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Newsletter November 11, 2015

Published Wednesday, November 11, 2015 8:00 am
by Larry Kelleher

Drive By Gem

I pass this children’s day care in Laurel Park frequently, but have never stopped to look around and snap some photos. I’m glad I did, since this place has a lot of character and is a thriving business. Preserving older structures is well worth the effort and expense. Keep up the good work! 


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today in 1961, Sarasota was disrupted when two young ladies, aged 6 ½ and 11 years old ran away from home. William Boley and Charles Legg of the Police Department were called in to unsnarl traffic on Oriente Avenue after the two girls, elephants Ruth and Eva, escaped from trainer Nick Oullette..
(photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pretty as a Picture

This past weekend, the second annual Sarasota MOD weekend was a success and yours truly and John McCarty hosted attendees on 4 trolley tours of Sarasota School of Architecture on Siesta Key. There were walking tours of Lido Shores and many other activities to pay homage to this unique architecture that we can still enjoy in our community. Paul Rudolph was a major player in mid-century modern style, and though the original Riverview High School is no longer, we can still enjoy Rudolph’s unique sense of style. In the above photo, Riverview is in the final stages of its construction.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Ain't Life Grand?

Drop in sometime at Snake Village near Orlando. I seriously doubt this venue is still there, and certainly the cowboy alligator handler is long retired, but just look at those jaws. Someone needs to drop him off up the road at Gainesville. The ‘Gators’ would love him. 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)



In keeping with our Veteran’s Day theme today, I came across this engaging poster that Avenges Pearl Harbor in 1941. Thank you WWII Veteran’s for all your efforts, bravery, and lives to keep us safe.  

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Postcard of the Week

This week’s postcard is not of a hotel in Sarasota, but Miami Beach instead. The amenities are summed up with,“All outside rooms…each with Private Bath and Shower.” The Carlyle, c. 1940. Sounds like a great weekend getaway on the other coast, if you ask me. 

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources Hartig Collection) 


Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor: 

In the latest newsletter you sent out I saw the photo of Lou Burdette. Not Lew as you had it in that newsletter. Many years ago, he was visiting my Dad's neighborhood in Sarasota and was just down the street from my Dad's villa. He was visiting his half-sister. I was a friend of his sister so she saw me and had me come into her house. Then she did not introduce him just said this is my friend. I looked at him and said, "Aren't you Lou Burdette?” He frowned at me and opened his wallet and gave his half-sister a 10-dollar bill. Turns out she wanted to show him he was still famous. He bet every one forgot him. Anyway, lots more to talk about. I have a baseball card he signed and on that card is also Bobby Shantz who was the pitcher for the NY Yankees who lost to him in the '57 W.S. My wife is related to Bobby so I have both of their autographs on that card. (Editor's note: I checked the spelling of Mr. Burdette's name on several websites, and it is spelled both ways).

Greg Schifferle
Sarasota, FL

Dear Editor: 

A surprise addition to SARASOTA MOD festival weekend information is the fact that the very first modern house ever built in Sarasota was actually constructed a year before the beginning of the Sarasota School of Architecture, and was designed in 1940 not by an architect but by a major league baseball player, Billy Sullivan, who started his construction business as something to do in the off-season.

Sarasota’s first modern house still stands on the dead end of Oak Street just east of Highway 301, and was designed and built by Sullivan in what was then the current latest modern architectural style of Art Deco, sometimes called Streamline Moderne. Note the round windows, and corner windows that originally had marquees over them; plus a roof deck. Sullivan designed it as a garage apartment - he thought would be a sure seller, but the modern style was a bit ahead of its time and didn’t sell, so he and his family lived there for many years, adding a long living-room wing with the glass bricks and curved end. For more information, contact his daughter, Jill Sullivan Spelman (415) 561-0156 jill_spelman@yahoo.com


War Memorial

Sarasota's War Memorial first dedication was held Monday, November 12, 1928. It was part of the ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I.

The Sarasota Bay Post of the American Legion built the memorial at the center of Five Points. Designed by area architect Clare C. Hosmer, the memorial incorporated a flagpole placed there in 1917 to honor the Sarasota men who had answered the call to war earlier that spring. The parade for the flagpole dedication began at the Woman's Club (now Florida Studio Theater on Palm and Cocoanut), proceeded to Main Street, east along Main to the railroad tracks (Lemon Avenue) and back to the center of Five Points. Sarasota's band led the parade and the Red Cross auxiliary carried the flag. Read more...

(photo credit: Sarasota History Alive)


Who Am I?

The winner of our last contest was Tom Maxfield. Congratulations!

This is an image of Worth’s Grocery store ca. 1915 in downtown Sarasota. Today, I am a popular place and I know you see me most every time you are in the neighborhood. You might want to grab yourself a craft beer and ponder the question, Who am 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?


Your Treasures

An archivist at the John and Mable Ringling Museum will present a talk about how to preserve archival photos and memorabilia at Sarasota’s oldest African American church. Jarred Wilson (pictured) will share his expertise as Associate Registrar at the museum during a free workshop, “Save Our Hometown Family Treasures” 11:00 a.m. Saturday, November 14th at Bethlehem Bible Church, 1680 18th Street in Sarasota.

Participants will learn the latest techniques in protecting and restoring old photographs; find out how to conduct and record oral history interviews with family members; and get ideas about the institutions most interested in safeguarding personal collections. The event presented by the City of Sarasota’s Newtown Conservation Historic District (NCHD) project is the second in a series of lectures about historic preservation.
Workshop attendees who would like their family photographs included in a research report about Newtown’s 100 year history are asked to bring the items for scanning.

A free 30-page book, African American Treasures: A Preservation Guide produced by the Smithsonian will be distributed at the event while the supply lasts. For more information, visit on Facebook the Newtown Conservation Historic District project or email Vickie Oldman, the project consultant at: vickieoldham1@gmail.com.


50 Years of Civic Beautification Awards

In October, the Sarasota Garden Club was turned into a "Lounge of Stars" to celebrate 50 Years of Civic Beautification. The CBC Committee reviewed various properties that have previously won this award, searching for those which continually maintained outstanding landscaping. It was recognition of significant contributions to the beauty of the Sarasota area through excellence in landscaping a civic property with attractive curb appeal.

There were 33 awards that included commercial buildings, parks, churches and condominiums. The "Good Landscaping is Good Business" theme was evident in the chosen award winners. There was also a special visit by Mable Ringling (Jean Ruff) and John Ringling (Wilmer Pearson) [both pictured]. Our president, Olivia Haynes made an interesting speech about the history of the awards and the impressive certificates, revised by CJ Danna, were presented with humor to the honorees. 


Historical Exhibits and Educational Center

The Historic Chidsey Library Building has recently reopened as the Historical Exhibits and Educational Center. The Center’s “soft” opening on October 23rd was well attended by over 70 people who viewed the recently reinstalled “Paul Rudolph: The Florida Houses" exhibit. Since its creation in 2001, the exhibit has returned home to Sarasota after being exhibited in approximately 20 architecture schools and museums. Local architect, architectural historian, and author Joe King gave a presentation on Paul Rudolph and the houses he designed and built in Florida.

The presentation was given among the exhibit to allow the audience to focus on its elements. Joe's presentation concept was that each photo and drawing has so much detail and interesting interaction of shape and materials that the audience could focus on whichever was in their individual field of vision and glean their own insights while the exhibit was being described by its curator. Joe gave a history of the exhibit and how the concept for it was shared with University of Arizona Professor Christopher Domin. The architectural models in the exhibit were made by Christopher’s students. Joe King and Christopher Domin also coauthored a book with the same title as the exhibit and is available in the Chidsey gift shop.

Come see the “Paul Rudolph: The Florida Houses" exhibit and learn why Paul Rudolph is one of the most celebrated mid-century, Sarasota School of Architecture architects. The center is located at 701 N. Tamiami Trail and is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Saturday hours are from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.