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Albert Roehr Estate

Buildings: Sarasota History

Source: City of Sarasota Public Records
Credit: Sarasota History Alive!
Location: 847 Virginia Drive, Sarasota, FL

Sarasota History - Albert Roehr Estate photo

The Albert Roehr Estate was built in 1925-26 by Albert Roehr, Sr. of Sarasota Ornamental Iron Works, as the Roehr family home. It was later the residence of Mr. and Mrs. George Lindsay; Mr. Lindsay was the editor of the Sarasota Herald newspaper (later known as the Sarasota Herald Tribune).

The Estate is located in the Bay Haven Subdivision. Bay Haven was subdivided in 1925 by T.B. Ogburn and W.V. Coleman. Being a restricted subdivision, it attracted many wealthy people of the area including J.G. Whitfield, whose home is on the National Register, and W.V. Coleman, the developer. It boasts having the Bay Haven Elementary School and the Bay Haven Hotel (now the older section of the Ringling College of Art).

Albert Roehr bought the property from Ogburn and Coleman on May 13, 1925. The Roehrs began construction some time shortly thereafter and by late 1925 Martin and Clifford Roehr were living on the site. Construction lasted well into 1926, with deliveries of materials from the Hillcrest Manufacturing Company and Howard Lumber Company totaling in excess of $3,500. The August 1926 aerial photo of the Greater Sarasota Area shows much construction activity on the site. The home was probably completed in late 1926. The 1927-28 City Directory lists Albert Roehr Sr., his wife Anna and his son, Martin, as living in the home and its is thought that Albert's daughter Ann lived there for a time.

Albert Roehr Sr. was the patriarch of a significant family which included artists and inventors who contributed to agriculture, architecture, medicine and Sarasota's Society.

Political refugees from the Kaiser's Germany, the Roehr family arrived in Dayton, Ohio around 1893. At that time the family consisted of Albert Sr., his wife Anna, and their children Alex, Albert B., and Anna. Later children Martha, Martin and Clifford were born.

Upon arrival in Dayton, Albert bought a home and began work as a blacksmith continuing his trade which he learned in Germany. His business became successful and later included machine work. In the early 1920s Albert sold his business and moved to Sarasota around 1922 where his son had settled in the late 1910s.

In 1924, Albert and his sons Albert, Martin and Clifford, established Sarasota Ornamental Iron Works at Payne Terminal. The company specialized in ornamental iron work and machine work. Some of their ornamental work included the wrought iron gate on the Ringling Museum of Art, window grates for the Belle Haven Apartments, as well as work for homes designed by Dwight James Baum on St. Armands Key.

After the building Boom of 1924-26 had subsided, the call for ornamental work diminished and the need for heavy-duty farming equipment increased. To meet the demand, the shop designed and built such machines as the Muck Mobile, for plowing celery fields, a celery setter and a celery weigher.

By the early 1930s the shop had moved to what is now the south west corner of Fifth Street and North Washington Boulevard. Albert Roehr Sr. returned to Dayton soon after this move.

Albert's son, Albert B., became sole owner of the shop after buying out his brother, Martin. Their brother, Clifford, left the business early to marry Agnes T. Coleman, daughter of Realtor, W.V. Coleman, and neighbor to the Roehrs in Bay Haven. The marriage of Clifford and Agnes was not successful and by the 1940s Clifford was divorced and living in California.

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Roehr Sr. would later return to Florida where they lived until their passing in the 1940s.

On October 21, 1929, Emma B. Lindsay, the wife of George B. Lindsay purchased the estate from Albert Roehr Sr. George Lindsay had moved to Sarasota in 1925 when he, his son, David B. Lindsay, Paul Poynter and Edward Naugle established the Saraota Herald. The paper eventually merged with the Tribune becoming the Herald Tribune. George Lindsay was editor of the Herald and later the Tribune until his death in 1946.

Before moving to Sarasota, George Lindsay had graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary of Chicago in 1889 and was a Presbyterian Pastor in the mid-west from 1889 until 1906. Lindsay practiced law in Marion, Indiana from 1906 until 1911.

Purchasing the Marion Chronicle in 1908, he became sole owner of the paper in 1912. and held the position of Editor for many years.

After moving to Sarasota in 1925, he not only was Editor of the Sarasota Herald but according to his obituary was "active in civic politics and social affairs" of the community.

The Lindsays lived at the Roehr Estate until their deaths in the 1940s. This residence is an important reminder of the lives of these important people in Sarasota's history.