The sound of progress; The Sanibel schoolhouse bell is back

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo Writer: Elyssa Morataya
Published: Updated:

The sound of resilience rang through the Sanibel historical village as neighbors gathered Tuesday morning to watch as crews returned the Sanibel schoolhouse bell to its rightful place.

“Over a year and a half, we are finally installing the bell that blew off during Hurricane Ian,” said John McGrath, board member of the Sanibel Historic Museum.

Hurricane Ian hit Sanibel hard, and the island is making slow but steady progress.

“Oh my gosh, this is just so wonderful,” said Jewel Jenson, a Sanibel local. “And we’re just so happy that the island is rebounding and it’s just the best place in the world.”

The people here believe every step forward is a victory, and that’s what this bell symbolizes.

“Step in that forward progression the rebuild of the island and to be able to save historic buildings like this,” said Kevin Barbot, fire chief of the Sanibel Fire and Rescue district.

All the kids wanted to be the first to ring the bell. so the mayor figured the only fair way to do it was to pick a name from a basket.

Jensen’s four-year-old grandson, Theo was chosen and he couldn’t have been any happier.

Built in 1896, The schoolhouse is the oldest building in the historic village. These buildings help tell the story of the island’s history.

Community members were able to sign the bell and ring it once it was put back up making the schoolhouse officially back open to enjoy.

One of the honored traditions at any school is ringing the bell to start the day.

Now you can go on a tour of the Sanibel historical village and ring it anytime you like!

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