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Venice Horse and Chaise

Markers: Sarasota History

Location: Corner of Nassau Street and Venice Ave., Venice, FL

Sarasota History - Venice Horse and Chaise photo

Originally known as "Horse and Chaise", early settlers renamed this area Venice in 1888 in recognition of the many natural waterways which abound here. As a city, Venice became a reality when the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) came here in 1925 and began to build a planned retirement community for it's members. Designed by well known city planner John Nolen the original plan included wide paved boulevards with planted medians, small parks throughout the community, a golf course, a beachfront amphitheatre, lots reserved for schools and hotels as well as an agricultural area known as Venice Farms.


Mediterranean architecture gave Venice a unique charm. The dream died with the 1929 stock market crash. Venice lay dormant for years with Dr. Albee's Florida Medical Center, Kentucky Military Institute and the Venice Farms providing the only economic life during the 1930s. The city came to life again with the creation of an Army Air Base during World War II. The Ringling Brothers Circus relocated their winter home here in 1960. Although Venice has grown beyond the original plan many old landmarks remain as does the unique charm. A new generation now enjoys the retirement dream.

Dedicated in 1983 by the Sarasota County Historical Commission

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