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Robert & Emma Kennedy House

Buildings: Sarasota History

Source: City of Sarasota public records
Credit: Sarasota History Alive
Location: 1677 6th Street, Sarasota, FL

Sarasota History - Robert & Emma Kennedy House photo

The Robert & Emma Kennedy House is one-story single family Craftsman Style residence, located at 1677 6th Street, in the James S. Hall subdivision, within the city limits of Sarasota, Florida. The house was completed by late 1924 or the first part of 1925. It retains its original architectural integrity to a high degree and provides an excellent and well preserved example of its style and method of construction dating from the Boom Time development of Sarasota during the early and mid 1920s.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

During the 1920s, numerous new subdivisions were platted within an expanding Sarasota city limits. James S. Hall Subdivision was one such development. It was platted by Dr. James Hall of Oyster Bay, New York, on March 17, 1924. Hall financed the development of the subdivision and it was platted bearing his name but it was actually laid out by A.F. Baer. Baer was a "well-known" building contractor, according to an article in This Week in Sarasota published on March 12, 1925. The subdivision started as a former strawberry patch and was laid out into sixty building lots." Purchasers of lots in the subdivision were permitted to use other builders but restrictions were in place that all homes would conform with the general architecture of the neighborhood. In a number of instances, families first had their garages built to provide housing until their homes were completed because of a scarcity of housing in the city. Although it is not known if A.F. Baer undertook the construction of earlier or later homes in the subdivision, it is known that he designed and built fourteen homes on Hall Boulevard (today's 7th Street) between mid November of 1924, when the subdivision was platted, and March of 1925 when an announcement of their construction and the success of Dr. Hall in selling them appears in an edition of This Week in Sarasota. The houses were of various designs and every one built was sold immediately, except one.

ROBERT L. KENNEDY

Robert L Kennedy, a native of North Carolina, came to Sarasota from Ocala in 1923. In his earlier years, Kennedy served in the Spanish American War. Following the war, he went to Fernandina Beach, Florida before moving to Ocala to work for the Seaboard Railroad. He came to the city after he was summoned to come to work as a telegrapher for the railroad by Hamden Smith. Smith had arrived in Sarasota from Ocala in 1903 to serve as the first local railroad agent for the Seaboard Air Line Railway. In about 1907, Ham Smith's sister, Emma Smith, also came to Sarasota from Ocala to join her brother, Ham, and to work in the railroad office. Both Ham and Emma had come to Florida with their parents who eventually settled in Anthony after living in Ocala for a period of time. Emma Smith had previously run a private school in Ocala. After her arrival in Sarasota, she and Robert Kennedy became acquainted and were married.

According to their daughter, Mary Kennedy Cobia, by the time, Robert and Emma Kennedy purchased the subject property in 1924 or early 1925, Mr. Kennedy had become the local Seaboard Railroad Agent. According to Sarasota County Public Records, Robert Kennedy also owned several investment properties in downtown Sarasota by that time.

On November 21, 1925, Dr. James Hall and Lens Hall formally deeded the property to Emma C. and R. (Robert) Kennedy. Although the actual transfer of the property to the Kennedys took place in November of 1925, the Kennedy's occupied the home prior to that time. Based upon the fact that it is known that Hall financed the development, he may have financed the sale of the home and lot to the Kennedys. This is based on the fact that there were two deeds dated the same date, November 21, 1925, one transferring the property to the Kennedys from Hall and the second transferring the property from the Kennedys to W.H. and Annie McGlamery that same date . Nevertheless, it is known that the Dr. and Mrs. Kennedy's lived in the house with their son, Holloway, and daughter Mary (Cobia) from late 1924 until at least late 1927. Sometime prior to 1930, the Kennedy's had purchased another home and were residing in a house on a large parcel of property on Whitaker Bayou. For a number of years after he no longer was employed by the railroad, Robert Kennedy owned and operated Kennedy Furniture Store on lower Main Street.

The Robert & Emma Kennedy House was locally designated by the City of Sarasota in 1995.