Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday and a Little Sanibel History

It was chilly again last night at 55 degrees and only 67 today. We had a sunny day, but there was still a NNW wind. I didn't go to the beach today; did a little grocery shopping at Publix this afternoon.

I keep forgetting to mention that the new Marriott's Residence Inn Ft. Myers/Sanibel Hotel has opened. It is at the west end of Sanibel Beach Place, just before the Sanibel Causeway on Summerlin Rd.

Going across the causeway today, I noticed the landscaping is still in progress. There was a huge pile of palm trees on spoil island A and a lot planted already. There were several people kite boarding, a few fishing today.

Driving toward the island, I saw some new fencing at the end of Bailey Rd, so we drove over there to check it out. Apparently the City has been having problems with boats being launched there. There is now fencing all the way around the end of the road and also a gate across the closed portion that was partially washed out from the hurricanes a few years ago.

No motorized boat launching and no motorized vehicles past this point.

This you can do! Pick up the doo doo.

There were so many rotting fish on this beach, the smell was terrible. That might explain why no one else was there. I wanted to walk along the water to look for Rose Petal Tellins, but just couldn't do it.

This closed portion of the road goes back to four plaques that identify the historical locations of Matthews Wharf, The Sanibel Packing Company, Miss Charlotta's Tearoom, and the site of the first golf course on the island.

This was the location of Matthews Wharf. The Sanibel Packing Company Store, owned by the Bailey's, was built on the dock. It was one of the main shipping and receiving points. There was even a gas pump beside the store, cars had to drive out onto the wharf to fill up. Gas was brought to them in 50 gallon drums and poured into their 300 gallon tank. This whole complex was destroyed by a hurricane in 1926.

This site is directly across San Carlos Bay, from Punta Rassa.

Miss Charlotta's Tea Room was originally built to be used as a gas station, but was temporarily used as Bailey's General Store while a new store was constructed on adjoining land. After completion of the new store. This building was moved and turned over to Charlotta Matthews where she opened a Tearoom, across from the ferry landing.

The Matthews family owned The Matthews, which provided accomodations and meals for island visitors. The name of The Matthews was later changed to Island Inn. The Matthews and Bailey families had been connected by a marriage.

A mini golf course was made next to the store for islanders to use while waiting for the ferry. Bailey's became an important place for islanders, with telephone and telegraph links, also steamer, ferry and mail boats stopped at the docks. Islanders voted there, and could send and received mail.

A little more interesting history: The Bailey's new dock with a storage shed built on it, was mostly destroyed by Hurricane Donna in 1960. Two Bailey brothers still own and operates Bailey's General Store on the island. In 2004 Hurricane Charley did major damage on the island, but Bailey's General Store was open for business at 7 the next morning

If you have an interest in the history of Sanibel Island, there is a lot of information available. You can find history books in the book stores here, much information is available online, as well. Also, check out the link to Bailey's General Store, where you can find a CD and a book available, with The Bailey Brothers sharing the history of their life on Sanibel.

It's a nice walk or bike ride to view the plaques from the end of Bailey Rd.

I read today the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported , 77 manatee have died in Florida waters from cold stress, between Jan 1 and Jan 23.


Little Black Scrap Cat said...

Thanks for sharing some more history of Sanibel. We really need to get off the beach more when we are there and check out more of the island!! But that's so hard for me to do!! I saw the report in the paper here about the Manatees. It made me very sad...

suwanneerefugee said...

I sure wish I could do more kite boarding, but live too far from the water for it to be feasible.

bobbie said...

Very interesting.
I have to chuckle at 55 and 67 being called chilly. If we had temps like that here today I'd be cheering.

JoJo said...

That's one of my favorite 'sekrit' places on Sany-bel. It's very peaceful and quiet.