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Bee Ridge Woman's Club

Markers: Sarasota History

Location: 4919 Andrew Avenue, Sarasota, FL

Sarasota History - Bee Ridge Woman's Club photo

The Bee Ridge Woman's Club has been an integral part of the growth and development of the Bee Ridge community, providing social outlet, community pride, and staunch support for many public interest projects since the early 1900s. Organized by a group of women in 1915 as the Get-Together-Club, the group met and held social events in the Bee Ridge Hotel, owned by Mrs. Potter Palmer whose Sarasota-Venice Company was engaged in extensive farm, citrus grove, and residential development of the Sarasota County area. Beginning with eleven charter members, the group became a full-fledged women's club in 1917 with the adoption of a constitution and bylaws and was renamed the Bee Ridge Woman's Club. In 1919, the club joined the General Federation of Women's Clubs, a national organization. In April 1920, on a motion by Ethel MacKintosh, a committee was formed to locatea a suitable lot for building a clubhouse. John MacKintosh, Ethel's husband and the architect who designed the Bee Ridge Presbyterian Church, drew plans for a clubhouse on which contractor Thomas H. Crisp began construction in June 1922.

Following completion of construction at a total of $1, 150, the first meeting in the new clubhouse convened in October 1923. Presiding was Mrs. John MacKintosh, president. Mrs. W.S. Harris was vice president, Mrs. S.L. Flye, secretary, and Mrs. Charles Mills, treasurer. In 1925, the club was incorporated and its property nearly doubled through the donation of a lot by Mrs. W.S. Ashton. Since its inception, the club has taken an active interest in local educational and cultural matters. It contributed substantial support to Gillespie School, which ranged from purchasing Christmas candy to funding a new well and numerous repairs to the school. A club library, begun in 1917, was discontinued following severe storm damage in 1927 to the grounds and the building. Mrs. Harry Gocio, president at that time, oversaw renovation of the grounds to which she donated several oak and pine trees which are still standing. Potluck suppers have been held on the third Thursday of each month since 1923. In 1953, the Bee Ridge Junior Woman's Club formed as an affiliate which was chartered in 1956.

Dedicated in 1989 by the Sarasota Historical Commission