provided to Santiva Chronicle
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Sanibel Historical Village has closed early for the off-season due to the current health pandemic. It will reopen Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturday.
Prior to 1926, the postal system on Sanibel was run out of the postmasters’ homes, which were located on the eastern end of the island. Will Reed served as postmaster for 40 years.
Reed operated out of his home until it was destroyed in the 1926 hurricane – the same storm that destroyed Bailey’s store on the wharf. Reed and island children gathered the floating wood, scraps from the buildings destroyed by the storm, and built the post office that resides in the Historical Village today. It is easy to tell when looking at the ceiling that the building is made out of odds and ends pieced together.
There have been several post offices on Sanibel. The first one appears to have been the Nutt home, Gray Gables, where Laetitia Nutt handled mail as post mistress from 1889 until 1895. She picked up the mail at the lighthouse pier. George Cooper also collected mail at St. James City on Pine Island. From 1891 to 1895 he dropped it off on his wife’s sewing machine at their home.
The third post office was the front porch of the bay-front, two-story Reed home, and Will Reed became postmaster, a job he held until 1940. Rural delivery was established in 1900 and the mail was delivered each day to Reed’s Landing, dropped off in a sack. His daughter, Hazel Reed Goddard, succeeded her father as post mistress.
Will Reed was a member of the 1910 Caloosahatchee Valley championship baseball team, the Sanibel Tomato Pickers.
The fifth post office was built on Ferry Road, run by Scotia Bryant; it soon proved too small.
The sixth, used until 1964, became a private home on Ferry Road.
The seventh is now a restaurant near the Cooper Home in the Old Sanibel Shoppes (The Over Easy).
Number eight is the present post office on Tarpon Bay Road.
There was also a post office in the Wulfert area operated by post mistress Jennie Doane in the early 1900s.