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Silva Apartments

Buildings: Sarasota History

Source: City of Sarasota public records
Credit: City of Sarasota
Location: 229 S. Osprey Avenue, Sarasota, FL

Sarasota History - Silva Apartments photo

The Silva Apartments are of a type of design and construction that was prevalent in what is now referred to as the Florida Land Boom. Its builders, Ricketts and Haworth, and its architect, T.M. Bryan, were responsible for many other buildings exhibiting similar characteristics in design and/or construction.

The Silva Apartments were built on property purchased by Edward C. Silva from I.G. Archibald and Harry Rigby in early 1924. Archibald was a significant Sarasota entrepreneur of the early 1900's. In 1925, Archibald had a building built for commercial purposes next to the Charles Ringling Building on Ringling Blvd. It has since been demolished. Harry Rigby was, in 1925, head of the Sarasota Reality Exchange and a local builder.

Little is known about E.C. Silva other than that he was in Sarasota by 1924, buying property and building the Silva Apartments. He remained in Sarasota no longer than until 1929. He returned to Sarasota in 1945, moving from Houston, Texas, and died here four years later at the age of 79.

The Silva Apartments, which were completed by December of 1925, were called by the local press "one of the finest in the city". It was, and is now, a 28 "family" apartment house built at a reported cost of $75,000, unfurnished. The 1928 Hotels and Apartments Guide described what could be expected to found in one of the apartments. Two rooms on the first floor were to be devoted to "fine stores" in 1927-28. The fine stores consisted of the Silva Cold Storage Market and the Terrace Pharmacy.

The apartments would remain the Silva Apartments until 1949 when the new owner, J. Hoelstad, renamed them the Valencia. The same family owns it today.

The builders, Rickett and Haworth were established in 1911 by H. C. Ricketts and A. Haworth. Headquartered in Tampa, they expanded to Sarasota in 1924 with J.M. Hanna, manager. By 1926, they had also opened offices in St. Petersburg and Lakeland.

Among the buildings they built in Tampa are the Hillsboro Hotel, the Victory Theatre and the Hensley Arcade. In Sarasota Ricketts and Haworth were responsible for many significant structures constructed during the "Boom" of the 1920's. Some of the buildings in Sarasota which Ricketts and Haworth built are The Archibald Building on Main Street, the Sarasota Times Building on First Street, the Sarasota Hotel, the Broadway Apartments and the Hudson-Essex Show Room, designed by T.M. Bryan.

With the coming of the land "Crash" in 1926, the demand for construction shrank to almost nothing, and by 1930, Ricketts and Haworth had closed their local office.

The architect for the Silva Apartments, T.M. Bryan, was responsible for many buildings in Sarasota during the land "Boom". Bryan, a native of Tennessee, started practicing architecture in Florida sometime before 1910, and moved to Sarasota in 1923. Some of his most noteworthy architectural examples here are the Smith and Kirby Apartments on Fourth Street (now vacant), The Waltonian (demolished), and the Hudson-Essex Showroom (significantly altered) on Fifth Street.

Bryan was an active member of the Florida Association of Architects. In 1926 when the F.A.A. held their 13th Annual Convention here in Sarasota, Bryan served as convention chairman. Bryan was also active in local politics but lost in his race for Sarasota City Council in 1926.

STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE

The Silva Apartments is one of several Mediterranean Revival apartment houses in the Oak-Osprey Neighborhood. The collection of these buildings are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as a thematic nomination. This is a nomination where a there is a specific object of significance, such as regional train stations, buildings by a certain architect of note, or in this case, Mediterranean Revival tourist apartment houses. In some cases the buildings would not be eligible for listing on the National Register individually, but as a district or thematic nomination, would be able to be listed.

The Silva Apartments were locally designated by the City of Sarasota in 1987.