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Kickliter House

Buildings: Sarasota History

Source: City of Sarasota public records
Credit: Sarasota History Alive
Location: 1205 Cocoanut Avenue, Sarasota, FL

Sarasota History - Kickliter House photo

The Byrd and Katherine Kickliter House is a 1925 Craftsman Style Bungalow located at 1205 Cocoanut Avenue in the Valencia Terrace Subdivision within the city limits of Sarasota, Florida. The house is historically significant because it strongly reflects the earliest development of Valencia Terrace Subdivision platted as part of the Florida Land Boom as part of a rapidly expanding city limits.

The house is significant for its architecture in that it displays distinctive characteristics somewhat unusual for a Sarasota 1920s Craftsman bungalow. The house reflects simple residential architectural trends of the period throughout the United States during the first decades of the century. A c. 1947 detached one-story garage, constructed of a later date, is also on the property.

Craftsman Style and Double Front Gable Bungalows

The Kickliter House can be classified in general as a Craftsman Style Bungalow. Such bungalows are one or one and one-half stories in height and have low gable or hip roofs with wide overhangs. The style began its popularity in California in the beginning of the nineteenth century its use in new home construction quickly spread throughout the rest of the country and it became the most frequently chosen house style into the early 1930s.

Building materials commonly consisted of wood siding over wood framing or in some cases such as this house, stucco was applied to the exterior. Knee braces and exposed rafter tails are common structural roof supports. Houses with such roof configurations as the subject structure can also be more clearly identified as Double Front Gable Bungalows, a Bungalow sub-style. These homes date from the late teens and early 1920s.

This variation of the bungalow is named for its two front-facing gables, one on the porch and one behind it on the facade. The gables tend to have a low pitch, a characteristic of the bungalow which gives the house a ground hugging or horizontal modern look. The overall plan of these houses is usually narrow, around 30 feet wide- but long; ranging between 40 and 50 feet. The typical gabled bungalow had a front porch, a fireplace, and six rooms organized into parallel rows of rooms, with a living room, dining room, and kitchen on one side, and two bedrooms and a bath, connected by a short hall on the opposite side. Adjoining rooms were connected by cased openings. The connection of the two front rooms, the living room and dining room created a passageway to the kitchen.

Historic Context

During the 1920s, residential subdivisions were platted throughout an expanded Sarasota city limits. Cheap land prices and the promise of quick profits swept the city into a spiral of development. This decade brought unparalleled growth to Florida. Sarasota Downtown development was coupled with expanding suburban residential areas. Sarasota was fast replacing the fishing village image that it had with that of a developing resort community. Construction following the First World War produced what would become a modern city.

One of the subdivisions platted in Sarasota during the Land Boom of the 1920s was Valencia Terrace. Dr. Sherman Taylor of Chicago and Sarasota purchased and undertook the initial development of the subdivision, although the plat was executed by First National Trust Co. as Trustee in March of 1924. An April 9, 1925 article in This Week in Sarasota projected $75,000 in house construction for the new development. Lots were marketed in the $3,000 to $5,000 range during the early years, although some corner lots were advertised by real estate companies such as the Sarasota Development Co. for as much as $6,000.

On November 7, 1925, Byrd Kickliter and his wife, Katherine Alderman Kickliter, purchased the subject property for $10,000 from Marie N. Dodd and he and his family became the first occupants of the subject residential structure. R.L. Polk, Sarasota City Directories indicate that Mrs. Maree Dodd never resided in the house and that her husband was involved in real estate by 1927, suggesting that perhaps the house may have been built for speculation purposes.

Byrd and Katherine Alderman Kickliter

Byrd Kickliter's ancestors, the "Kicklighters" emigrated from Rhine area of Germany in the mid 1700s by way of Holland into Charleston, South Carolina where they obtained a land grant. Descendants later moved to Hillsborough County.

A Floridian by birth, B.C. "Byrd" Kickli(gh)ter came to Sarasota in 1922. His wife, Katherine Alderman was born in DeSoto, Florida and arrived in Sarasota in 1924 from Tampa.

In about 1926, Byrd Kicklighter established the Kicklighter Hardware Store in Sarasota. Shortly thereafter, his brother, J.F. Kicklighter, joined him in the ownership and operation of the store. J.F.'s son, Dowlin Kicklighter, and another family member, H.H. Kicklighter also became involved in the business. Byrd Kicklighter later altered the spelling of his last name to Kickliter as did J.F. Kickliter's son, Dowlin Kicklighter.

Upon the death of J.F. Kickliter in 1934, Byrd Kickliter purchased J.F.'s half interest in the business from J.F.'s widow, Mathilda. Materia Kickliter organized a new store with Gordon Adams of the Sarasota Hardware and Paint Co.

By 1936, son John D. Kickliter became involved in the business. Local resident Jack Halton became a business partner in 1945. The Sarasota Hardware Store remains in business today on Main Street in the same block but in a building west of the original Kickliter store on Main Street.

In 1934, when the Sarasota concern, United First Federal Savings and Loan, was first organized and chartered, Byrd Kickliter served as an original director and 1st Vice President. Kickliter also formed his own development company, the Kickliter Development Co.

Byrd and his wife, Katherine Alderman Kickliter, had two children, a son, James, who became a doctor, and a daughter (Katherine) Maxine, who married David B. Roberts. Byrd Kickliter and his wife retained ownership of the house until April 14, 1945 when the property was sold to Fannie and Walter Fletcher. Subsequently, the Kickliter's moved to Waldemere Street in Sarasota. Byrd Kickliter died in June on June 9, 1955. Mrs. Kickliter died on February 22, 1973.

The Kickliter House was locally designated by the City of Sarasota in 1999.

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