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The Island’s Female Pioneers

The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village will honor some of the women who made history on Sanibel for Women’s History Month. In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month to honor the extraordinary achievements of American women.

Elinor Dormer will be one of nine female Sanibel pioneers who be featured in the village’s nine buildings.

A conservationist dedicated to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Dormer helped formulate the historical preservation section of Sanibel’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. She was instrumental in getting the Sanibel Lighthouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After the toll bridge was built, Dormer worked to preserve the island’s historical buildings and helped form the city’s Historical Preservation Committee. The group was the power behind the formation of the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village in 1984. Dormer authored “The Seashell Islands” in 1987 after interviews with island families and research into the origins of the island’s history. Her book has long been considered the quintessential book on the history of Sanibel. Dormer’s parents, Ross and Daisy Mayer, built the Sears kit home Shore Haven, in 1924 that serves as the museum’s welcome center.

The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village, located at 950 Dunlop Road, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.

Free guided tours are at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., based upon docent availability. Admission costs $10 for ages 18 and older; children and members are free.

For information, call 239-472-4648 or visit online at


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