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Museum of History opens special exhibit marking 60th anniversary of The Breeze

By CJ HADDAD - | Dec 17, 2021

Breeze memorabilia through the years is part of the historical display marking the 60th anniversary of the Cape Coral Breeze. Photo courtesy of the Cape Coral Museum of History

Cape Coral’s hometown newspaper has a special exhibit at the Cape Coral Museum of History now open to the public.

The newest display, titled, “All the News that’s Fit to Print,” celebrates the history of the Cape Coral Breeze, which is marking its 60th anniversary this month. From the first newsletter dubbed the “Gulf Breeze” in 1961 to today’s full color, 40-plus page publication, there’s countless items and information to take in.

“We thought it was a great opportunity to expand on this history we already have on The Cape Coral Breeze,” said museum Executive Director Janel Trull. “This is an opportunity for us to remind everybody that we have a wonderful local newspaper that is celebrating their 60th anniversary.”

The Breeze published its first edition on Dec. 14, 1961, and is one of the important dates noted at the museum’s display, along with a cutout of Fred Cull, an early publisher of the newspaper. There also is a collection of Ed Klinka editorial cartoons, laminated issues of the Breeze from over the years, and other memorabilia.

One article displayed titled, “History of the Breeze,” describes how the paper was first published starting in 1961 as a weekly, and how it evolved into a semi-weekly in 1974 and then a five-day-a-week publication in November 1975.

The exhibit marking the 60th anniversary of the Cape Coral Breeze will remain open through April. Cape Coral Museum of History

The article goes on to document the locations where The Breeze offices have been housed — first in the Graf Building before moving to an office in the Cape Coral Shopping Plaza, then into a building next to the Cape Coral Post Office on Southeast 47th Terrace and then to its current location at 2510 Del Prado Blvd.

“Knowing that we have our local paper here to keep tabs on everything that’s going on, it’s a benefit to the community, so we wanted to make sure we highlighted what The Breeze does for us and what they’ve done over the last 60 years,” Trull said.

The museum also houses a number of other Breeze items in its archives, including photos and copies of the newspaper from the first year of publication on.

The display area, which is located in the Clint & Sue Kelly Building on the museum’s campus, mentions several other publications that have been available in the Cape over the years, and the Lee County Shopper, which was a weekly publication of the Breeze Newspapers before it was consolidated into The Breeze classifieds section.

“It’s an honor that the Cape Coral Museum of History is recognizing The Breeze’s 60th anniversary by creating a special exhibit about our publication,” said Editor Chris Strine, who has been with the paper for nearly 40 years. “The Cape Coral Breeze has been providing news for this community almost since its inception, and to be featured is special and appreciated. It’s a tribute to not only by our current staff, but also to all those who have worked here and contributed over the years. The Breeze has been covering the Cape now for six decades, and is part of the city’s history, and hopefully will be for some time to come.”

In addition to the items already on display, the special exhibit dedicated to The Breeze will include items not normally on display along with memorabilia and other historical artifacts from the Breeze’s own archives. A highlight will be the display of every edition of The Breeze over the first year of publication from 1961 to 1962. There’s even a press plate from a 1983 edition detailing the Rosen Building moving onto museum grounds.

“It’s interesting to see how things have changed, and how things have stayed the same,” Trull said. “With The Breeze being our local newspapers and having been in the city for 60 years, I think that speaks a lot to the testament of our city itself and our residents wanting to know what’s going on on a regular basis. The Breeze has changed the way it’s done things over the years, and it’s always with an eye towards making sure that residents are getting the most up-to-date, most inclusive, most unbiased and accurate news.”

Trull said the display noting the newspaper’s 60th anniversary will be similar to the other commemorative displays the museum has featured in recent years that included those on the history of the Cape Coral Fire Department, the Cape Coral Police Department and Cape Coral Hospital/Lee Health.

“We’ve been thrilled and honored to help write the first draft of Cape Coral’s history for 60 years and now we’re equally happy to be part of that history with this exhibit,” said Breeze Newspapers Publisher Ray Eckenrode.

The exhibit will be on display until April 2.

The Cape Coral Museum of History is at 544 Cultural Park Blvd. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday-Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Admission for adults is $5 and free for children under 17 and students with ID. Tours are available and a gift shop is on site. For more information, visit www.capecoralhistoricalmuseum.com.

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj

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