Marco’s Steve Lindburg, the publisher of a new Facebook page, Growing Up Marco Island, didn’t grow up on Marco himself, he moved to the island in 1996 from Lincoln, Nebraska.
He’d been visiting here since the late 80s. He and a friend were driving to Southwest Florida prior to meeting their wives in Miami for a cruise until they stopped in Sanibel. Lindburg told his friend, “This is not my kind of place. It’s kind of like Georgia with all of these pine trees.”
He remembered that his mom and dad had mentioned this place they had visited called Marco Island. So, he and his friend decided to drive down and check it out.
“We drove over the top of the bridge and just smiled at each other,” Lindburg said, “because we are a couple of guys who love the tropical environment and everything that goes along with it. And that was it. We were here all the time.”
Though Lindburg considers himself a relative newcomer to the island, he saw a need for a Facebook page like the one he visits that deals with his hometown of Lincoln.
“I stumbled onto a page from my hometown,” Lindburg said. “That’s where I got the name and idea. I went on that page and looked at it. A lot of things (in Lincoln) were gone. And people were into great discussions about their memories and things. My dad was a builder and had built a lot of things in Lincoln, and a lot of them were gone. I had taken a lot of pictures of things he had built and made a book of them for him. I pulled that out when I saw that page and I posted some things I thought were special that were gone.
“I was shocked at the response. How people came together over that. And they’d start talking to each other about it; adding to the conversation. It would get into a deeper story. And it led to me finding people who I had lost contact with. I was just amazed at how much positive energy came from it. I thought, ‘You know what? I’m going to do that down here. I see all these other sites. It’s all just negativity.’”
Lindburg wants to make sure folks who are interested in joining his page understand the ground rules going in. The group is a history/memory group for people that have history here, no current events, ads or discussion about present-day Marco.
“There’s a lot of people trying to snag business. I don’t want any of that. I want to keep it clean. I have no personal agenda except to do good. I haven’t said a peep about my business. And if anybody puts anything like that on there, it’s going to be taken off. Because that’s part of the rules. I just want it to be a positive site and nothing else. We don’t want a wave of people wanting to join that are not interested in these guidelines.
“I know there’s always going to be differences. The people who were here first really don’t like modern Marco, and I understand that. I grew up in the summers on a lake in Nebraska and we had a lot of the same freedoms. Things have changed a lot. It’s not like it used to be. So the people who were here first have a lot of feelings that way. The newer generation who came after it was developed, like myself, to see a lot of positives about the island. The good intentions the Mackle Brothers had, everything I read about them, they were good people.”
Lindburg has seen his page grow during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s growing pretty fast. It gives me a daily history. There’s been 100 new members this week. It’s starting to spread. Right now it’s at 394. I think it will keep growing. I’m going to run out of material because of my limited time on the island. I figure it will eventually feed itself. It actually was a good time to start this because people have so much time on their hands. I put on a post suggesting that people dig out their photos and start putting them on. A lot of people have answered that call. I’m just tickled that people have dug out those pictures and are putting them on. I’m just kind of the instigator.”