THE SANIBEL SCHOOL FOR WHITE CHILDREN
This building was constructed in 1896 at the corner of what is now Bailey Road and Periwinkle Way. In 1903, it was moved to a location on Periwinkle Way and Purdy Road (which runs next to Tahitian Gardens shopping center). There it remained for over 100 years until the move to the Historical Village.
- The 1903 move up Periwinkle, then a sand road, was made with rollers underneath, a winch, and mule power.
- Between 1910 and 1919, it was used as a church on Sundays.
- Some time before 1930, the belfry disappeared. But the original bell is now back in the belfry, having been found in the brush on the property next to the school. Local tradition recounted that Frank Bailey donated it to the scrap metal effort during World War II.
- In the 1930s, a one-room addition was placed on the west (now north) side to accommodate grades 1 through 4. Older children through grade 8 were in the original building. More windows were added to allow more light. All of these features have been removed to return the building to its original one-room state.
- The school was segregated, as were all schools in the South, but both black and white parents petitioned to desegregate the new school being built in 1963. They succeeded, and that school became the first integrated school in Lee County.
- The School for White Children was vacated in 1964.
- The next year, the empty school became a theater and home. First known as the Pirate Playhouse, it became a venue for local, and later professional, talent for 40 years.
- The student whose desk was closest to the stove was responsible for keeping the fire fed during cold days.
- The chalkboard stayed on the wall even through the 40 years as a theater.
- A play area in the corner was for younger children who had completed their lessons.
- Grades were separated in rows running from front to back.
- Lettie Nut, one of the first teachers, received $2.50 per student per semester.
- Teacher Nancy McCann wore bobby sox and taught baseball at recess.
- Teachers were allowed to punish misbehavior. Sam Bailey remembered sitting in the corner for his indiscretions.