It’s no secret that upon my first visit to Goodland, I recognized it to be a very unique place, unmatched in its beauty and rich history. As I left the main road and first arrived on this little island, the feeling of being transported back in time was so overwhelming that it was elemental in my decision to leave Ohio and move here in search of a better life.
It’s hard to describe the pride I feel when others get to see my beloved home as I do, but recently I had an opportunity to witness just that at a reception celebrating the opening of the new art exhibit titled “Architectural Water Colors of Historic Goodland.” On Tuesday, Nov. 4, visitors came to the Marco Island Historical Museum to see Goodland represented in water color paintings and pen and ink sketches by local artist Donald Sunshine, a retired architect and Virginia Tech professor.
Among the attendees showing their support were some very proud Goodland residents, who were thrilled to see the familiar historical architecture they knowso well now immortalized and on display for the world to see. Their smiles and excitement made apparent the fact that they felt the same as I do about Goodland.
“I grew up here, so I am very happy to see this. I think it’s an honorable presentation of our little fishing village, one of the last still functioning on this coast,” said Tara O’Neill, a local artist who lives on Marco but grew up in Goodland. “And he did my house, which was the original cistern of the island. I’m very much an advocate for the preservation of these fabulous historical structures.”
While working on this project, Donald said he began to wonder what would become of Goodland amidst the anticipated growth and development impacting the surrounding areas. According to Collier County Parks and Recreation, Goodland has more historic structures per square mile than anywhere else in the county. The 17 represented in this exhibit are displayed alongside historical commentary by local author Betsy Perdichizzi.
“Of course, there will be changes, we’ve already seen some, but Ithink overall the mindset will stay the same. Goodland is zoned as a fishing village with rules that would drive some people on Marco crazy. They love to visit, and God bless them for that, but those aren’t the people that buy here,” said O’Neill.
Goodland resident and Goodland Arts Alliance member Pam DeSmit recalled a bit of wisdom passed on to her when she moved here: “‘Some people belong in Goodland, and some people don’t”…It’s a great little place to live, and this exhibit is amazing. I love it!”
In my quest to know the history of my home, I’ve found that the fight to stave off development and character-altering change has understandably made this place seem like a well-kept secret, known only to those lucky enough to live here or by chance visit. But sometimes it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who wants to shout it from the rooftops: Goodland is great!
For more information about “Architectural Water Colors of Historic Goodland” contact the Marco Island Historical Society at 239-642-1440 or 239-389-6447. The exhibit will be located in the museum at 180 S. Heathwood Drive on Marco Island.
And speaking of local art, please don’t forget to check out the GCA’s Annual Holiday Bazaar, Nov. 15 and 16, 10 AM-4 PM at Margood Harbor Park in Goodland. You don’t want to miss this unique, island-style holiday shopping experience, with two full days of great music, delicious food and more brilliant local art. Hope to see you there!
Melinda Gray studied journalism and political science at Youngstown State University in Ohio. Before relocating, she wrote for The Vindicator and The Jambar in Youngstown, and is currently a contributing writer for an emergency preparedness website. Melinda now lives in Goodland with her two children. She can be contacted at email@example.com or 239-896-0426