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Museum docents to bring Sanibel's history to life

March 6, 2014
By JERI MAGG ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

On Thursday, March 20, to help celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village, museum docents will be portraying some of the earliest "village neighbors." Those guests arriving for the cocktail party between 6-7 p.m. will be able to meet and talk with six of these "neighbors."

This, the first of two articles, will relate stories about three of these residents and the houses in the village where they lived as well as the museum docents who will be portraying them.

Clarence Rutland

Article Photos

Island neighbors Clarence Rutland (Karl Rodman), Mabel Critchley (Ann Rodman), and Daisy Mayer (Judy Yenkole), on the porch of the Old Schoolhouse. PHOTO PROVIDED.

The Rutland House was named after Clarence, who arrived with his parents and four siblings following the 1896 "big freeze" in Apopka, Fla. A year later his father died and mother Irene married lighthouse keeper Henry Shanahan, a widower with seven children.

The family then moved to the keeper's quarters where they welcomed child number 13. To survive, he tilled the soil, fished the back bays, and worked on cattle boats leaving Punta Rassa. Clarence also served as assistant lighthouse keeper from 1918 to 1926. In 1928, he borrowed money from Frank Bailey and bought a house on Periwinkle Way. In his later years he became the island's handyman and contractor and preferred mosquitoes to tourists suggesting that the new bridge be "blown up!"

Mabel Critchley

The Burnap Cottage, built by Sam Woodring in 1898, as a fishing retreat for wealthy northerners, was sold to Hiram Burnap and then sold to George Scoville, Mabel's brother, in 1917. Mabel, a native New Yorker, became a close friend of Esperanza Woodring and following the sale of this cottage to the Brewsters, spent the next five winters with Esperanza. Known as a gentle and caring person, her neighbors relied on her in times of need.

Daisy Mayer

The Sears & Roebuck kit homes, "Shore Haven and Morning Glories" belonged to the Mayer family. Daisy was an avid fisherman and could be seen often on the fishing pier behind her house casting her rod. She spent wonderful weeks with her nieces and nephew who lived next door in "Morning Glories." After the death of their mother, Daisy taught them how to fish and play board games. She was an integral member of the community for many years.

Thanks to their wonderful portrayals, docents Karl and Ann Rodman will bring Clarence Rutland and Mabel Critchley to life on March 20. Ann and Karl Rodman are year round residents. Originally from the Hudson Valley area of New York State, they operated a children's summer camp.

Docent Judy Yenkole will be portraying Daisy Mayer. Judy, in sales most of her working life, has been a resident since 1997. She has enjoyed volunteering at the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village since 2004 where she has been active on the development committee and in fundraising efforts.

Each of these docents have many wonderful tales and maybe even some "secrets" to tell about these "village neighbors." For ticket information, please contact the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village at 472-4648.



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