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Newsletter August 5, 2015

Published Wednesday, August 5, 2015 8:00 am
by Larry Kelleher

Drive By Gem

I found this very cozy and appealing home East-of-the-Trail while I was driving around between the constant rains we can’t seem to shake. I had just read an article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune about the high-prices of homes West-of-the-Trail. Now the same thing will eventually happen across U.S. 41in only a matter of years, if the economy continues to grow and demand for these primo locations doesn’t let up. Personally, I find it to be disturbing that the pleasant one-story scale of neighborhoods are now being usurped for large trophy houses that are not compatible with the charm of smaller places.


Pretty as a Picture

I think I ran this photo a year or so ago; I like it a lot despite the repetition. For those of you who do not recognize the spot, it was taken in the area just beyond the New Pass Bridge on the southern tip of Longboat Key looking towards the Sarasota mainland.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Just Jane

Out here, sitting on the deck of our favorite cottage, on Admiralty Bay, counting the huge cruise ships heading up to Alaska, it’s hard to imagine soggy Sarasota. But, I’ve not left behind my love for historic homes and we ambled into one on Saturday, mainly to escape the heat at the Annual Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival. 
The Haller House here was built in 1866 (16 years before our historic Bidwell-Wood House in Sarasota) and is “virtually the way the Haller family left it in the 19th century.” No wiring, no heat and almost no plumbing! The only ‘squatters’ have been a family of deer. I figure the Historic Whidbey Organization (www.historicwhidbey.org) would need to hire a restoration expert like Pat Ball, for at least a year, to adequately restore this to a house museum.
Back in Sarasota, we have several homes waiting to be preserved. For example, our newest listing in our Vintage Real Estate section, the funky, fun, former farmhouse at 1700 Alta Vista Street is perfect for a large family to enjoy its one-of-a-kind charms. That’s what I love most about these older homes; they are all unique. Just like the two huge condos in the Orange Blossom building on Main Street. Though they share a similar layout and views, they are totally different, equally gorgeous, and have sturdily survived many a hurricane, since the 1920s.

If you’re looking for something out of town, in a quieter neighborhood, check out the serene listing at 2361 Fiesta Drive, with nearly an acre in which to relax.

Today, we’re off to Chicago, one of my most favorite “architectural parklands” which gave us Owen Burns, Bertha Palmer, Joseph Lord, Andrew McAnsh and a host of visionaries who saw paradise in Sarasota.


Ain't Life Grand?

"Tidy-Whities" anyone? Looks like the preference was white briefs over boxer shorts in this shot. With the advent of electric or gas dryers, the need for the clothesline vanished. I was never 'cotton' to the idea that nosy neighbors could see what undergarments we had worn all week on wash day. 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)



One could take the message of this poster in a couple of different ways; however, I am certain this WWII effort was quite important to save metal and make ammunition for our troops in a war abroad. The poster states:

Save Your Cans. Help Pass the Ammunition. Prepare Your Tin Cans for War.

  1. Remove Tops and Bottoms
  2. Take off Paper Labels
  3. Wash Thoroughly
  4. Flatten Firmly

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Eagle Point

Eagle Point Club is now a gated community with luxury homes on Roberts Bay. Almost 90 years ago this land was owned by Bertha Palmer, the multi-millionaire widow of Potter Palmer who, among many other enterprises, built and owned the famous Palmer House Hotel in Chicago.

Mrs. Palmer came to the Sarasota County area in 1910. She could envision this beautiful coast as an American Riviera. With her sons and other investors she formed the Sarasota-Venice Company to buy and manage tens of thousands of acres of land in what is now Sarasota County. She established cattle ranches and citrus groves. She had a winter home at Spanish Point which she called “The Oaks.” Wealthy friends from Chicago built homes nearby. One is now the Field Club and one is the Edson Keith mansion on Phillippi Creek in one of our Sarasota County parks.

In the midst of opulence and excess, the wealthy required rustic retreats. A favorite retreat in Mrs. Palmer’s circle was Tepee, a dude ranch in Wyoming owned and operated by Mike Evans, a charming Englishman. When Palmer saw the Eagle Point property she thought it would make a perfect rustic fishing and hunting camp for her friends. She hired Evans to develop and run Eagle Point Camp, as it was called. It opened in January 1917. Guests the first year were prominent corporation heads from Chicago, New York, Boston, and the West who were fond of Tepee and Evans. They fished, sometimes catching 100 trout in an hour. They rode horses to shoot quail, turkey, and deer. In the evening they had dinner in the clubhouse and often played bridge. Read more...

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today in 1903, Sarasota finally gets to own its streets and roads. Until this date, the Florida Mortgage and Investment Company, Ltd. Of Great Britain held title to all the thoroughfares. Colonel Gillespie (pictured), acting as the company attorney, officially signed the streets over to himself as the Mayor of Sarasota.  

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)



Who Am I?

The winner of our last contest was Rick Garfinkel. Congratulations!

With all the talk about Sarasota possibly getting a water taxi to reduce the traffic burden, just think, this is not something new. In fact, I was a ferry that went all the way to St. Petersburg and back. Good times! Anyhow, it is time for you to try and recall my name – Who Was I?

Click here to submit your answer for this weeks quiz, click here to view the last challenge and correct answer.

(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

This is Rose Villa fronting Beach Road on Siesta Key. I will have to rely on our viewers to let me know if it is still there and has the same name. I rarely venture out to Siesta Key, due to my busy schedule and not wanting to get snagged in traffic. If you can provide some info on the place, Click Here.

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)