Friday, August 10 – Historic Spanish Point, A Window to the Past –
This unusual archaeological exhibit showcases a prehistoric shell midden built by Calusa Indians. Behind the glass wall is a ten-foot high mound with layers of shellfish, shell tools, pottery and other early artifacts. The story of how this midden came to be exposed and later became the Window to the Past exhibit that we see today, relates to businessman Walter Conrad’s history at the Historic Spanish Point. Building a home on the tip of the point in the early 20th century, he hired workers to make a turnaround for his Model T car. The area became known as the ‘car cut’.
The midden remained exposed until 1992, ten years after the Historic Spanish Point became a museum. The ‘car cut’ was then formally excavated by a team of archaeologists and volunteers. Following the excavation, HSP constructed a building and the glass wall to create the exhibit and to protect the midden from further exposure to the elements. There is something solemn about standing in front of this slice of life. The duration between layers and the seasons between shells are markers of life that are difficult to comprehend. It is hard to imagine all the activities of life that took place between the layers. Thinking about these compressed realities, our portable light seemed to illuminate so much.