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Articles: Sarasota History

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A Showcase of Sarasota Architecture

By: Elaine Rogers, former Preservation Assistant

In the 1950s, a new style of architecture sprang up in a development off the north end of Lido Key on an island in Sarasota's New Pass.
Lido Shores began as a vision of Phillip Hiss, an accomplished writer, photographer and traveler, who moved to Sarasota in 1948. Hiss was drawn to Sarasota because of the work of Paul Rudolph, an outstanding young architect who is now recognized, along with Ralph Twitchell, as one of the founders in the Sarasota School of Architecture. With Rudolph and other Sarasota architects, such as Ralph and William Zimmerman, Hiss hoped to build speculative modern homes.

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A Variety of Ventures for City Island

By: Mark Smith

Early in Sarasota municipal history, several city councils wanted a channel dredged from the Gulf of Mexico to Sarasota Bay. In early 1914 an eight-foot channel was dug but it did not please the city. It had wanted a deeper channel to become a port. It was not until 1926 that this dream came true. After the sale of the city's power plant to Florida Power and Light for $1 million, the City of Sarasota spent nearly $800,000 to dredge a channel from New Pass to the bay front and Payne Terminal (10 Street and U.S. 41 today).

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A Visual Documentation of Sarasota's Past

By: Ann Shank, former Sarasota County Historian

Historical photographs can be a gold mine for the family “historian” as well as the professional researcher. Within the collections of the History Center, a number of photographers' works provide a visual feast for the understanding of Sarasota County's past.

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A Warning to Candidates of the New Primary Law

By: Governor Park Trammell

Governor Trammell has addressed the following letter to the sheriffs of each county in regard to the new law governing primaries:

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Abundant Fishing in Sarasota Bay

By: Ann A. Shank, former County Historian

Abundant fishing has attracted people to the Sarasota County area for millennia. Prehistoric shell middens abound with bone and shell remains from food harvested from the coastal waters. Spanish-speaking fishermen from Cuba camped along the coast during the fishing season a century before Florida became part of the United States.

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Aeolian Organ Company, Opus 1559

By: Ron McCarty, Keeper of Ca'd'Zan at The Ringling

Early in the twentieth-century, many millionaires built massive homes displaying their wealth as monuments of their “success.” Music rooms, ballrooms and fine musical instruments were symbols of “culture and refinement.” During the Gilded Age, business magnates such as: Henry Clay Frick, William K. Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie...

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Amateur Poetess Practiced Real Estate

By: Ann Shank, former Sarasota County Historian

Ethel Wood loved poetry and used rhymed verse such as the one above to communicate greetings to family and friends.

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Amish and Mennonite Communities

By: Ann Shank, former Sarasota County Historian

Newcomers to Sarasota are often surprised to find a substantial Amish and Mennonite community in Sarasota. The historical core of this community is south of Bahia Vista Street and west of Phillippi Creek. An explanation for the small lots in the original section lies in the earliest subdivision recorded for that parcel, the Sarasota National Tourist Camp.

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