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Articles: Sarasota History

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"The Winter People"

By: Daughter of Dr. James H. Bissell

My father, Dr. James H. Bissell, and his first wife evidently started going down to Sarasota to spend winters in the middle of the 1880s. 

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'Paradise' Eluded the Early Settlers

By: Ann A. Shank, former County Historian

They arrived at the end of December, weeks later than planned, on a cramped steamboat. They disembarked via a temporary plank dock. They saw only one building and a trail through the woods. About two weeks later, it snowed! Thus did the colonists from Scotland confront the reality of the tropical paradise to which they had come.

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'Uncle Ben' Stickney's

By: Ann A. Shank, former County Historian

In the early years of this century, before bridges connected the keys to the mainland, a favorite place to have a picnic was "Uncle Ben" Stickney's. On the bay side of Sarasota (now Siesta) Key, south of the later Stickney Point Bridge, Stickney's homestead gained a reputation for hospitality far beyond Sarasota's borders.

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A $10,000 Silver King

By: George I. "Pete" Esthus

Ordinarily, when a Silver King is mentioned, it brings to mind a two-hour struggle to boat or land a 185 (or more) pound tarpon.

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A Glance at Some of the Top News Stories in 1955

By: Mark D. Smith, former County Archivist

As Sarasota County begins the New Year, a look back 53 years provides an interesting peek into the daily routines of the county and its residents. Some issues sound very familiar today; others show the march of progress. Still others sound a little strange, but made the news of the day in January, 1955.

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A June Wedding

By: Ann A. Shank, former County Historian

A June wedding appealed to Mabel Stuart Helveston and Homer Lincoln Hebb, who were married on the 15th of that month in 1923.

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A Military Post on Sarasota Bay

By: Bill Burger, former Sarasota County Archaeologist

By the early 1830s, tensions were building between Seminoles, homesteaders and U.S. military forces. A lack of resources within the Indian Territory established by the 1823 Treaty of Moultrie Creek had led to hunting forays outside the reserve boundaries. There had been no resolution of the issue of the return of runaway black slaves held by the Seminoles, and thefts of cattle by both Indians and homesteaders caused further dissention. The Second Seminole War erupted in 1835 with the ambush and massacre of Major Dade and his command.

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A Sarasota Romance

By: Jeff LaHurd

Nearly a century ago, two lovers built a grand castle on the island we know as Bird Key.

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