Priscilla Murphy Center Closer To Local Register

SC Staff Report

There are few buildings outside the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village recognized on the Local Register of Historic Landmarks. But The Priscilla Murphy Center on Periwinkle Way may be one of them very soon – the first in nearly two decades.

The Priscilla Murphy Center at 1019 Periwinkle Way has been nominated for the Local Register of Historical Landmarks. If approved, it will be the first structure placed on the list since March 2003. SC photo by Shannen Hayes

Sanibel City Council unanimously voted Tuesday, Aug. 16 to have the first reading of a draft ordinance adding the yellow building that was once a home and office to Priscilla Murphy, best known as one of the first real estate agents on the island.

Murphy hailed from the suburbs of Detroit, Mich. She traveled to Sanibel many times before moving to the area and leaving a corporate job.

She eventually opened her real estate brokerage in the 1950s and it became one of the most enduring firms of its kind on the island. Today, part of the building is home to John R. Wood Properties, another real estate firm with a long history on the island.

And part of the building is the future home of Sanibel Captiva Community Bank’s second branch. It has been under renovations since earlier this year.

There are several advantages to placing a structure on the Local Register, in addition to recognizing its historical value to the community. They are entitled to modified enforcement of the building code and ensured visual access to privately owned historic resources.

The Murphy nomination has been before the Sanibel Historical Committee and Planning Commission, both which recommended approval. The draft ordinance will appear before council in September for a first reading.

If approved, the Murphy Center will be the first building placed on the list since Burnap Cottage, Rutland Home and Morning Glories, all part of the historical village, were added in March 2003.

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