Saturday, July 12, 2008

It Was Nice, Even Though It Was Closed...

Well, what did I expect for the afternoon of the 4th of July! But I stopped by the Anna Maria Island Museum anyhow, and had a fine time. The museum itself is in one of those types of historic buildings I like, the ones that don't look like anything in particular, until you know the back-story. According to the historical marker, it was built in 1920 as an ice house, the "was subsequently used as city hall, the police department, a firehouse and the Turtle House" before being renovated in 1992 as the historical society's museum.

Here's the view from inside:

Again, the historical marker was helpful here, reporting that the jail was built in 1927 to handle overly happy guests of a local tavern. At the time, the jail did have bars, but no window glass, and it seems the mosquitoes had a "sobering effect." A fire in 1940 burned the wooden parts of the jail building, leaving the concrete/tabby parts to become a local tourist attraction.

Another historic building at the museum is the Belle Haven Cottage, built in 1920 in the bay next to the City Pier (click here for a historic postcard showing the cottage in its original location). Evidently the house's piers rotted and it fell into the water after just six years. Lyman Christy bought the cottage and had it barged around tot he other side of the island. He fixed it up and it was home for him and his wife Wanda for nearly 50 years. Then in 2001, the house was moved again, this time to the museum site. So say the historic markers. I like the flower bed border of mismatched plates.

For more information about the Anna Maria Island Historical Society and their museum, here's a link to their website. Do as I say, and not as I do, and go visit them when they're open!

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