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Sarasota Herald Launched First Edition 85 Years Ago

Articles: Sarasota History

Author: Ann A. Shank, former County Historian
Photo Credit: Sarasota County History Center
Credit: Sarasota County History Center

Sarasota History - Sarasota Herald Launched First Edition 85 Years Ago photo

From this modern building on the northeast corner of Orange Avenue and Oak Street, the Sarasota Herald published its first edition on October 4, 1925. In a front-page article introducing the morning paper to its readers, a journalist praised the publishing facility's efficient layout: "From the executive offices in the rear, the paper is produced in one continuous motion."

The Herald's first editorial announced the paper's three-fold policy of service to the community. The Herald would provide comprehensive news coverage, using its Associated Press affiliation for international and national news and skilled staff journalists for local coverage. The paper committed itself to involvement in the economic, social and educational development of Sarasota. Lastly, the Herald promised wholesome entertainment and helpful instruction.

The Sarasota Herald began publishing at a time when Sarasota was experiencing the Florida Land Boom. Newcomers quickly swelled the area's population. They created a demand for and hoped to profit from the growing real estate development. Print advertisement for land and homes helped support a growth in Sarasota County's news publications. Under new ownership by 1925, the Sarasota Times had become a veteran newspaper and moved from being a weekly to a daily. A new weekly was This Week in Sarasota, which published during the boom period and reflected the atmosphere of the time. The Venice News reported the work of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, developers of the new city of Venice.

Editor George D. Lindsay led the Herald, and later the Herald-Tribune, for nearly 20 years. He came to Sarasota from Pennsylvania and Indiana, having been a Presbyterian minister for seven years, a lawyer for six, and editor and publisher of the Marion (Indiana) Chronicle since 1908. He became known for his Sunday religious editorials and was active in the civic and political life of the community.

By 1930, the Herald was the only newspaper left in Sarasota. Perhaps unexpected in a time of economic depression, a competitor incorporated in 1934. The Sarasota Daily Tribune was published by Benton W. Powell, already known in Sarasota for his leadership in the Palmer National Bank and civic affairs. A member of the United Press, the Tribune published weekday afternoons and Sunday mornings. Accompanying the paper's name on the front page was the slogan, "Covering the County Like the Sunshine." In June 1938, the Herald purchased the Tribune, thereby creating the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

The Mediterranean Revival-style home of the Herald became too small and outdated for the Herald-Tribune in the 1950s. As Sarasota experienced another period of economic and population growth, the paper moved into a new building on the corner of Wood Street and U.S. 41. In 2006, after having outgrown the Wood Street location, it constructed a state-of-the-art facility located on Main Street in downtown Sarasota.

The Sarasota Herald building now houses the Woman's Exchange, and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1984.

Editors note: This historic building is now for sale, as the Woman's Exchange has outgrown this site. Whoever eventually purchases this piece of history, we at  Sarasota History Alive! express our hope that at least part of the structure is saved, restored, and remains part of our heritage.

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