For nearly thirty years the Lido Casino attracted residents and tourists for pool and Gulf swimming, dining, dancing, shopping, and enjoying the beach. Activities such as swim meets, beauty pageants, and school and social events, were held here.
The exceptional Art Deco style casino, designed by renowned architect, Ralph Twitchell, was recognized in part for its cast concrete seahorses, glass block, and murals of tropical scenes. The City of Sarasota acquired the necessary land from the John Ringling Estate and secured federal funds from the Works Progress Administration for construction of the casino. More than 1000 people attended the formal opening in December 1940. The city considered renovating the casino in the 1960s, but had it torn down in 1969 and replaced it with a smaller building.
Ralph Spencer Twitchell
Ralph Twitchell was a major contributor to the architectural history of Sarasota from his arrival in 1926 to his death in 1978. After earning degrees in architecture from Columbia University, Twitchell came to Sarasota to work with Dwight James Baum, architect for the El Vernona Hotel, John and Mable Ringling home, and the Sarasota County Courthouse. One year later, he left Baum's office and continued to use the Mediterranean Revival style of his work with Baum in the designs for his own company. Twitchell's first independent project was a group of homes in the Whitfield Estates subdivision in the 1920s.
During the 1930s, Twitchell's style included a greater emphasis on local building materials and a more modern design which responded to the needs of the Florida climate. His 1932 Craftsman style Out-of-Door School library was built of cypress. The Art Deco style of the Lido Casino reflected the modern influences which contributed to Twitchell's work from the 1940s on. With Paul Rudolph, his partner for four years after World War II, Twitchell attracted many young architects to Sarasota. Their collective work later gained an international reputation as the Sarasota School of Architecture.
Dedicated in 1996 by the Sarasota County Historical Commission
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