This Week Newsletter - September 4, 2013

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Sarasota History Alive! Where history happens every day.

Alliance Annual Bus Tour

clientuploads/newsletter/announcement-090413.jpgThomas Reed Martin was one of the most successful and prominent architects in Sarasota County. Moving here from Chicago to work for socialite, Bertha Palmer, Martin quickly established an office in Florida, eventually building over five-hundred structures within Sarasota County including the design for the Mable Ringling Memorial Fountain and Luke Wood Park. Please join the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation as we present our Annual Bus Tour, Sunday, October 13, 2013 and enjoy the commercial and residential structures by Sarasota’s most prolific architect of the 20th century. The tour will be narrated by Ron McCarty (pictured), Curator and Keeper of Ca’d’ Zan at the Ringling Museum of Art.

Place: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall parking lot
Time: 2 Tours ~ 10:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. - please arrive 15 minutes prior to check in
Cost: Donation of $20
Registration: 3 ways to register

1. Pre-pay (recommended) by check made payable to:
    S.A.H.P., Inc.
    Post Office Box 1754
    Sarasota, Florida 34230

2. Call to reserve at (941) 953-8727

3. Email to reserve at - Please include your name, phone number, preferred tour time and the number in your party.  We will reply with confirmation of your reservation. At this time we can accept only cash or checks on the day of the tour.


Drive By Gem


Just can’t seem to pull myself away from Gillespie Park; I find so many of the homes there perfectly charming and imaginative. Take a drive through that area sometime; you won’t be disappointed.

Fountain Update


There's progress being made at the Mable Ringling Memorial Fountain this week. The concrete work on the upper portion of the fountain is nearing completion, and I thought I'd explain how the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation determined, with Rob Crafts to make the fountain even more green than they originally planned.

The top sealer coat of concrete is comprised of 2 parts of 'Black Beauty Aggregate' and one part 'Portland' cement. The Black Beauty comes from boiler slag which is formed when extremely hot, molten coal ash from power company chimney stacks are "scrubbed." The ash is quenched with cold water, creating a vitrified amorphous solid, glassy matrix. The glass is broken up and ground to a sand consistancy. This black glass material does not contain any hazardous waste and has a sparkle to it, creating reflective characteristics. When mixed with the Portland cement it makes the concrete appear charcoal gray throughout; the color will not bleach out and require the fountain be resurfaced, for at least 20 years. They are using this charcoal color to correspond with some of the mortar and brick colors in the step landings.

The top ledge exterior circumference of the fountain will have the original bog iron rock decorating it, so it will appear the way it was in 1936. Rob and his crew should get to that this week, if the weather holds out. Stay tuned.

Remember Sarasota When


Water has always been a big part of life here!

If you have memories to share, New College students, in conjunction with the Sarasota County Water Atlas, are looking for people to interview – People who remember the good old days. They create brief, narrated slide shows that tell the water stories from our community.

Enjoy these delightful tales online at:

Sign up to be interviewed by calling John Ryan at (941) 650-2159; or email him at

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:  Your latest edition brought back some fond memories of some very dear friends.  The Pace family from Michigan owned and operated the Flamingo Motel.  The oldest son, Joe, was a member of my Sarasota High School graduating class (1946). Joe left to join the Navy; WWII was still going on; later he was wounded in the "Korean conflict"..he was (and still is) one of the most entertaining guys I've ever known...much fun and a dear friend.  He now lives in Western Florida...near Pensacola.

John Bowie Browning, Jr. was a direct descendant of that original John Browning who brought his family over with the Scottish colony. While still at Sarasota High, John worked out at WSPB which his dad managed. We used to love to drive over and visit Johnny while he was on duty at the station. He too joined the Navy...and later after the war...traveled extensively in his job with Westinghouse Electrics. He married a home town girl and came back to Sarasota to live in the home his father had built where his wife, Vidge, lives today. He contributed so much to Sarasota...just as his ancestors did. What a great guy...I have been so lucky to have known these two, Larry, you don't need to print this...just wanted you to know that I really appreciated seeing the Flamingo and Alex Browniing articles; brought back wonderful memories.

Sue Blue,
Sarasota, FL



Treasure Buried at Miakka

clientuploads/directory/Stories/treasure-buried.jpg(Editor's note: This is an amusing story I found in a Sarasota Times, April, 1913 issue)

It may not be generally known that Miakka is a veritable, sure enough Klondyke, with untold wealth buried beneath the sod.

That a crew of men has, for many moons, been digging and delving, spending hundreds, yes thousands of dollars, to bring this fabulous wealth to the surface.

About one year ago, Mr. A.H. Albritton, formerly of Miakka, but later of Bradley Junction, was afflicted with some bodily trouble, and had occasion to visit a Hoodoo “Doctor” of Tampa.

The aforesaid Doctor is of Mongrel breed, and of the absent in treatment in practice. He is professedly a walking ex-ray, not only with a vision that can penetrate the bowels of the earth, and disclose the hidden mysteries thereof, but stands his patients up before him, closes his eyes, and claims to look through them as though he were looking through a pane of window glass, and to be able to discern any and all anatomical ailments. By the incredulous he is regarded as a freak.

On one of Albritton’s visits, he was told by this quack that on his old place, here at Miakka, there were untold riches buried, the depth being from 40 to 60 feet; told him how he could find the place, indicating certain pine trees on which were certain hacks. Read more...

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Postcard of the Week

clientuploads/newsletter/postcard-090413.jpgQuite possibly, I have shown this postcard before, but I love the colors and of course the subject matter. I realize you can’t make out what image is inside each letter, but it covers many of the attractions and points of interest in the late 1940s. Splendid – for sure.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

clientuploads/newsletter/calendar-090413.jpgTomorrow in 1916, in a master stroke of planning, the city voted 45 to 29 to issue $18,000 in bonds to build a city pier. Somewhat later, it was discovered that the city didn’t own any waterfront property. Given the landlocked pier, the city decided to buy the existing Hover Arcade and pier (pictured) instead, for $40,000.

(photo credit: Courtesy of the Sarasota Herald)


Ain't Life Grand?

clientuploads/newsletter/aintlifegrand-090413.jpgNo room at the Inn? Is this a lodging house out near the Benderson Park Rowing Facility? When the rowing championships are held in Sarasota County in 2017 things may look like this out that way. Bet the hoteliers and restaurants won’t complain.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Pretty as a Picture

clientuploads/newsletter/prettypicture-090413.jpgWhen I was young I used to go to the city tennis courts (adjacent to the Municipal Auditorium) every Saturday for many challenging hours of enjoyment on the clay courts. I often walked from there to Five Points to catch the bus home. As always, I was pleased to pass by the Sarasota Garden Club’s inviting landscaped pond and the Asian centerpiece pictured here. Sometime in the 1980s, I believe, this centerpiece was stolen or destroyed. I think it should be replaced, don’t you agree?

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)



clientuploads/newsletter/ephemera-090413.jpgIs it me, or you don’t see too many trailer parks anymore. Sure there still many around, but they seem to be evaporating in the dazzling light of developers. I do not recall this one, Brunk’s Trailer City, located at 1200 East Hawthorne. I like their stationary. Anyone out there remember this place? Contact us here.

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Who Am I?

clientuploads/newsletter/where-090413.jpgOur last winner of the contest was Rob Brown. Congratulations!

I know you have seen me many times over the years on South Orange Avenue. I do say I am quite a magnificent home. I have had many owners, and many people who have dreamed of owning me. However, today I have a question for you about one of my owners who also utilized me as a doctor’s office. You have to name the doctor; his last name alone will do. Who am I?

Click here to submit your answer, as well as view the correct answer to the last challenge.



Your award this week is the book, John Hamilton Gillespie - The Scot Who Saved Sarasota by Jeff LaHurd. The Friend's of the Sarasota County History Center generously provided this prize. Please consider becoming a member of the Friends; they have some exciting programs coming up soon. Visit them here.

If you would like to be a sponsor of our "Where Am I?" quiz, please call us at (941) 951-7727. It only cost $25 per week for us to set up your ad, and then you only have to provide a prize for the winner. What could be easier?

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Viva 500 Time Capsule

clientuploads/newsletter/viva-florida-logo.pngThe deadline for the Viva 500 Time Capsule submissions has been extended to October 1, 2013. If you have any suggestions for submissions, photos, or artifacts that are representative of 2013 please submit them at any Sarasota County Library. Any questions or digital submissions should be directed to Ann Hardy at: (941)861-5460 or

All submissions become the property of Sarasota County and may be used in promotions and articles about the time capsule. Contents of the capsule will be decided by employees of the Sarasota County Libraries and a sub-committee of the Sarasota County Historical Commission. Unused items will not be returned.



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