Bonita Springs Historical Society, Inc.



NOTE: Our monthly Show & Tell Membership Meetings for January to April are still on the third Monday of each Month, but the time has changed to the evenings at 6:00 PM and the location changed to the Bonita Springs Fire Station located at 27701 Bonita Grande Dr, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. The meetings will have a half hour or so presentation or guest speaker.

Friday, January 15, 2016: The Koreshanity - The Allure of Immortality

7 PM at the Lions Club (see 2016 Speaker Series below for more information) 

Monday, January 18, 2016: General Membership Meeting, 6 pm at the Bonita Springs Fire Station on Bonita Grande.

Come and see the interview with WWII veteran and survivor of the USS Indianapolis, Vic Bukett. Vic recently passed away after participating in the BSHS WWII veterans oral history project.

The sinking of the USS Indianapolis is considered one of the worst naval disasters in US naval history. For more info:

Monday, February 1, 2016:, Board Meeting, 10 am at Liles Hotel in Riverside Park

Monday, February 15, 2016: General Membership Meeting, 6 pm at the Bonita Springs Fire Station on Bonita Grande.

Andrew Jackson's Legacy: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

This special President's Day presentation will feature well known local historian and educator David Southall as guest speaker at its Monthly Show & Tell program. Southall will delve into the life and times of Andrew Jackson, 13 year old POW, military man, Seminole Indian fighter, First Military Governor of FLorida, U.S. Congressman and Senator, slave owner, bigamist, consummate politician, and 7th president of the United States. Where Jackson went, controversy followed.

Friday, February 19, 2016: The Mound House - The first 2000 years

7 PM at the Lions Club (see 2016 Speaker Series below for more information) 


Sunday, February 21, 2016: Sixth Annual Fish Fry, at the Lions Club

Please join us for the sixth annual Old Fashioned Fish Fry, co-sponsored by the Bonita Springs Lions Club and the Bonita Springs Historical Society. This fun filled event featuring scrumptious fare and superb bluegrass entertainment will be held on Sunday, February 21st, from noon 'til 4 PM at the Bonita Springs Lions Club located at 10346 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Tickets available for advance sale at the Liles Hotel and the Lions Club Thrift Store and below for twelve dollars. Otherwise, tickets can be purchased for fifteen dollars on the day of the event. Children under eleven eat for a mere five dollars. All tickets are a super value with complimentary drinks and desserts included.


As is tradition, the Old Fashioned Fish Fry will feature plenty of delicious fresh fish- first batter dipped, then deep fried to golden perfection.  To be served alongside will be the customary accompaniments of crispy hush puppies, creamy coleslaw, and slow cooked homemade baked beans.  Oh, so yummy!


Then, how better to round out your meal than with your choice from an array of delicious desserts, lovingly prepared from scratch by members of the Bonita Springs Historical Society?  Or, perhaps you’d prefer a scoop of dreamy ice cream, graciously provided by downtown merchant, For Heaven Shakes.  It’s practically divine!


So save your appetite and save the date!  Be sure to tell your friends.  The 6th annual Old Fashioned Fish Fry promises be a merry outing filled with good food, good company, and plenty of good ole’ wholesome fun.  And, according to a wise old proverb, “Laughter is always brightest where the food is best!”


*Proceeds are to benefit the Bonita Springs Historical Society*

For Advance Tickets:

Liles Hotel- 27300 Old 41 Road

Lions Club Thrift Store and Pancake Breakfast- 10322 Pennsylvania Avenue

CLICK HERE for purchase of Fish Fry tickets with credit card through Paypal. You do not have to open a Paypal account, just look for the option on the webpage. We will send you your ticket number(s). Thanks for your support.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016: Society Luncheon, 11am at Spanish Wells Country Club with Robert Macomber. "Cuba and Southwest Florida, a 500 year Connection of Soldiers, Smugglers, and Spies" (see below for more information)

Monday, March 7, 2016: Board Meeting, 10 am at Liles Hotel in Riverside Park

Friday, March 11, 2016: Fracking -The Green and the Black

7 PM at the Lions Club (see 2016 Speaker Series below for more information) 

Monday, March 21, 2016: General Membership Meeting, 6 pm at the Bonita Springs Fire Station on Bonita Grande, with special guest speaker presentation.

Monday, April 4, 2016: Board Meeting, 10 am at Liles Hotel in Riverside Park

Monday, April 18, 2016: General Membership Meeting, 6 pm at the Bonita Springs Fire Station on Bonita Grande, with special guest speaker presentation.

2016 Society Luncheon

Wednesday, February 24, 2016  at 11am 

Held at Spanish Wells Country Club off Bonita Beach Rd at 9801 Treasure Cay Lane, Bonita Springs, FL 34135

Robert N. Macomber, award-winning author and internationally acclaimed speaker will take us on a journey through history, “Cuba and Southwest Florida: A 500 Year Connection of Soldiers, Smuggles and Spies Amidst Our Islands.” Macomber is best known for his collection of novels called the Honor Series. His latest book is "The Assassin's Honor" and you may learn more about him at his website of

In addition there will be raffles of contributions from area merchants as well as Red Sox spring training tickets and rounds of golf.

Tickets are $55 for members and $60 for non-members. Become a member and save $5! Call 239-948-9073


Luncheon Reservation Form.pdf

If using credit card - see below and also email us the above Reservation Form.


To volunteer to help with the event, please contact event chair, Phyllis Bonfield at or 239-948-9073.

Bonita Springs Historical Society

2016 Speakers Series

The Bonita Springs Historical Society continues the very popular presentations with past audiences filling the room at the Lions Club. Much thanks go to the Lions Club for use of the venue, and to Donna Nemsick, Jane Whitehead, and Jim Sernovitz for organizing the 2016 series, and Terry Lawhon and the Lions for setting up the room, and all those who volunteered to help, and of course our wonderful speakers.

Armchair History

Find out more about our area history from the comfort of the Lions Club

and then get out and explore!

Friday, January 15, at 7 PM,  Koreshanity - The Allure of Immortality

Lyn Millner, journalist, FGCU professor and author of The Allure of Immortality will share insights about one of Florida’s more peculiar characters. Cyrus Teed, charismatic and controversial guru who at the age of 30 was
"illuminated" by an angel in his electro-alchemical laboratory, proclaimed himself a prophet and led 200 people out of Chicago and into a new age. Or so he promised.

The Koreshans moved to Estero and set to building a communal utopia inside what they believed was a hollow earth. Was Teed a visionary or villain, savior or charlatan? Lyn Millner weaves the many bizarre strands of Teed's life and those of his followers into a riveting story of angels, conmen, angry husbands, yellow journalism, and ultimately, hope.

Friday, February 19,   7PM,  The Mound House – the first 2000 years

Come find out If the Walls Could Talk, a fascinating look at the Mound House on Estero Island. This unique archaeological and historical site sits atop a 2,000 year old Calusa Indian Shell Mound. The now three-acre site was once a major settlement of the mighty indigenous Calusa Indians who dominated Southwest Florida. They abandoned it roughly 900 years ago for unknown reasons. But that was only the beginning.

In 1869 settlers associated with the Koreshans built here. A 1950s in-ground swimming pool was built into the shell mound and was later excavated. Ever wonder how a swimming pool could become a museum? Come find out. Parke Lewis, Cultural Resources Coordinator for Mound House will help us dig through all the layers of history at this remarkable site.

Friday, March 11,   7PM,  The Green and the Black

Fracking or hydraulic fracturing has been around since the 1860s. Battles over its safety and practicality rage on right here in Southwest Florida. Bonita Springs has banned it; Estero is not far behind.

Energy industry expert Gary Sernovitz will speak on The Green and the Black: The Complete Story of the Shale Revolution, the Fight over Fracking, and the Future of Energy.

Gary Sernovitz leads a double life. A New York liberal introduces us to shale as the "Internet of oil," using wit and firsthand knowledge to demonstrate that fracking, when done correctly - safely, with respect for the surrounding environment - is the sustainable way to harness the benefits of the resources we have. Join us for the rest of the story.

The presentations will be held at the Lions Club, located at 10322 Pennsylvania Ave, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. Click here for their website.

A $5 donation is suggested.

The Bonita Springs Historical Society Gratefully acknowledges the support of:

Bonita Springs Lions Club

Cecil’s Copy Express

World War II Veterans Video Project

WW II Vet George West talks with Dave Grossi

With Donna Nemsick at the helm BSHS has launched a project capturing the memories and experiences of some of our area World War II veterans. In a kickoff announcement President Ronda Lawhon said, “Our country has a proud history of men and women willing to do whatever it takes to defend our country and its values. The Society is privileged to be part of this project that will tell the stories of some of these veterans.”

This video project honors our veterans and insures their stories live on to educate future generations. All of these stories, whether of valor on the battle field or of serving their country in places out of the limelight, have a place in our history.

Our Plan:   Through contacts with Bonita City Councilman Steve Slachta and the Bonita Springs Veterans Advisory Committee the Veterans’ Project and others, we are meeting with veterans who are willing to tell their stories. Time is running out to capture these stories, and many World War II veterans have been reluctant to share their memories. Perhaps with an eye to the troubled times we live in or to the anniversary of the War’s conclusion or to a feeling that their stories need to be told, veterans have stepped forward to take part in this video project.

Our Crew:   David Grossi is serving as interviewer. Grossi, a decorated Vietnam veteran and retired law enforcement officer, now works as a law enforcement trainer and consultant. He is a past president of the Bonita Springs Veterans Advisory Committee. More than his impressive resume, Mr. Grossi brings to this task a sensitivity and insight that are essential to this role.

Video production is being handled by Antonio Correia. Mr. Correia is an award-winning video producer with over 20 awards. In addition to managing his company Bonita Video Productions, Mr. Correia oversees the city’s Government Access Channel and serves as chair of the Bonita Springs Film Festival.

Our Goal: Our goal is to preserve part of World War II history through the telling of stories of those who took part in it. History is served and preserved not only by text books but also by the telling of experiences of those who fought. We will share these videos both at the Liles Hotel History Center, with schools, civic, veterans and other interested groups.

We would like to especially thank Bob Gillette for his extraordinarily generous contribution that is making this project possible.

Special thanks to:

David Grossi - Interviewer

Antonio Correia - Producer/Videographer

Donna Nemsick - Program Chair

Terraces of Bonita Springs

Cecil's Copy Express

DeRomo's Gourmet Market and Restaurant

The Prado Stadium 12 and Mark Clement

Profound thanks to the participating WWII veterans:

Joseph Bacon           Victor Buckett

Raymond Filmore    Mario Grossi

Myron Kratzer         Alan Moir

Bill Pace                   Lloyd Rauch

George West

We welcome additional contributions to this project. For more information, call Donna Nemsick at 239-498-7979 or Jane Whitehead at 239-390-2092.

Check out our WWII displays in conjunction with the Veterans Video Project

at the Liles History Center in Riverside Park.



Events & Upcoming



Liles Hotel History Center

Society Historic Houses

McSwain House

Photogallery Archives



Historic Properties Pamphlet

Bonita History & Links

Images of America book



Society office phone number is (239) 992-6997.

Mailing address:  PO Box 3015, Bonita Springs, FL 34133

You may email us at:

Copyright 2015