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Seaboard Railroad

Markers: Sarasota History

Location: Southwest corner of Lemon and 1st Street, Sarasota, FL

Sarasota History - Seaboard Railroad photo

On this site in 1903, the U.S. and West Indies Railroad and Steamship Company built a depot. The railroad, subsequently incorporated into the Seaboard Air Line Railway, provided great impetus to the town's turn-of-the-century progress. Trains brought passengers and manufactured goods to Sarasota and took local products such as fish, citrus, lumber, and vegetables to northern markets. The tracks entered the town along Lemon Avenue, crossed Main Street and curved south to terminate on a pier extending into the bay where commercial fish houses were built.

In 1905 and 1912, tracks were built to the agricultural and commercial centers of Fruitville, Bee Ridge, and Venice. When Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus established winter quarters in Sarasota in 1927, tracks were extended to the circus grounds east of the city. Daily train and sleeper service from Sarasota to points north ultimately succumbed to the convenience of the automobile. The Seaboard Air Line Railway and Atlantic Coast Line Railroad merged in 1967 to form the Seaboard Coast Line which continued train service at its station on east Main Street.

Dedicated in 1987 by the Sarasota County Historical Commission