This Week Newsletter - May 6, 2009

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Sarasota History Alive! Where history happens every day.

This Week

This past weekend was the Second Annual Chalk Festival (Avenida des Colores) in historic Herald Square. That area used to be known as 'Little Five Points'. If you didn't get the opportunity to attend this remarkably creative art extravaganza, then do join Lee as he gets up close to the chalk masters, and even a sword-swallowing magician. Denise Kowal is also on hand to tell all about how this event came about, and why artists were inclined to draw on sidewalks in the first place.

Click here to enjoy the show.

Tales of Sarasota

This week,  Pete is in a singing mood and ventures back to 1947 when you just roll up a bathing suit in a towel and head to Lido Beach on Wednesday afternoons. Afterall, the downtown closed up then so everyone could go to the beach and take a dip in the Lido Casino pool. of the reasons you might have moved here in the first place!

There were variety shows at the Florida Theater, and our own Pete is here to tell you about it. Croon on, Pete, and Click here to read his blog.


Tour By Cell is Coming Soon

Sarasota History Alive! is happy to announce some great news. We are in the process of producing a free cell phone tour of our recently recognized downtown national historic district. You will be able to locate 60 historic buildings with a free map, and listen to a professionally narrated history of each of the structures.

This project will be sponsor and advertising supported, so you won't have to pay anything. As a bonus, you will be able to call-transfer to make reservations at restaurants, and listen to upcoming event announcements.

This free 'info-tainment' acquaints you with our heritage when you stroll about downtown and also encourages Heritage Tourism; something that will benefit our local economy.

Go to to watch a demo of the tour.  Or, dial 536-2256 and listen to some examples of the buildings on the tour. After the woman finishes her intro, press 1 for the downtown history overview, 2 for the Gator Club, 3 for the Kress Building, and 4 for the Opera House. We have inserted sample ads for advertisers and sponsors to hear how their message will be presented.

Go ahead, give it a try...and kick back for an enjoyable tour of our fascinating history.


The Main Street Reporter

How many people out there remember the "Main Street Reporter", Helen Griffith? If you didn't have the priviledge to read her daily column, you missed out on what the haps were in downtown Sarasota and beyond.

Your editor got to thinking about this, and decided to approach the Sarasota Herald-Tribune to see if they would permit Sarasota History Alive! to re-produce excerpts from her columns for you to enjoy. They happily agreed, and we would like to thank the Herald-Tribune so very much for this honor. Please visit them online at, for up-to-date news and a lot more.

So, Helen, welcome to Sarasota History Alive! and tell us the news of the day, from your beat on Main Street.

July 1, 1947 (SHT) Who is it?

Little Toi Teeters, 1 months old, was walking through a local dime store with Sally Wolfe. An attractive young woman smiled at Toi and asked her if she would like a doll. And if so, which one? A beautiful magic skin doll was pointed to, and soon it was in the child's arms. Also, a small squeak dog, both gifts of the woman, who said goodbye and went on her way.

Now, Toi's parents, Mr. and Mrs. George B. Teeters Jr., are most anxious to know who the Lady Bountiful is. Could it be the same young woman who gave the fifty-cent pieces to the two Brownies on Saturday?

July 1, 1947 (SHT) To Think..Instead of the males from Hollywood, so recently here, it had to be a handsome youth from St. Pete who sallied forth on the beach at Lido in yes, you guessed it, a pair of those hand knit bathing trunks...and yellow!

There was much talk awhile back about the latest in masculine suits as worn by any and all of the smart young things out on the coast. Nothing came of it however. The St. Pete lad is Drury King and he comes over to Sarasota a couple of times a month. No special reason, except as he says, "Because I like it here." Which would seem to be reason enough.

Incidentally, the visitor has been called THE VOICE among his friends in his home town. What was heard of it, singing 'Mam-selle', made his listeners think perhaps said friends had something there.


Linda Landry Greaves - Artist

Linda Greaves is a fascinating woman who has treasured her move to Sarasota from Maine in 1992. Since she has been here she has done much to preserve Sarasota's history and the reason people move here in the first honor and enjoy our beautiful environment.

She puts it best, "Painting landscapes or personal portraits in oils, acrylics, and pastels; assures the atmospheric conditions of that time and place. My spirit for the finished piece is seeing that momentary perspective or personality captured during the setting while working at the location. The reward is just possibly capturing that time in one's history."

The painting featured above was a pasture scene on Richardson Road she painted in late 1998. What stands there today is Sam's Club.

For more information where to view her works, please call 941-378-9261, or email her at:

Bee Biz a Sweet Deal for Mivilles

Beginning in 1939, the Sun Fed Honey Company provided a wide variety of marmalades and jellies to local and international customers.

East of the South Tamiami Trail, off Clark Road, Shagri-La Groves were owned and operated by A.J. "Pat" and Betty Miville. Originally from Canada, Pat Miville arrived in Sarasota County in the late 1930s. He and his father had been in the export business in New York, exporting honey and jam products.

Pat and Betty Miville settled in the Bee Ridge area because they liked the name, which, it turned out, came from early settlers' hunting wild honey in the area. The Mivilles began in a small wooden building that was used originally for honey-packing, but later had a concrete addition. In an interview with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in June 1959, Pat Miville stated that "he has always been up to his elbows in honey, like his father before him. He came from Canada, bringing thousands of bees with him, and he says jokingly, that business has been so bad at times that he had to go out hunting rabbits in order to eat."

Throughout the 1950s, Sun Fed Honey did not advertise its product. Locals throughout the county purchased the honey and the company's mail order business was huge. Word-of-mouth among customers brought additional orders, including some from the White House and the British Royal Court. Read more...

(photo credit: Sarasota County History Center)


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Every day of the year we highlight what took place in Sarasota's history, thanks to Whit Rylee and Tom Payne's extensive research and sense of humor. Frequently check our website's homepage to find out what occured today.

Also, be sure and check out Whit's website at:

This Saturday in 1928, Potter D'Orsey Palmer, grandson of Mrs. Bertha Palmer, married 16 year-old high school junior Eleanor Goldsmith in Fort Meade. 

His father, Honore Palmer, was so angered by his son's plans that he wired every one of the states' 67 judges to prevent the marraige. Unfortunately, Justice of the Peach Robert Walpole didn't receive any wire and performed the ceremony.

A happy ending? Not quite. The marriage  lasted only 14 months, ending in divorce. Palmer was eventually married four times.

(photo credit: Sarasota County History Center)


History Locator

This week we are honoring the Franklin Field historical marker. It reads:When Tony Jannus landed his airboat on Sarasota Bay near the Sarasota Yacht Club on North Gulfstream Avenue in April 1914, the local newspaper expressed hope that his arrival would spawn the beginning of a scheduled airline connection with Tampa. It was not until World War I, however, that serious attention was given to establishing an airport in Sarasota.

The U.S. Army Air Service had two bases near Arcadia, and once the United States had entered the war in 1917, community leaders approached local congressmen and War Department representatives about establishing an auxiliary field in the Sarasota area. Requirement for the field were minimal: a level tract of land 1000 x 3000 feet without stumps or roots, a building to store oil, water for radiators, and a pole for flag and tell tale (wind sock). To identify the landing field from the air, a sandy area in the shape of a large cross would be cleared of vegetation.

The selected site was north of Fruitville Road and east of Tuttle Avenue. Mayor George W. Franklin called a community service day for citizens to help prepare a field that would serve as a landing site for the Arcadia Army pilots.


Look Familiar?

As mentioned in earlier newsletters, your editor has been researching photos at the Sarasota County History Center and finding fasinating things. Take this photo for example, and have a look in your change jar. See any Buffalo Nickels?

Well, the photo is of Chief Iron Tail. Yes, he is the Indian Chief on the flip side of the coin. It is remarkable how much the coin's image looks like him.

Check back each week as we post more interesting finds. Heads or tails?

(photo credits: Unknown photographer)


What's There Now?

Last week's winner of the "Where Am I" quiz was Jan Jamieson. She guessed corrcectly what is in place of the Donald Roberts Furniture Store on U.S. 41. Click here to review the photo, question and answer of last week's challenge.

This Week's Clues: I was quite a popular spot to eat. Don't I look like a Swiss Chalet? What stands in my place today fronts a very busy intersection thay you probably pass quite often.

I think the business that is there should passout Swiss Chocolates to conjure up fond memories of me.

Please submit the form that allows you to guess the answer. Click here to fill it out, and next week we will announce the winner, and give the solution to the question. Answer early, since the first person with the correct answer, claims the prize. Contestants may win only once per month.

Our sponsor this week is Calloway European Automotive, Inc. The owner, Thomas J. Calloway, is very fond of Sarasota's history and would like to offer the winner of this week's contest a choice of two very generous services.

  1. Synthetic Oil Service - a $90 value (up to 6 qts, synthetic oil & filter)
  2. A/C Service - a $95 value (Recycle freon & charge with up to 1 lb of freon)



Mr. Calloway is ASE Master Certified for both foreign and domestic automobiles, and has 34 years experience.

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