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Newsletter: June 2021

Gulf Breeze Area Historical Society (GBAHS) June 2021 Newsletter Volume 34

President's Letter

Dear GBAHS Members,

I am very excited to be writing to you as we begin our 32nd year of the Historical Society. And, we are very thankful to have one of the founding Members, Trish Briska, as a Member and faithful attendee at our monthly meetings and usually accompanied by Betty Burell.

This Thursday, June 17 will be our General Membership Meeting, at 6 pm in the Clay Ford Room of the Gulf Breeze Community Center (800 Shoreline Drive). We will have the Induction of our Officers and Board for the 2021-2022 year. Also, there will be historic photos on display for you to browse through.

We are also excited to announce that there will be NO MORE STORAGE SPACE FEES on our monthly expense report!!! “THANK YOU” to Rusty and Louella Conn and their grandsons, Oliver and Isaak Bane, all of Gulf Breeze. Joining them was Bill Conn, Rusty’s brother from Colorado Springs, CO. On Thursday, June 10, all items remaining at our Soundside Storage climate-controlled unit were carefully packed up and moved over to the Benson House.

We do want to thank Bill Godwin, owner and manager of Soundside Storage (4121 Gulf Breeze Parkway) for the many years he rented this space to us at a reduced rate. Volunteers and benefactors, such as the Conn family and businessman, Bill Godwin, are why we are able to continue the work and mission of the Historical Society. If you are interested in volunteering your time and talents, or would like to join the Society, please visit our website, for more information.

Have a safe, healthy and joy-filled summer! Barbara Udit President, GBAHS Board of Directors

Question of the Month

When did Gulf Breeze acquire its first library and what other book lending facilities became available before the current library was built?

Answer: The establishment of a library in Gulf Breeze has been 44 years in development and is on- going. The first library was a private one operated by the members of Saint Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church in 1962. It was open to the public and was located in the Soderlind cottage at Highway 98 and Pfeiffer Street owned by Mark and E. Louise Benson. The bookmobile from Pensacola was the next library. The first Gulf Breeze city library was located at the city hall on Hoffman Drive and opened in January 1970. It was relocated to the Bilby Building on Fairpoint Drive and opened there in March 1974. The first librarians were Betty Spier and Eleanor Arnold.

The present library was built in 1975 at 1060 Shoreline Drive as a branch operated by the West Florida Regional Library system. The second addition to the library was built in 1981.

The library system is now a department of the SRC Board of County Commissioners, who approved the establishment of a county library system independent from the West Florida Regional Library.

Many changes have been made as the years go by. The circulation and library catalog software, new equipment, and new books and materials on the shelves are constantly updated.

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