Copyright Rosemary Carlson 2017
And not the Post Office above! The Post Office you’re looking at in the picture is the original post office on Pine Island, built in 1902. I didn’t mean to visit it today, although I meant to visit it eventually. I just meant to go to the new Post Office, near St. James City on Pine Island, to mail something and pick up mail. I asked the postal service worker if the post office was open on Saturday. He said no and proudly explained to me that only one post office on the island is open on Saturday and that is the original Pine Island Post Office in Pineland, another community on the island. He instructed (instructed?) me to run on down to Pineland, another small Pine Island Community, and take a look since he knew I was new to the island. How could I refuse?
Off I went to Pineland, just about a ten mile drive. I turned off the main Pine Island road and found myself with palm tree farms on one side of the road and a mango plantation on the other side of the road, both crops grown on Pine Island and with stories of their own. After driving about three miles and fearing I was lost, I rounded a curve and literally had to screech to a halt. There, in front of me, practically in the middle of the road was the building you see above.
So I went inside. This little building could tell a lot of stories. It is only there because in the late 1800s there was a freeze that took out most of the orange groves in northern Florida. Many grove owners moved south and bought land to establish new groves. A grove owner, Minta Moore, came to Pine Island in 1902 when only about three dozen people lived here. That family bought acreage for orange groves and established the first Pine Island post office in a community they established and called Pineland. The original lockboxes are still in that little building and they are combination boxes.
The postal service worker is new. She, like me, came to Pine Island on vacation. She’s from Delaware. She loved it so much that she applied for a job at two of the Pine Island post offices. The little old post office at Pineland hired her. She was thrilled to move here. She, like me, has no family in the area. No friends in the area. Like me, she felt the magic of Pine Island. So do many people here.
We like to keep it a secret so I’m only telling you.