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Binz Fireproof Warehouse

Articles: Sarasota History

Photo Credit: City of Sarasota
Credit: Sarasota History Alive

Sarasota History - Binz Fireproof Warehouse photo

Binz WarehouseThe Binz family moved to Sarasota in 1925 and were active in the building trade as well as other commercial and civic activities in the area.

Frank Binz, Sr. was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on October 19, 1861 to a prominent family from Wisconsin and later in Illinois. Frank Binz moved to Chicago as a young man and eventually became involved in the storage warehouse business, owning one of the largest concerns in Chicago.

Around 1923 Frank Binz's son Gus vacationed in Sarasota, he was favorably impressed with the beauty of the area as well as the apparent business opportunities. This was at the beginning of the boom when all things seemed possible.

Upon returning to Chicago, Gus related what he had found in Sarasota to his father who decided to come see for himself. Frank Binz visited Sarasota by 1925 and went home to sell his business and quickly began investing in the Sarasota area.

One of his first investments in the area was his home site on "Indian Beach Dr.", today's Bay Shore Rd. at the intersection of Brywill Circle. This location was a prominent lot in the Sapphire Shores Subdivision, an up-scale development adjacent to the Caples and Ringling's estates. His son, Frank Binz Jr. served as the contractor for the house.

In May of 1926, after settling into his new home, Frank Binz Sr. began construction of the "Binz Fireproof Warehouse" at the cost of roughly $60,000.00. The warehouse is located at 1071 North Orange Avenue. This building was completed on November 1 of the same year. It was used for the storage of furniture, clothing and other household goods. The building was strategically located alongside the A.C.L. Railway to allow for the northern shipping of household items as well as to receive them. This structure is an important local landmark and is part of an important historical district along Orange Avenue which included the city power-plant building (demolished) and the city water works (restored and re-purposed).

The warehouse is significant because of its association with Mr. Binz many accomplishments and civic-minded efforts in Sarasota. The structure is two stories with three vertical bays. Its painted brick façade (paint is mostly removed now in photo above) features brick pilasters running from the ground to the roof line, and decorative brick corbelling at the cornice line. A masonry door surround with an inscription identifying the building's name and date of construction adorns the main entrance.

Following the death of Frank Binz, Sr. in 1929, Frank Binz, Jr. took over management of the Binz Warehouse until the sale of the business in 1953.