Visions of the Past (2016): A Walk Through History in the Preserve
(Right) After the Civil
War in the late 1800's,
veterans began to
homestead land on
Estero Island.
(Above) Pirates such as the one shown here often
stayed on Estero Island while in hiding during the
1920's Pioneers are shown here. He is a
descendant of first settler, Sam Ellis, in 1870.  
(Left) The Koreshans,
a communal sect,
owned much of Estero
Island at one time in
the early 1900's.
Fort Myers Beach
Lee County, Florida
To protect, enhance, and educate about the Preserve
Over 150 time travelers went back in time on February 27th, 2016, on guided walks to see the Calusa,
Spanish, Pirate, Homesteaders, Koreshans, and Pioneers.  A first this year was that visitors could
signed up digitally in advance for tours. Once again this year, the program involved directed walks
through the Preserve stopping at each of six different stations where re-enactors presented
information on the various groups that have called Estero Island home.
(Left) The Calusa
were a powerful
tribe that
inhabited SW
Florida including
Estero Island
until the 1600's
when diseases
brought by the
Spanish killed
them off.
Spanish explorers searching for gold and the
Fountain of Youth visited Estero Island. In fact,
Ponce de Leon was killed by the Calusas near here.
Many thanks to our sponsors this year:
  • Lee Country Parks and Recreation
  • Mango Street Inn
  • Good Time Charters
  • Friends of Matanzas Pass Preserve
  • Red Coconut RV Resort
  • Estero Island Historic Society
  • Florida Master Naturalist Program
  • Florida Native Plant Society Cocoloba Chapter
  • Skye's Restaurant

Positioned in the Preserve were our story tellers: Donna Rizzo, Chloe Stam and Jeanne Thompson
(Calusas), Glen Upton and Tom Crosby (Spanish 1), Rose and Faye Garcia (Spanish 2), Jon Paul Van
Harpen (Pirate), Jim Rodwell and Miffy Greer (Homesteaders), Carla and Alan Mandel and Mary Ann
Wesley (Koreshans) and AJ Bassett and Jack Underhill (Pioneers).

Providing additional information were our guides: Terry Cain, Pat Feinstein, Mick Curtis, Tree Andre, Gini
Smith, and Mike Leising. A native plant sale was provided by the Cocoloba Chapter of the Florida Native
Plant Society.  Dan Andre cooked up his special jerk chicken sandwiches.  Our Peace Pole was featured
as well with a special meditation available.

Other volunteers were Tim Murphy, Vicki Little, Diane Jones, Betty Simpson, Kathy Light, and a Park
Ranger, Vanessa Allen and several of the Parks and Recreation staff who care for the Preserve (Dan
Curran and Paul Yacobelli). And many thanks to Andrew Payne (Lee County Parks and Recreation) for his
coordinating help.

Dorothy Rodwell chaired this year's event.