Dedicated to Our Unique History
It is unusual in Southwest Florida to find an area with so many original structures and so many families who can trace their ancestors back to settlements here in the late 1800’s.
The Everglades Society for Historic Preservation (ESHP) aims to raise awareness of our unique history and of our wealth of historic buildings.
ESHP’s mission is to preserve historic sites, structures, documents, artifacts and memories within the Everglades area.
The Society was founded at the end of 2004. Its territory of interest includes Everglades City, Plantation Island, Chokoloskee, Ochopee, Copeland & Lee Cypress, and Jerome.
ESHP, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. You may dowload our By-laws below
Patricia Huff (President), a retired Financial Advisor with Raymond James & Associates, was a founding member of ESHP which was established to help save the first Collier County Courthouse (now Everglades City Hall). She and her husband purchased their historic 1920s home in 1994. In 2001 Patty founded the City’s local newsletter "The Mullet Rapper" and continued as publisher/editor until 2016. Patty is past president of the Friends of the Museum of the Everglades and served as “Historian” on the Collier County Historical & Archaeological Preservation Board from 2005 to 2017. She continues to be invited by county and state organizations to give presentations about the local history of the area. As President Patty leads the organization in strategic planning, oversight of organizational finances, vision, mission, and long-term goal setting. More specifically, over the next several years, she is tasked to oversee all aspects of the reconstruction of the Bank Building.
Hydie Friend (Vice-President) is a retired certified city planner and comes to the ESHP Board with more than forty years of experience using historic preservation for economic development. She has been recognized by her home state of West Virginia and her hometown of Wheeling for her dedication and commitment to community-led preservation and development efforts. Hydie was an early leader in the National Park Service's National Heritage Area movement. Now a Florida resident, she is applying her energy in supporting the efforts of the Everglades Society for Historic Preservation. With her extensive experience, Hydie has been appointed ESHP’s Grants Coordinator and manages ESHP’s efforts in obtaining grants and funding from various organizations, including state/federal agencies and local private foundations (Collier Community Foundation), communicating, and working together with the consultant grant writer.
Marya Repko (Secretary) moved in 2000 to Everglades City after she discovered the little planned town in the middle of the swamp and wanted to learn more. She used her background in computers to research the history of the area and has written over a dozen "Brief History" books on the area (website: www.ecity-publishing.com). Marya was a founding member of ESHP and is also on the Board of the Friends of the Museum of the Everglades. She has received widespread recognition as the “authority” on the history of Everglades City and surrounding areas. She is widely respected for her depth of knowledge and is frequently asked to give her popular and well-documented presentations to community organizations throughout the county and beyond. Marya coordinates the ESHP meetings of the organization, writing the agenda and taking minutes. She also serves as the membership chairperson, coordinating all aspects of ESHP’s fundraising projects, sending out acknowledgements to members and donors. See (link) for resume.
Elaine Middelstaedt (Treasurer), with a law degree and a member of the NJ and FL bars, started her own pension administration business in 1996. She has been interested in historic preservation since she purchased the former two-room schoolhouse in Lordville, NY, in 1973. Since moving to Everglades City in 2001, Elaine has been an active participant and a board member in several community organizations, including ESHP, the Everglades Lions Club, ReachOut Everglades & C.O.P.S. Association, Inc., and the Everglades Community Food Pantry. She served as an Everglades City Council member for 12 years as well as four years on the Collier County Metropolitan Planning Organization (Chairperson for two years). She is currently Chair of the Citizens Advisory Council of the Collier MPO. As Treasurer Elaine oversees the organization's finances, creating the budget, generating financial reports, and advises the board on financial strategy. She also coordinates with the accountant and the auditor to review finances.
Connie Barker has 25 years of managerial experience in retail, 10 years as the House Manager of the Ronald McDonald House, and completed her career as manager of a multi-physicians practice in Toledo, Ohio. She and her husband visited Everglades City in 1994, eventually purchasing their first home in 1996, moving permanently in 2014. When she retired, Connie decided to dedicate her time in helping others and has been very active in local community organizations: ReachOut Everglades & C.O.P.S., Inc., managing the Thrift Store; Deacon at the Everglades Community Church, assisting with the Food Bank Pantry; and the Lions Club. With her organizational skills and experience, Connie serves as Manager of the Everglades Area Visitor Center which eventually will be moved from the donated space in the Glades Building to the newly rehabilitated Bank of Everglades Building. In addition to welcoming tourists and being a resource to visitors to the area, the Visitor Center / Trail Town Headquarters also promotes local artists by offering their crafts for sale. Connie’s responsibilities include recruiting and scheduling volunteers, organizing inventory, coordinating with the artists, and submitting sales reports to the Treasurer.
Helen Bryan was a founding member of the Friends of the Museum of the Everglades in the 1990s and has been active in every aspect of the Everglades City / Chokoloskee community. With her acquired skills and good eye, Helen was appointed photojournalist of the local newspaper The Mullet Rapper in 2014 and continues serving in that capacity. Her ability to capture the history of the Everglades community over the past 30+ years is remarkable. She is everywhere, all the time, behind the scenes at events, chronicling the lives of the people and places of the swamp. Helen is the historian for ESHP, and her photographs are documented on the Gallery page of our website.
Donald (Don) Kim joined the ESHP Board in 2022 as it broadens its membership to include more business owners and professionals on the Board. He is a recent full-time addition to the Everglades City community, having moved here from Boca Raton. As a passionate fisherman, Don had been a frequent visitor to the Everglades City/Chokoloskee area over the last twenty years. His current career in the software development field affords him the opportunity to live in Everglades City and work full time remotely. Before getting into the software/computer field, Don spent many years in the hospitality industry and earned degrees in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management at Johnson & Wales University. Early in his hospitality career, Don enlisted as a food service specialist in the United States Marine Corps. He served in various capacities for eight years, including Mess Hall management, Food Quality Inspection, Recruiting and Information Systems Database Management, ultimately attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. As a professional in computer services, Don will be instrumental in assisting our Vice-President with marketing and in expanding our presence in the media.