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DeMarcay Hotel

Buildings: Sarasota History

Source: City of Sarasota public records
Credit: Sarasota History Alive
Location: 27 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL

Sarasota History - DeMarcay Hotel photo

The DeMarcay Hotel, a two-story rectangular-plan Mission Style structure, located at 27 South Palm Avenue was built by general contractor, W.R. Carman. He also constructed the adjacent Mira Mar Apartment complex. Ground was broken for the extensive undertaking on October 5, 1922, and Mr. Carman accepted the challenge to either complete the project, or to suffer financial penalities.

Andrew McAnsh, the promoter/developer of the Mira Mar Apartment (and later the Mira Mar Hotel, demolished in December, 1982), was born in Scotland in 1874 and arrived in North America at age six. The upward rise of Mr. McAnsh of Chicago included a start in haberdashery, followed by the grocery and restaurant businesses and politics where he served "in the assessor's office in the city of Chicago," and as member of Governor Tanner's staff (Governor of Illinois).

He switched to furniture manufacturing and operated factories in Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina. Entering the "building game," Mr. McAnsh began his construction-backing career with a sixty-apartment complex, the Cathedral at Chapel Hill, in Wichita, Kansas and is credited with having completed 105 apartments within a three-block site in Chicago. Mr. McAnsh played a significant role in the development of the City of Sarasota, beginning with the development of the Mira Mar Apartments which integrated commercial ground floors with apartments above, and followed by the erection of the Mira Mar Hotel, the first large-scale luxury hotel built in the City of Sarasota.

The architectural detail of the DeMarcay Hotel resembles the Mira Mar Apartments. Mission Revival Style elements, including shaped parapets, viga rafter ends and ogee-arched windows with label lintels are similar to those seen in the Mira Mar Apartment complex. Horizontal and vertical strips of wood intersect to create a checkered pattern, which is embellished with wood cut-out quatrefoils - the intersecting slats are used at the transoms of the arched entrances located at the first and fifth bay of the DeMarcay and reoccurs at the small alley entrance which connects it with 37 South Palm Avenue. The entire block frontage was connected by a cantilevered wood canopy or marquee which protected the shop fronts of the stores located at ground level. Mr. Ralph C. Caples (representing Mr. McAnsh) petitioned the City Council to widen by five feet the sidewalks in front of the complex.

The 1923-1924 Sarasota City Directory lists the structure as #207, "Mira Mar Apartments." By 1926, the site is listed as the "DeMarcay Hotel with the DeMarcay Café located to the south at 211 Palm Avenue South." An advertisement which appeared in the local press of 1924 listed the DeMarcay's Mira Mar Café as "positively the finest café in Florida." According to the 1936 City Directory the hotel became the "Palm Hotel," with Mrs. Geneva Wrahse as manager.

The former DeMarcay Hotel and the Roth Cigar Factory, directly behind it on Mira Mar Court, are significant for the integrity of architectural features, and are listed separately from the Mira Mar Apartments. This is based not only on their historical associations, but on the current excellent and intact condition of the two buildings.