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Newsletter April 15, 2015

Published Wednesday, April 15, 2015
by Larry Kelleher

Drive By Gem

Here’s another cutie west of Osprey Avenue in the Bungalow Hill area. I am always drawn to that part of town; guess because I grew near there. A lot of properties have changed over the years, but some still remain charming little cottages. Life was a lot simpler then in many ways.


Pretty as a Picture

“A pretty girl, is like a melody…” Ahh…it’s the Sun Debs at the Lido Beach Casino pool; what an attractive group of young women. Many of you are still with us, and may have attended the Sarasota High School Grand Reunion this past Sunday. Care to share any of your stories? Contact us, here.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Just Jane

Make sure you watch the video of this gorgeous, move-in-ready 1920s Dutch Colonial, or better yet contact Keith Kropp and ask him for an onsite inspection of the newest listing in our Vintage Homes Section.

It is located on Fiesta Drive in the Ridge Wood Heights area, within walking distance of Riverview High School, sits on nearly an acre of lush lawn, and is surrounded by well-tended landscaping. The magnificent, old Banyan tree is where the current owner taught ‘Hammock Yoga,’ high in its branches.

You’d think a home this mature would require much needed attention, but not so. It is turn-key, with lots of history under its eaves, and invites you to spend an afternoon reading on the screened in porch overlooking the expansive lawn. Read all about it, but seeing it will make you fall in love with it. A large family, that enjoys entertaining guests, would be perfect to fill its 5 bedrooms.

If the children don’t call dibs on the attic bonus room, I’d turn that into an artist’s retreat real fast! Everything was updated in the 1980s, and still looks great today. Doc Wilson, who had his medical office in his home on South Orange Avenue for years, lived here, too. But hurry, it’s not going to last long, at this price.

We lost a true Sarasota treasure this month, Jenny Wallenda will be sorely missed by her family of circus fame, as well as those of us who have watched her family for years, with our mouths wide open in awe and terror.  We extend our deepest sympathy to all of the Wallendas.

Ain't Life Grand?

This is a photo of Roy Cook, who was an Editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune during the 1950s. I imagine he is approaching a deadline and is a bit stressed-out; or could it be he can’t find his shoebox of receipts to file his taxes today? Could you file for an extension in the 1950s? Any accountants out there? Feel free to chime in here.  

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources, Bill Blackstone Collection)


Spring Tea

On Mother's Day weekend, Saturday May 9, 2015 at the Laurel Oak Country Club, a lovely tea will take place and you're invited. Leigh Anne Brown will present "Portrait of a Bride, an Evolving Silhouette." The program depicts the life of the average American woman as seen through a Bride's eyes for each era from 1890 to the present. Bridal gowns will be on display.

The Laurel Oak Country Club is located at 2700 Gary Player Boulevard, off Bee Ridge Road East. Tickets are $40 at the door. For more information call, 941-484-0769.

The Payne Chapel AME Assembly Church

One of the most remarkable historical rehabilitation projects in downtown Sarasota can be found on the corner of Central Avenue and Fifth Street.

The Payne Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized after the turn of the 20th century. A group of Methodists who had been attending Bethlehem Baptist Church or the AME Church on the Manatee River in Bradenton, got together and decided it was time to organize an AME church in Sarasota. Members of the congregation given credit for organizing the church include The Reverend T.H. Arnold, Leonard Reid, Jerry Allen, Richard Grice and the Reverend C. Conely.

In 1903, the Florida Mortgage & Investment Company conveyed a deed for a lot at the corner of Mango Avenue and 11th Street (now Central Avenue and 5th Street) for the church. By 1905, the church was active enough to host the AME Church of Florida Annual Convention of Sunday School Workers. Colonel John Hamilton Gillespie, mayor of Sarasota and representing the Florida Mortgage & Investment Company, was one of the speakers at the convention.

The first one-room frame building on the site was replaced in 1914 with a bigger frame building, complete with a church bell donated by a winter visitor. This served the congregation until 1926, when a hurricane destroyed the building. Plans were drawn up immediately to replace the church on the same site. Money was donated, and with day and night construction, the church was completed in 1927.

The church was named Payne Chapel after Daniel Alexander Payne, who was elected AME bishop in 1852. For more than fifty years the building served the black community. However, by the late 1960s, the congregation was declining and the building was deteriorating. A new Payne Chapel was built on 19th Street and Central Avenue, and the original building was abandoned in 1975. Read more...


(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)

Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today in 1927, “The Machine That Replaces Forty Men.” (Try selling that to Mae West). A.P. Stuckey announced demonstrations of a sisal-stripping machine on a vacant lot on Seventh Street. The machine was invented by W.F. Marx, and promoted by Mr. Stuckey after his trip to Mexico. The machine is supposed to greatly expedite the laborious hand work expended in harvesting the Mexican crop (see photo). What exactly is sisal? Well, it’s…eh…well, it’s sisal. That’s all. If you knew anything about making rope you’d know! (We don’t either).

(photo credit: Wikipedia)


Who was I?

Okay, I know…this one appears to be too easy for our savvy quiz participants. Yes, as you guessed, I am, MacKinlay Kantor, Pulitzer Prize winning author and member of the Liar’s Club at the old Plaza Restaurant in downtown Sarasota. But do any of you recall my dog’s name? That is your challenge this week – “Who am I?”

Click here to submit your answer, as well as view the correct answer to the last challenge.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)




Your award this week is the book, John Hamilton Gillespie - The Scot Who Saved Sarasota by Jeff LaHurd. The Friend's of the Sarasota County History Center generously provided this prize. Please consider becoming a member of the Friends; they have some exciting programs coming up soon. Visit them here.

If you would like to be a sponsor of our "Where Am I?" quiz, please call us at (941) 951-7727. It only cost $25 per week for us to set up your ad, and then you only have to provide a prize for the winner. What could be easier?


Postcard of the Week

Have you seen this place before? It was originally called Central Park Manor Hotel; sorry but I don’t recall the name of it today. Many small hotels dotted our landscape in the 1920s when this was a boom town. Glad to see some of them remaining, but they have turned into affordable apartments. Not a bad deal in an ever-growing expensive downtown.

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)



As if you need reminding – today is the deadline to file your taxes. This year I filed for an extension, since I have been quite busy with other matters. So, I thought I’d show you what some ‘Tax Day’ letters in Chinese look like. Pretty cool, but still a depressing subject.
(image credit: Words-Chinese.com)