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Sebastian Historical Society planning Fellsmere lecture, yard sale

SEBASTIAN — The Sebastian Area Historical Society has a busy week in store with a lecture about Fellsmere and a yard sale.

On Wednesday, the group will present at the North County Library  “Fellsmere Firsts” – a look at the city and how it was the first for many things, including giving women the right to vote – a first in Florida.

Historian Rich Votapka will portray E. Nelson Fells, the founder of Fellsmere,  when he gives the lecture Nov. 17, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The Fellsmere City Council had planned to have a workshop that evening for planning purposes but decided at its last meeting to move the workshop so members could attend the lecture.

In 1910, Fells and his wife paid a little more than $1.35 an acre for land west of the St. Sebastian River.   His Fellsmere Farms Land Development Company promoted its rich soils and natural resources.

The town of Fellsmere was incorporated in 1911, and by 1915, it had a railroad, an electric company, two hotels, and women could vote — a first in Florida.

Amid land-fraud scandals, Congressional investigations of swamp land scams, and questionable government drainage projects, Fell was able to keep his company solvent only until June 1916 when a court-appointed receiver took over.

Fell lost everything he had invested and returned to his Virginia estate where died in 1928.

On Saturday, the Sebastian Area Historical Society will host a yard sale at its museum, located in the Old Sebastian School next to City Hall on Main Street.

The yard sale is meant as a fund-raiser for the group’s future programs and support a new volume of Sebastian’s History.

The yard sale will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will include items such as clocks and watches, antiques, jewelry, tools,             household goods and more.

The organization is looking for more items to offer and encourages anyone with unwanted trinkets to donate them to the cause by calling  (772) 581-1380.

The Sebastian Area Historical Society Museum is located at 1235 Main Street and is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For additional information about the yard sale, call Doris Jorgensen at (772) 589-9592.

Other programs in the free lecture series include:

Jan. 19 – History of McKee Botanical Garden,” Christine Hobart, Executive Director;

Feb. 16 – “History of Piper Aircraft and the Future,” Speaker to be announced;

Mar. 16 – “Images of America: Indian River County,” Ellen E. Stanley, Author.

The lectures will be held at the North Indian River County Library, located at 1001 Sebastian Blvd. (CR512) at Roseland Rd.  The lectures are not sponsored by the North County Indian River County Library.

For additional information about the series, call (772) 581-1380 or e-mail:

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