1900 and the mail was delivered each day to Reed’s Landing, dropped off in a sack. His daughter, Hazel Reed Goddard, succeeded her father as post mistress.

Reed was a member of the 1910 Caloosahatchee Valley championship baseball team, the Sanibel Tomato Pickers.

PHOTO PROVIDED The roof is made out of wooden scraps from island buildings destroyed in the 1926 hurricane.

– The fifth post office was built on Ferry Road, run by Scotia Bryant; it soon proved too small.

– The sixth, used until 1964, became a private home on Ferry Road.

– The seventh is now a restaurant, The Over Easy, near the Cooper Home in the Old Sanibel Shoppes.

– No. 8 is the present post office on Tarpon Bay Road.

– There was also a post office in the Wulfert area, operated by post mistress Jennie Doane in the early 1900s.

PHOTO PROVIDED Interior of the Sanibel Post Office at the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village.

The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is at 950 Dunlop Road, Sanibel. The facility closed early for the off-season in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is scheduled to reopen on Oct. 20.

For more information or updates, visit “http://www.sanibelmuseum.org”>www.sanibelmuseum.org.

PHOTO PROVIDED An old black-and-white photo of the Sanibel Post Office.