A POEM BY SAM BAILEY (1924-2010)

“A Brief History of the Old Store”

In 1900 was the beginning of Bailey’s store
However, some of us (the building and I) did not arrive until ’27 and ’24
Things were good in the early days
When transportation was boats and one-horse shays

Progressing fast from farmers and fishers
To land grabbers and Yankee well wishers
From out of the bay after the ’26 deplorium
Came this building, Sanibel’s finest (and only) emporium

On our store dock came all freight and mail to carry
And right next to it, the auto ferry
This was the lifeline of all the folks here,
The meeting place for islanders and visitors far and near

Our shelves were stacked with supplies and goods
For everybody coming from the beach or the woods
From tweezers and needles to double team plows
From overalls and tools to ladies’ things that were the cat’s meows

Dried beans, canned beans, slab pork, et al
Bananas, vegetables, honey and fruit – winter, summer or fall
Our slogan – and you should really heed it
This I quote, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it”

Our father and the real father of this store
Was Frank P. Bailey, but yet there was much more
He fathered three sons as you see here now
Born, he thought, to fill his shoes and follow the plow

But plan and ideas don’t always come out right
However at the end of the tunnel there was some light
I’ll get to that in a sec or two
But then came the Depression and many dreams blew

Getting the boys interested in the store was tough as a rock
One wanted to ride horses, another was a jock
The oldest, after wandering and meandering around
Arrived back on Sanibel and his niche was found

After three years he took over the reins – in 1952
And established a record our dad would be proud of too
This old building has seen many come and go
And it’s great to see these old clapboards again to glow

For in 1966 she was put to rest to stay
New Bailey’s was relocated at the corner of Periwinkle and Tarpon Bay
But not it’s back in its glory and glee
Here is stand again proudly for all to see


Located at 950 Dunlop Road on Sanibel, next to BIG ARTS, the historical village is closed at this time due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Sanibel Historical Village will re-open October 20, the regularly scheduled opening date for the 2020-2021 season.