Venice Apartment District
Markers: Sarasota History
John Nolen, world renowned city planner, designed the City of Venice so residents could work and relax in harmony with nature and with each other. A central business area, outlying farms, open green spaces, and a wide variety of housing choices helped create an environment for a balanced lifestyle.
In the mid-1920s, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers implemented much of Nolen's plan and built mostly single family units. The Apartment District provided multiple-family residential units, and illustrated Nolen's commitment to residential diversity. The District is bounded by Granada Avenue, Harbor Drive, Armada Road, and Park Boulevard, and surrounds a park.
In 1926, M.G. Worrell, a Tampa builder, constructed eight 8-unit apartment buildings on Armada Road and Menendez Street, each valued at $22,500 in 1928. The BLE Realty owned two more 8-unit buildings. These 10 apartment buildings make up the bulk of the multi-family homes in the District.
Some of the characteristics of the BLE-mandated Mediterranean Revival Architectural style found in these apartments are tile roofs, stucco exteriors, covered porches or loggias, and decorative medallions.
In 1927, the Venice Investment Company built a 14-unit complex at the northeast corner of the park in the District. Architect Harrison Gill of New York and Venice designed the building with one-story wings which joined a two-story central section to form a courtyard. Originally, the apartments were named "Casa Bonita,", or Beautiful House. In the 1930s, this structure served as quarters for patients of the Florida Medical Center and their families, and became known as Bungalow Court. During World War II, it housed nurses stationed at the Venice Army Air Base. The building is now called the Granada Apartments.
On the National Register of Historic Places, the eleven buildings of the Apartment District surround John Nolen Park. The park in the neighborhood served as communal front and back yards so apartment residents could visit each other and relax. These multi-family units augmented the rental units over downtown stores.
The numerous green areas in Nolen's plans reflect the influence of the English Garden City movement popular in the first quarter of the 20th century.
Dedicated in 1997 by the Sarasota County Historical Commission