Sunday, October 17, 2021

Capri: Then and Now

Rookery Bay plays an integral role in conservation of Southwest Florida. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Rookery Bay plays an integral role in conservation of Southwest Florida. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

By Joan Kelly 


The Capri Association had been in operation for many years in the 70’s. The association sent out a newsletter to residents to tell them who moved onto the island, who was building and environmental news, among other things. The issue I read was from April, 1971 and will recapture just a little of the news of the day.

Rookery Bay was a big topic of discussion covering over half of the issue. The editors, Ver Lynn and Eleanor Sprague, were very excited about the Viewpoint article in the Miami Herald about the latest projects in Rookery Bay.

There was great concern about the birds coexisting with the high-rise buildings. Can Collier County have rapid growth and development and still protect the environment?

There was already a Collier County Conservancy movement that began in 1964 with the help of the Audubon Society. Both groups were aware of the ecological value of the Ten Thousand Islands and Rookery Bay, consisting of 30 square miles in 1971. The Conservancy purchased about 23,000 acres.

Capri residents were encouraged to donate to the Conservancy.

Paul Winchell’s general store face lift was in the news with a bait shop, marina and friendly hangout. He added frozen meats and quick meals for unexpected guests. Paul asserted, “They’re mighty good and I even eat them myself.”

From the description of the store, all items were arranged in a haphazard fashion with paper towels, canned goods, fuses, Draino, peanut butter and cooking oil in close juxtaposition.

Award winning Nita Platosh, a jewelry craftsman, artist and designer, lived on Pago Pago. She was offered a commission from Marshall Fields for a huge order but refused it because she was interested in creating one-of-a-kind pieces in silver and gold.

There were a number of new visitors and residents listed in the paper. Gus and Wilma Moenkhaus moved into their new home.


Rookery Bay is a vital part of the community with ongoing activities throughout the summer.

Educational programs for children under the age of 12 run from July to August 10th. It is called Whales Tales.

Adult lectures series are all summer long. The next one is June 27th Dolphins and Whales. Wine and cheese are served in the gallery. Registration is necessary, $10 non members $8 members. There are more lectures. Call 239-417-6317 or visit www. and check the calendar.

Does anyone have a photo of Paul Winchell’s store? Please contact Coastal Breeze News at 239-393-4991 or val@

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *