Gulf View Inn Interior
Photos: Sarasota History
An interior shot of the Gulf View Inn on Siesta Key. It was designed to look like a lodge and had an indoor pond with a live aligator in it.
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In the early years of this century, before bridges connected the keys to the mainland, a favorite place to have a picnic was "Uncle Ben" Stickney's. On the bay side of Sarasota (now Siesta) Key, south of the later Stickney Point Bridge, Stickney's homestead gained a reputation for hospitality far beyond Sarasota's borders.
The history of Sarasota is inextricably intertwined with the natural environment and efforts to shape the land to fit the needs of a growing community. Over a hundred years ago, before the construction of roads and bridges throughout the county, life here was very different. Siesta Key in particular was isolated and inaccessible. Big changes began on the key when Harry Higel began to promote his development, “Siesta On The Gulf.”
The Gulf View Inn was built as the Sarasota Beach Lodge on the Gulf side of Siesta key at the beginning of 1925. The Sarasota Beach subdivision had been platted in late 1924 by the Crescent Beach Development Co. and included the area approximately bordered now by Ocean Blvd., Avenida Del Mayo and Avenida Del Mare. The use of Spanish street names reflected the Mediterranean theme in much of Sarasota's 1920s development.