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Browsing the good old days at MOTI

July 11, 2012
By Lynn Sarda - MOTI Publicist , Pine Island Eagle

As the summer afternoons heat up here on Pine Island, it is always good to find a new way to spend time in a relaxing, cool setting looking at something interesting, other than the television in your favorite watering hole. Why not take a trip back through the good old days of Pine Island and surrounding environs?

Stop by the Museum of the Islands and check out all the interesting photos, maps, and articles in the panels of the upright display. It's a great way to spend a bit of summer time, mosquito free and air conditioned!

You'll find wonderful photographs of early Pine Island settlers, including the Padilla family: Frank and Helen, Walter and Mellie, Grandpa Tony and Grandma Lizzy, a family picnic on Cayo Costa, a wedding shot of bride and sailor groom. There's the Howard family, the Hord family, the Burgess family, the Coxes, the Knights. How many of these early families have descendants still on the island?

Article Photos

Photo provided

An historical display at the Museum of the Islands on Pine Island.

There are displays showing the Sisal Hemp Factory and the Sisal Hotel of St James City. Life in those days shows gentlemen in dark suits and hats gathering for a social time in front of the hotel, picnics by boat, men with long beards and women in long dresses, a St. James City boarding house, a passenger steamer and the Eighth Avenue fish house.

The mullet industry is well represented, with wonderful photos of fish camps, drying fish racks and the Mullet Main Street business. A guide proudly stands next to an enormous fish, while another photo shows two young boys holding the saw of a sawfish.

Mangoes and other fruits are shown being transported off island in large horse drawn wagons to be loaded on the barge before the Matlacha bridge was built. You'll see pictures of men on horseback, a cattleman with his powerful whip, an ox and wagon.

Maps, charts and old aerial photographs show the beginnings of the dusty development of St. James City. Matlacha is represented with old photos from the 1930s and 1940s of family picnics with tables full of pies.

MOTI continues to add to the upright display panels, with a current search being done on the original Pine Island Fire Department. Gladys Schneider and Harry Brown are researching pictures and articles pertaining to the early days of the department. If you have or know of any photos or information related to this topic, please contact Sharon Traylor at 283-9155. Schneider will be at MOTI Saturday, July 21, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., to receive any relevant materials. If you don't want to leave the photos with us, she will be able to scan them on the spot.

In MOTI's gift shop, you will find a good assortment of books relating to the history of Pine Island by local authors, a nice complement to the upright display.

MOTI's summer hours are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. MOTI is located next door to the library at the center.



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