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Bidwell-Wood House

Markers: Sarasota History

Credit: City of Sarasota
Location: 1260 12th Street, Sarasota, FL

Sarasota History - Bidwell-Wood House photo

In 1882 this "handsome residence" was under construction for Alfred and Mary Bidwell on land Mary purchased from the State of Florida for one dollar an acre. Before construction the Bidwell's apparently occupied the detached kitchen-dining room with a sleeping loft. This home later stood in an area which later became part of the city. Sarasota was then in vast Manatee County, which extended from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Okeechobee and from the Manatee River to Charlotte Harbor. Bidwell, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., had his store 1 ½ miles away at the bay on a sandy main street, now named Cunliff Lane.

Alfred Bidwell was one of a group implicated in the murder of his neighbor, Charles E. Abbe, Sarasota's first postmaster - U.S. Commissioner. Abbe was shot December 27th, 1884 in front of Bidwell's store. The investigation revealed a secret society, Sara Sota Vigilance Committee, led by Bidwell. He was convicted and sentenced to death, commuted to life, later released. The house was purchased in 1895 by Annie and Luke Wood as a winter home and occupied by them; then by their daughter Ethel until her death in 1966. The house was moved to the corner of Hatton Street and Euclid Avenue in 1977 from U.S. 41-301 and Wood Street by the Historical Society of Sarasota County, Inc., with community assistance.

Dedicated in 1979 by the Sarasota Historical Commission