December 9, 2021 – The Historical Village’s holiday display – Trees, Timelines, and Special Memories – opened December 3 with a crowd of more than 200 people coming to the Village’s pre-Luminary Open House. The exhibit contains timelines in all the nine historical buildings tracing each building’s interesting past and the people who inhabited it. The exhibit continues through the first week of January.
“We were delighted with the turnout and hope many more people will come to enjoy our holiday exhibit,” said Board Member Gayle Pence. “So many of our volunteers were involved and worked hard to make it happen. It’s a unique exhibit, unlike anything we’ve done before. Visitors will learn a lot of interesting history.”
After much research, village volunteers explored the history of each of the Village’s nine authentic buildings and discovered new and exciting facts. A timeline is exhibited in each building telling the tale of that building’s life through the years. Holiday trees and exhibits reflect the items found on the timelines. For example, the old Schoolhouse has an interesting past.
The old Schoolhouse for White Children was the first school to desegregate in Lee County after African American and white families together petitioned the Lee County School Board seeking to desegregate the school. The schoolhouse for “colored children” was located on Tarpon Bay Road in the building now occupied by Lily & Company Jewelers. Today, an educational plaque is located in front of the building.
After the old Schoolhouse for White Children was closed, the building became the Pirate Playhouse and later the Schoolhouse Theater. When the building came to the Historical Village and was restored to its early-1900s state, the workers doing the renovation found the original blackboard still in place.
“We invite everyone to visit and learn more about our buildings’ histories, which also tell the history of Sanibel,” said Executive Director Emilie Alfino.