LABELLE, FL. --The LaBelle Heritage Museum closed on the purchase of the 1911 William H. Poole building at 360 North Bridge Street on the 14th of February, 2011. Over the years the Hendy county building has served not only as the Poole store and residence but also as a church, the O'Ferrell "Honey House," and, more recently, the office of LaBelle Real Estate Company prior to former Mayor of LaBelle Sharon Craichy's illness and death.
According to Museum president Joe Thomas, the building will be remodeled to fit the needs of LaBelle Heritage Museum -- housing museum exhibits on the first floor and using the second floor for office space and research purposes. The property is large enough that plans are to move the H. A. Rider home and office building and set them up as "snapshots in time" -- a home representative of the seond quarter of the 20th century and a small town lawyer's office.
The rotary steam turbine that Edward Christopher Warren, an associate of the renowned Niola Tesla, designed and installed in the Herreshoff yacht Navette, built for J. P. Morgan in 1901, after he purchased it in 1938 will also be moved at the same time the Rider structures are.
"360 North Bridge Street is more visible and accessible than the museum's current location," said Thomas. "And also has the advantage of being in one of the few areas in LaBelle where people walk because they want to walk. More people will see the LaBelle Heritage Museum as they stroll by and, hopefully, will become museum visitors if the museum can increase the hours it is open," Thomas added.
For the time being, however, LaBelle Heritage Museum will remain at 150 South Lee Street. Still needed are Friends of the LaBelle Heritage Museum to volunteer to serve as docents on Thursday and Friday afternoons. Please contact the Museum if you are willing to volunteer to become a docent.