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Goodland Mullet Festival held annually the weekend before superbowl

A Journey Back In Time
The Historical Move of Homes and Families from Caxambas

by Betty Bruno of Goodland, Florida

Why is it that Goodland dates its history from 1949 if it is 5,000 years old? The first thing that comes to mind is . . . we cannot remove all the dwellings, build shell mounds, wear loin cloths or feast on clams, oysters, fish and shrimp as the Calusa Indians did when they inhabited this particular site.

The second thing that is certain prior to 1949, that you could count on one hand the dwelling places in Goodland, when the Collier's leveled the rolling shell mounds (some 16 feet high) and the kitchen middens to make way for streets. The Barron Collier Co. agreed to move houses it owned at no cost to the occupants if they bought property in Goodland. The property was bought at a 'very fair rate' by the occupant to be paid back to the Barron Collier Co. over a three year period. Up to that time most of the people lived rent free in houses purchased by Barron Collier.

A professional Ft. Myers moving firm loaded the houses on big trucks, with everything remaining in the house, and transported them to Goodland. In many cases the house was 'straightened' up in the morning, the occupant took what they needed for the day and at bedtime they went to sleep in a new location, with a new address, after paying the moving cost.

It was indeed a difficult transition . . . but like other pioneering areas it was no better and certainly no worse, as there was plenty of energetic "movers and shakers".

The future would always seem bright and fishing became a business as well as a pasttime. Stories from the children were the same as on the mainland or anywhere else. The shell mounds had supplied bases for the roads to the Hammock as well as to Marco, the swing bridge had spanned the waterway in 1936 and travel made simpler on the long trips to Ft Myers or Miami for commodities. Life moved along till the 1960 hurricane wiped out many belongings and these people became survivors to rebuild and restore. Among the first families still living in Goodland are two granddaughters of W.T. Collier, the modern day founder of Marco. They are: Dorothy Thomasson and Kathleen Pattison, wife of George "Pat" Pattison; Kappy Stephens Kirk is the niece of Tommie Stephens Barfield whose name is familiar to everyone in the movement of Marco Island. Kappy retired as Postmaster of the Goodland post office in 1985 after 34 years of service with the post office; John Stephens is a cousin to Kappy; Ruth Rimes, granddaughter of Samuel Pettit and daughter of Harry Pettit were native Goodlander Residents.

In this little wind-swept, sun-soaked square mile nearly surrounded by water, with only one road into the village, and boats everywhere, located on the southeast corner of the island we are celebrating another time, interrupting the stillness and sounds of lapping water and memories of the past that is very much part of the present. You discover Goodland when you discover the people, Goodland is it's people.

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