On Sunday morning, October 16, my husband and I bicycled to Chokoloskee and followed a rough sandy road to the Smallwood Store & Museum. Although it was just after ten in the morning, many visitors from outside Florida and from Europe were walking around taking photos and admiring the Museum artifacts indoors. They were greeted by Alice Morrow from behind the counter. She, as well as the other employees, has been out of work since April. The tourists had no idea that the road had been closed for six months; they were just visiting south Florida and had read about the old historic building. We wonder how many other Collier County visitors were forced to turn back when Mamie Street was bulldozed on April 14. Collier County Judge Hugh Hayes granted a temporary injunction on September 15 to the Smallwood Store and ordered Florida-Georgia Grove LLC to rebuild (within 30 days) that portion of Mamie Street that they had destroyed. The deadline to complete the public access road was Saturday, October 15. On October 3, FL-Georgia Grove LLC filed a motion to have Judge Hayes disqualified and recused as judge from this matter. The ruling for this motion will be heard later this month. Although the road was not paved (as of Oct. 16) and is wide enough for only one car to pass, the most important thing is that our visitors can once again drive down Mamie Street to see this historic site. However, as you leave the Museum, it is disturbing to see the ancient Indian shell mound in a pile of rubble.
On Saturday, October 22, the Friends of the Museum of the Everglades will be hosting a reception from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. for Tyler McDonald whose photographs are on exhibit with Bruce Hitchcock (the reception for Bruce will be later in November). The Museum is located at 105 West Broadway in Everglades City and open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m). There is no admission charge but donations are welcome. For information, phone 695-0008.
After more than a year of renovations, repairs and new paint, the Everglades Historical Bed & Breakfast with Spa will be hosting an open house in the old Bank of the Everglades building on Friday, October 28, from 6 to 9 pm. Patty Bowen and her daughter Taylor Caple have been working hard to get ready for the upcoming season. There are seven newly renovated bedrooms filled with antiques, a dining area in the old vault, a room for spa services, and a gift shop featuring hand-made products by area locals. Everyone is invited to the Grand Opening on October 28. Refreshments will be served. For more information on accommodations and the facility, visit website www.EvergladesHistoricalBedandBreakfast.com.
To find out more about what’s happening in the Everglades area, visit website www.evergladesmulletrapper.com.
Patricia Huff has lived in Everglades City for the past 16 years and is the Pub lisher of the local newspaper The Mullet Rapper.