Buildings: Sarasota History
Constructed in 1926, the Ryan-Garner Residence, located at 1919 Grove Street, is a one story cross gabled Spanish bungalow. It is covered by a barrel tile roof, and exhibits a rough cast stucco exterior over clay tile masonry. The front façade is asymmetrical featuring a three bay front porch with arched openings. This home is typical of a Spanish bungalow built during the Florida Land Boom when this style dominated Florida architecture.
The Ryan-Garner home was built in early 1926 and is located in the Grove Park Subdivision. This subdivision was platted in 1925 and was developed by the real estate firm of Curry, Cristie, and Cobb. Curry, Cristie and Cobb purchased and subdivided the land in 1925. The Grove Park subdivision was one of many subdivisions which experienced tremendous growth during the Florida Land Boom and as such it represents a broad trend in the development of the state.
The firm of Curry, Cristie and Cobb were made up of three local businessmen. Little is known of Mr. Curry other than he was undoubtedly associated with the pioneer Curry family. The second partner, J.M. Cristie moved to Sarasota in 1910 from Asheville, North Carolina and became manager of the Badger Pharmacy. Mr. Cristie joined the military and served as a pharmacist during World War I. Following the war, he returned to Sarasota. Mr. Cristie was a large sports enthusiast and played semi-professional baseball in local organized baseball from 1922 to 1925. Perhaps it was Mr. Cristie's association with local baseball that led to the partnership with the third principal, J. Paul Cobb. Mr. Cobb was a professional baseball player who played in the western leagues from 1907 to 1916, and was famous as an outstanding third baseman. He was also the brother of the famous Mr. Ty Cobb. Mr. Cobb moved to Sarasota in 1924 and entered the real estate business. He also took an active interest in civic affairs while serving as Chairman of the Baseball Committee of the Chamber of Commerce where he played an active roll in getting Indianapolis and later the Boston Red Sox to train in Sarasota.
The first occupants of the subject home in 1926 were the Dan Ryan family. He was locally prominent real estate man during the Florida Land Boom. Though they only lived in the house for a year and a half, they owned the structure into the 1930s.
Mr. Ryan was born in Chicago in 1899 and previous to moving to Sarasota; Ryan was living in Cleveland, Ohio where he was involved in the mortgage and loan business. Mr. Ryan was attracted to Sarasota by its tremendous boom time growth and moved down in 1923.
First staying in the Mira Mar Apartments, Mr. Ryan established a local mortgage and loan business. Mr. Ryan was underwritten by his partner Mr. William Van Dame, a local wealthy land owner. By 1924, Ryan was living in the town of Indian Beach, near William Van Dame's “estates.” Apparently Ryan's partnership with Van Dame was successful. On January 23, 1926 the Sarasota Herald reported that:
“Another big Sarasota real estate transaction involving the largest documentary tax stamp sale said to have been made in the history of the local post office, has been consummated and was announced yesterday by D.F. Ryan, local Realtor, who conducted the negotiations.”
In 1926, following the October hurricane, the Ryan family moved into the subject property on Grove Street. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons for selecting this house was the proximity to the newly built Southside Elementary School. While living at the house, the Ryans' daughter Ruth started first grade. The proximity of this neighborhood school has continued to be considered an asset by the occupants of the subject structure.
With decreasing real estate values and an overall economic slump facing Florida following the 1926 land crash, it became difficult for Ryan to continue to make a living in Sarasota. By 1928 Ryan and his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio where Ryan entered into the new high-tech business of manufacturing neon signs. Their ownership of the house continued, however, into the late 1930s.
Following the departure of the Ryan family, the house was occupied by Frank Binz, Jr. and his family. The Binz family moved to Sarasota in 1926 and was active in building as well as other commercial activities in the area.
Frank Binz, Jr. was one of the principals of the Binz and Lambert Construction Company. One of their most noteworthy construction projects was the $60,000 Binz Fireproof Warehouse located at 1071 North Orange Avenue. This building was built for Frank Binz, Sr. in 1926 and 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 and the city waterworks. The Binz family were also members of the Chicago Colony, a documented migration pattern of Midwesterners who moved to Sarasota.
Following the death of his father in 1929, Frank Binz, Jr. took over the management of the Binz Warehouse until the sale of the business in 1953.
While living in the subject structure on Grove Street, the Binz family was active in many civic events including the Sarasota Pageant. This is documented by the photographs provided by Frank Binz, Jr.'s son Barry Binz which show his father and mother in Spanish garb while posing in the front and side yards of the home. These photographs show how sparsely populated this portion of Sarasota was with only a few homes visible in the background. Also visible are the telephone poles alongside the new nine foot wide Tamiami Trail.
Edgar Allen Garner
By1938 the home was occupied by Edgar A. Garner, Chief of Police, who would live in the house until 1950. Garner was an active lawman who started as a deputy sheriff in DeSoto County, served as Police Chief for Sarasota, and later as Special Investigator for the State of Florida. Garner brought himself credit in all levels of law inforcement.
Mr. Garner, a native of Clanton, Alabama, began his career in 1913 at the age of 26 as a deputy in Desoto County. At the time transportation was by horseback and his territory, which was shared with one other deputy and the Sheriff, covered what is today Glades, Hardee, Highland, Charlotte and present DeSoto County. As a deputy his escapades included a shoot-out east of Punta Gorda while trailing five escaped convicts; four of whom were considerd armed and desperate. He stumbled upon them and the convicts opened fire. Garner quickly returned their fire and when the smoke cleared, three of the convicts were dead and one wounded; Garner was unharmed.
By 1930, Mr. Garner had moved to Sarasota and was serving as a deputy sheriff. In ca. 1933 Garner was appointed Police Chief for the City of Sarasota, a post he held until resigning in 1949. While he had been hand picked by Governor Warren to head the State Highway Patrol, Garner was unable to garner enough Cabinet votes to take the position. Governor Warren then appointed Garner as Special Investigator for the State. In this position, Garner was involved in several sensational cases which included murders and gambling activities linked to organized crime in Tampa and Miami.
In March of 1950, Edgar Allen Garner suffered a heart attach in Miami apparently while down there on a case. He died a week later at the home of his daughter Geraldine Garner of Sarasota, Florida. While spending a live in law enforcement, Mr. Garner found time for other civic organization, besides being involved in the local Masons and Shriners and heads of the local Red Cross as Disaster Chairman. Mr. Garner also served as president of the Florida Peace Officers Association as well as Sergeant-at-Arms of the International Association of Police Chiefs.