Good to Be Back!

For the Captiva Island Historical Society and its 120 plus guests, Saturday, January 21st provided a little ray of hope and break from recovery, as the CIHS presented a double feature of film documentaries.

Due to the wrath of Ian and its disruption of life on the islands, the CIHS was originally compelled to cancel the season schedule of eight programs for 2022-2023.  However, since then, buoyed by the remarkable recovery progress on our islands, the resourcefulness of its event committee, and the support from the island community, the CIHS is now pleased to present an abbreviated season of historically educational and entertaining programs.  Saturday’s presentation of “The Domain of the Calusa” and “Buck Key: Island of History & Mystery” was the first of three monthly programs.

As the guests congregated on the Captiva Civic Center patio for snacks and drinks, it was evident folks were there not only for a taste of island history, but for much needed sociability: to be with island neighbors and to experience a small sample of normalcy.

Captiva's Rich Stegmann and Sanibel's Ellen Mayeron

CIHS President Tom Libonate extended a warm welcome to the full house audience, and a big thank you the CIHS Board of Directors, who even though faced with their own reIMG_1892 copy.JPGcovery issues, continued to work to ensure the CIHS could continue its mission of preserving and sharing Captiva history as rapidly as possible.

After Mr. Libonate’s brief opening remarks, the CIHS paid its respects to the memory and contributions of Cynthia “Cindy” Sargent who passed away last October.  A founding member of the Captiva History Project and the Captiva Island Historical Society, the  Captiva community was saddened by Cindy’s passing.  Jim Pigott, founding President of the CIHS and friend of Cindy, shared his memories, emphasizing she will always be IMG_0791 copy.jpegremembered and appreciated for her dedication to the well-being of the island, its arts and culture, and her interest in preserving the island’s colorful history. 

CIHS President Tom Libonate introduces founding President Jim Pigott to share his memories of Cindy Sargent

The first film presented, an award-winning documentary produced by the Florida Museum, “The Domain of the Calusa,” chronicles South Florida’s Calusa Indians: the native coastal Indians of southwest Florida, and their powerful, complex, and artistic Native American society which few Americans are familiar.

During intermission, celebrated charter captain, Florida Master Naturalist and CIHS Director, Captain Brian Holaway, shared his extensive knowledge and insight of the Calusa, while answering audience questions.

The second film, “Buck Key: Island of History & Mystery,” produced by the Captiva Island Historical Society in 2018, is the surprising story of unoccupied Buck Key, its Calusa occupants and the early community and plantations that foreshadowed Captiva’s settlement.

The CIHS returns to the Captiva Civic Center for its video replay presentation of “Sentimental Journey,” a salute to the WW II years on Captiva through imagery, narrative, and song, originally presented on December 7, 2021, commemorating the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  Click here for details and reservations.

As in past seasons, the CIHS is grateful to the Sanibel Captiva Trust Company for their financial support.  This community focused organization has supported the CIHS for many years helping it produce its programs.


Photo credit: CIHS Directors Nancy Riley and Captain Brian Holaway


Bridging the Past and the Present