John & Mary Erbs House
Buildings: Sarasota History
The John and Mary Erbs Home, c. 1925, is located at 651 Ohio Place within the Osprey Ave. Subdivision of the Laurel Park neighborhood of the City of Sarasota. The house is a good example of the Craftsman Bungalow style associated with construction during the Florida Land Boom of the 1920's.
The exact date of construction on this site is not known. The address, however, is first listed in the 1925 Sarasota City Directory. The structure also appears on the 1925 Sanborn Fire Insurance map for this neighborhood, the earliest Sanborn maps for this part of Sarasota. These dates are consistent with dates of major construction activity in the Laurel Park area in general and Ohio Place (then Ohio Ave.) in particular.
The property and structures were purchased by J.H. and Mary Erbs from A.J. Stephens on May 28, 1923. The property was owned by them until January 22, 1934. During that time city directories show the property occupied variously by the owner and tenants in both front and rear. The occupation of John Erbs is shown both as a carpenter (1926) and janitor of Southside School (1930).
The property was purchased in 1934 by Frank and Gertie Wetmore of Hart, Michigan. His occupation is listed as lawyer in the 1936 city directory. They owned the property until 1944. During that time the property was occupied first by the owners (1936 directory) and later by a series of tenants in both front and rear. One tenant of interest is a Mr. William H. Coe whose occupation in the 1940 city directory is listed as managing editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
The property was transferred again on February 29, 1944 to Okle and Anne Taylor. They personally occupied the property during their entire eight year ownership, with no tenant listed for the rear property. Okle's occupation was listed variously as painter and mechanic, Anne's as clerk.
Okle's 1968 obituary describes him as a native of the Bee Ridge community born in 1914. He was a veteran of WW II. He and Anne raised three sons.
The John & Mary Erbs House was locally designated by the City of Sarasota in 1995.