Markers: Sarasota History
The Edwards Theatre was the dream of Sarasota County's native son and the City's first Mayor, Arthur B. Edwards, who dedicated himself to the proposition that a modern city be built on the shores of Sarasota Bay. He was born October 2, 1874, and died November 14, 1969. He served the community as County Road Supervisor and first Tax Assessor. In the business world he was active in Insurance, Real Estate, Promotion of Winter Tourism, Banking and Abstract of Title Records.
The theatre, of Mediterranean Revival Style Architecture, was designed by Roy A. Benjamin to accommodate the many varieties of entertainment available at the time: silent movies, vaudeville and opera. The best offered by film and stage was featured here, through the last of the "Roaring Twenties" and early thirties, from Grand Opera to "The Ziegfield Follies", and minstrel shows. Among others, the well known star, Will Rogers, appeared upon the stage. Later, in the mid-fifties, a rising young singer, Elvis Presley, appeared.
In December, 1936, the name was changed to "The Florida Theatre", which name was kept until the closing in the early seventies.
The "Edwards" is now the home of the Sarasota Opera Association, Inc.
Dedicated in 1983 by the Sarasota County Historical Commission