Markers: Sarasota History
Venice Horse and Chaise
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.
Venice Train Depot
The first successful railroad into what is now Sarasota County came when a the United States and West Indies Railroad and Steamship Company, a subsidiary of the Seaboard Air Line Railway (SAL), brought its first train into Sarasota in 1903. Two years later the tracks were extended to Fruitville.
Whitaker Family History
William Henry Whitaker arrived in Sarasota Bay in the early 1840s. He built a cedar log cabin at “Yellow Bluffs,” part of nearly 200 acres he would acquire along the bay between Hog Creek and today's Indian Beach Road. Initially a fisherman, Whitaker later added cattle and a citrus grove to his homestead.
Wilson Family and Home
The Wilson House is significant as an example of early Sarasota architecture and as the home and medical office of C.B. Wilson.
Just east of this marker was the Winter Quarters of the Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus, a favorite winter attraction for tourists. Occupying what was previously the County Fair Grounds, the show spread over many acres with it's "Big Top", menageries, practice rings, workshops and railroad yards.
This area, so named for its outcroppings of yellow limestone, was the home of Sarasota's first inhabitants - the prehistoric and Calusa Indians. Yellow Bluffs later became the homesite of William H. Whitaker, Sarasota's first known white settler.