Historic Preservation in Charlotte County

Historic Punta Gorda Train Depot

The Lemon Bay Historical Society will held its January public program at 7 p.m. on Tuesday the 23rd at the Historic Green Street Church Museum at 416 W. Green Street in Englewood.

Gene Murtha, President of the Punta Gorda History Center and Margaret Bogartus, President of the Punta Gorda Historical Society gave a power point presentation about the dedicated efforts and wonderful successes made in the name of historic preservation in Charlotte County.

They discussed the history of the beautifully preserved Train Depot as well as the Woman’s Club which opened in 1925 and was at one time the area’s first community library. They also talked about History Park, a unique collection of historic buildings with a past including the Maxwell Price House. Price was an architect best known for designing the Punta Gorda jail house, just to name a few.


December 12th
7:00 PM
at the Historic
Green Street Church

From “fish ranches” to phosphate shipping; from the “Grand Plan” with Grand Hotels to Boom and Bust and Boom again – learn about one of Southwest Florida’s first planned communities: Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island.


Betsy Fugate Joiner, director of the Boca Grande Historical Society, will share some stories about her life growing up in Boca Grande. She is a 3rd generation member of the Fugate Family of Boca Grande (you may know of Fugate’s Drug Store and Delmar Fugate’s Pink Elelphant). She is also a 4th generation Florida Cracker. Her father was actually born on Banyan Street in 1912. Her mother, Margaret was a teacher at Boca Grande High School, beginning in 1939 and then moved to Lemon Bay School in 1963 as Librarian and Spanish teacher when the school closed.


In addition, Betsy is Chair of the Boca Grande History Byte program which is held each season in February on Wednesday mornings at the Johann Fust Library.  The “Byte” program began with Sallie Van Italie’s idea in 2009 about having people share their stories in an informal setting.


Betsy is also General Manager at PJ’s Seagrille in Boca Grande, located inside the Historic San Marco Theatre Building.


Also speaking will be Pat Agles, Director of the Boca Grande Historical Society who will give a presentation on how the Society came about and where they are today. Pat, a founding member of the Boca Grande Historical Society, was owner of Galleria of Boca Grande from 1993-2005. She is Director of Product Development and licensing for the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village and is also Chair of the docent program at St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral Basilica in Santa Fe, NM. There she is a Team Member/Artist for the restoration of the Cathedral’s interior murals for a Celebration with the King of Spain.


We also expect a visit from Karen Grace, BGHS President. Karen & husband Jim are past owners of the historic Temptation Restaurant.

A Bit About the Boca Grande Historical Society:

“Four couples began the BGHS in 1995. It was the sesquicentennial of our state. To announce our founding, we had a fun historical/hysterical skit at the railroad depot on the train tracks. After a crowd gathered, we announced the news and the society was born. We operated for awhile in the Van Itallies kitchen. The island was growing quickly and we knew the importance of collecting stories/oral histories and photographs before these treasures disappeared.

“We are still active in the business of collecting these priceless histories and making them more easily available for viewing to our community. We invite all to come for a visit or perhaps a docent led walking/golf cart tour of our historic village of Boca Grande.”

WEBSITE: bocagrandehistoricalsociety.com


September 26 7:00 PM Society Meeting, Historic Green St. Museum, 416 W. Green St. Nominating Committee Election.

Carol Leonard from Coastal Wildlife Club, Turtle Patrol will be sharing her experiences with turtles, as well as important information on how the public can help the turtle population. She will also answer audience questions.

Carol has degrees in Zoology and Marine Science Education and is a retired Lemon Bay High School teacher. She is a past President of the Florida Marine Science Education Assoc.


D L Havlin

Author, speaker, international traveler, ship captain and retired business Owner D L Havlin will be our Guest Speaker

Tuesday, March 28th at 7pm at the Historic Green Street Church.


“My books are stories about life; about how great and how testing it can be.  Writing at my ‘mature’ age is an advantage when discussing living; I’ve experienced it and don’t have to utilize conjecture.  History is often my brick-mason for it can provide a building in which my story can live and breathe.  Writing fantasy, sci-fi, or other work requiring that there be no reality fences, I cede to the young author where the lack of restricting rationale is beneficial.”

DL currently lives in southwest Florida with his wife Jeanelle, his golden retriever Sandy, and cat Oreo. He loves the outdoors (fishing is his passion), music, football, and cooking.


Florida Folklore wi­th a Lemon Bay Twist

Lemon Bay Historical ­Society welcomes Carol Mahle­r as the guest speake­r Tuesday, February 2­8 at 7 p.m. at the Hi­storic Green Street C­hurch Museum, 416 Wes­t Green Street, Engle­wood.

The title of Ca­rol’s presentation is­ “Florida Folklore wi­th a Lemon Bay Twist”­ that will educate an­d entertain the audie­nce with tales of Flo­rida Crackers, Semino­le Indian traditions ­and the history of th­e lemon Bay area.

Car­ol Mahler is a profes­sional storyteller wh­o serves as the coord­inator of the Desota ­County Historical Soc­iety’s Reseach Librar­y and Museum.

The pro­gram is free and ligh­t refreshments will b­e served.

More about Carol:

Carol Mahler has served as humanities scholar, discussion leader, and project director for programs, funded by the Florida Humanities Council and other organizations, focusing on literature and Florida history. (Her nieces and nephews know that she reads every word of a museum exhibit.) She has taught writing and literature classes in schools, colleges, parks, recreation centers, churches, a prison, and other locations. Her poems have been published in various magazines, and her poetry collection, “How Do I Follow?”, was published in 2012 by the Peace River Press. She writes an occasional “History Mystery” column as well as other articles for the weekly “Arcadian” newspaper (published in Arcadia, Florida), plus she writes and edits articles, newsletters, and books for the DeSoto County Historical Society. Her children’s book, “Adventures in the Charlotte Harbor Watershed,” published by the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, is annually distributed to students in the third, fourth, or fifth grade in seven counties

Jean Airey Tribute

Nancy Jean Airey: January 23, 1943 – May 6, 2016

By Bret Shawn Clark, Compiled by Don Bayley

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – Fam­ily and friends of Nancy Jean Airey gath­ered Sat­ur­day after­noon (July 9, 2016) at the Green Street Church, the site of many of the stage pro­duc­tions of her plays, to pay trib­ute to Airey, a pro­lific writer, musi­cian, his­to­rian, com­mu­nity orga­nizer, men­tor to local authors, web­mas­ter to non-profits and friend to a num­ber of causes which, much like she her­self was to the Engle­wood com­mu­nity, near and dear to her heart.

The gath­er­ing fea­tured those wish­ing to express their thoughts at the pass­ing of a stal­wart Engle­wood res­i­dent, in word as well as song, from the wide array of orga­ni­za­tions and peo­ple whose lives she enriched by her life­time of good deeds and con­tri­bu­tions to the cul­ture of this sleepy sea­side town, includ­ing those from Engle­wood Pio­neer Days, the Sun­coast Writ­ers Guild (together with “Englewood’s Lit­tle “Band” of Writ­ers who per­formed works from one of her plays), Lemon Bay His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety, and Friends of the Elsie Quirk Library.

Gui­tarist and vocal­ist Linda Lou Lewis of the afore­men­tioned Lit­tle Band described what it was like to work with Airey in mix­ing music into her stage plays, adding that Jean Airey was “the best col­lab­o­ra­tive part­ner I ever had.” Roy Ault of the Writ­ers Guild gave a heart­felt thank you to the woman who helped him to become a pub­lished author, while Kari Burgess spoke of her adven­tures in act­ing with Jean as the direc­tor of mate­r­ial that she her­self also authored.

Jean Airey with Carolyn Pope Anderson at the Lemon Bay Historical Society’s Green Street Church Museum.

Erick Phelps, coor­di­na­tor of the Engle­wood Pio­neer Days parade, of which Jean Airey was an inte­gral part, said that one of the things about her that he will miss most was her “prin­ci­pled focus on what needed to be done” for the Engle­wood com­mu­nity, includ­ing events such as Pio­neer Days, the orga­niz­ers of which, accord­ing to Phelps, had to recruit three peo­ple to take over the work she did for the committee.

Her wid­ower, William Airey, told yet another reveal­ing story about his late wife, who years ear­lier had orga­nized a fund raiser for the Heart Asso­ci­a­tion (fea­tur­ing come­dian Paul Lind) at which heart sur­geons from around the coun­try gath­ered, and how Jean, an avid reader with an ever-present thirst for knowl­edge, had stud­ied so much about heart surgery that he half expected her to some­day be called upon do a lit­tle bit of surgery her­self. Even while not­ing that his late wife would not approve of such a fuss being made over her, he thanked the gath­ered assem­bly on her behalf, and let each and every­one know that she very much appre­ci­ated what they them­selves had con­tributed to the Engle­wood com­mu­nity she so loved.

Jean’s book is on sale at Lemon Bay Historical Society events.

In addi­tion to work­ing with the Writ­ers Guild, His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety, Elsie Quirk Library, and Pio­neer Days, Jean Airey has also been asso­ci­ated, in one capac­ity or another, with the annual Cracker Fair, Lemon Bay Play­house, Big Brothers/Big Sis­ters, and EARS, among many other groups, indi­vid­u­als and causes.

Jean Airey was a con­trib­u­tor to Engle­wood Edge, occa­sion­ally under her byline but most often anony­mously pro­mot­ing the His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety activ­i­ties and Pio­neer Days.

She will be sorely missed.

SOURCE: https://www.englewoodedge.com/2016/07/10/nancy-jean-airey-january-23-1943-may-6-2016/#more-73545



(Click for larger view)

Open Mic Event

Thanks to All For Making Our Open-Mic Night a Great Success!

Jean Evans Joyce writes:

“The Open Mike Event tonight was an unbelievable amount of hometown talent! We had 13 individuals or groups come out to show us their talent. These were all original songs that they wrote and performed. 
Both 1st and 2nd places winners turned around and donated the cash prizes back to Lemon Bay Historical Society for Our Green Street Church. What a wonderful night !!”

Here are just a few pictures from the performance…


1st Place….Jack Mosley. Winning $50 cash prize donated by Suncoast Writers Guild.
3rd Place ….Went to youngest performer tonight Luca Gracia. Luca won a Lemon Bay Historical Society t-shirt.
2nd Place ….”Sweet Fever” (Chris Golly, Andrew Garcia and James Salaway) They won a $25 cash prize donated by The Englewood Little Band of Writers.


Thanks to All For Making Our Open-Mic Night a Great Success!

When Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for “poetic expression in the American song-writer tradition”, song-writers all over Englewood held their heads a little higher.

On January 24th at 7pm, they got the chance to share their songs for a good cause – namely The Historic Green Street Church and Museum at 416 W. Green St. This local landmark offers an intimate venue with unique architecture that contributes to great acoustics. The building is owned by the Lemon Bay Historical Society and all proceeds from this event will go toward the building’s preservation and maintenance.

All singer-song-writers were welcome. Songs had to be original and family-friendly. Audience members were encouraged to “vote” for their favorites with cash donations and there were prizes for the songs that raised the most money.

Among the prizes sponsored by local organizations and businesses, was a $50 cash award sponsored by the Suncoast Writers Guild, Inc. “Songwriters are among the many kinds of writers our guild encourages.” Said Kari Burgess, the guild’s President.

In 2009 members of this local writers group formed a band and called themselves Englewood’s Little Band of Writers (ELBOW). They are frequent performers at the Green Street Church, leading community sing-alongs and adding music to original productions.

“There are so many singer-song-writers in our community,” said Linda Lou Lewis, founding member of ELBOW. They are performing at local restaurants, gathering for weekly jam sessions. Some are singing at church or with family and some just sit alone in their living rooms and sing their songs.”

This event was a chance for us all to get together, share and celebrate what we do. It was also a chance for the community to hear some great homegrown “American” music while they help to preserve a piece of Englewood history.

(Photos courtesy Jean Evans Joyce)

Samantha Gentrup‎ writes:
“A fabulous open-mic night to raise money for Green Street Church Historical Building.”
She posted these photos…