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Newsletter January 27, 2016

Published Wednesday, January 27, 2016 8:00 am
by Larry Kelleher

Drive By Gem

I love the colors used on this charmer; they all tie together so effectively. And, did I mention how much I like porches? This one is not screened-in and I bet it is comfortable and inviting to the homeowners and their guests, despite mosquitoes, gnats, and no-see-ems. Heck, that is what citronella candles and lemon grass are for, right? This weekend, why not do a little sight-seeing in your own town and find some gems of your own; they are hidden everywhere (probably on either side of a McMansion).

Just Jane

Season is upon us, so I wanted to give you a “head’s up” about a few great events happening soon…
Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota is holding a benefit on Thursday, January 28th at Sarasota Architectural Salvage. Check their Facebook page for more details and be sure to tell Jesse White thanks for allowing these good folks to hold their event each year in his very cool salvage business at 1314 10th Street. The event is from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. and tickets are $30.00.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Real Estate Editor, Harold Bubil will be the “fascinating as always” moderator, at the Historical Society’s February 9th “Conversations at the Crocker.” Come early to get a seat before the 7:00 p.m. talk about: "The Great Developers: Past and Present." Free to members and $10.00 for guests. The Historical Society is located at 1260 12th Street, between N. Trail and Cocoanut Avenue. Visit them at www.hsosc.com for more details.

On February the 17th, don’t miss the Light Chasers of the Sun Coast (www.lightchasersinc.com) artists, who will spend the morning painting at the Phillippi Estate Park. Their works will be judged at the Farmhouse Market (www.farmhousemarket.org) beginning at noon. You will be able to buy their works, wet, right off of the easels! You can even bring your leashed dog, too.

Artwork by Light Chaser Artist, Dominic Avant


Ain't Life Grand?

This 1907 postcard says it is “A typical street scene in Tallahassee, Fla.” This is all well and good and it is interesting to see the man driving his buckboard with the help of an ox. It looks as though this bovine left a hefty deposit on the dirt street, with no one to pick up his droppings. Sounds like the perfect environment for state legislators to mingle. But, who is going to clean up their messes? 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Postcard of the Week

It’s not often you see a dirigible flying close to the shore, especially in Miami Beach. This early postcard offers no explanation as to why, but I am also wondering why the American flag is being displayed on a pole in the water. Your thoughts?

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Our County Treasures

Since I spend so much research time at Sarasota County Historical Resources, I thought I might acquaint you with some of their collections. This decorative pin is one of John Hamilton Gillespie’s from when he served in the military. In 1886 he was sent by the Florida Mortgage and Investment Company to save the colony that settled here after a less than happy beginning. The Charles Swain family donated an extensive amount of Gillespie’s objects to the county about six years ago. Only a small number of items are on display at the Historic Chidsey Library Building, and I am happy to showcase additional ones periodically.  

Pioneers of Sarasota County

By Sharon “Sheri” Holly Johns Roy

The thought of using the word “pioneers” and “Sarasota County” in the same sentence might be considered an oxymoron by most. What does Sarasota, the modern city with its rapidly rising skyscrapers, have to do with “pioneers?”

For me, the story begins over 30 years ago. While living in North Carolina, I began a search for my Florida family roots-- in particular-- in Sarasota County.

I remember the old family stories, some of which were true; some of which had the embellishments of an oft-told tale. That’s when the sorting began. If the stories were true, they most certainly could be documented. If not, they would gently be placed aside.

The Journey begins …

Great-grandfather Charles Murray Robinson (pictured with his wife, Mary Jane) was born on 5 April, 1855 in Tarbert, County Kerry, Ireland. He departed from London to New York. The ship’s passenger list indicates Robinson traveled alone. He arrived in New York on the steamer The Queen at age 16 on 13 MAY, 1871. Whether it was to escape the poverty of Ireland or to seek a better life in the United States, he would never see his family or his Ireland again.

Life as a Sailor…

Robinson began his new life on the West Coast of Florida as a sailor. He plied a cargo of hogs, chickens, sheep, fish, cattle and lumber, consigned to Sarasota, Punta Gorda, Cedar Keys, Manatee River and Key West. Tampa was not included in the ports because of its shallow waters.

In 1900, Robinson purchased 200 acres in an area known as Hayden, with a house at the eastern end of Wisconsin Avenue. He became a farmer; supervising a large grove. The last remaining parcel of Robinson’s purchase on Wisconsin was sold in 2015. Read more...

(photo credits: Courtesy of Sheri Holly Johns Roy)


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Tomorrow, in 1926, famous humorist, Will Rogers, performed at the Mira Mar Auditorium, part of the Mira Mar Complex on Palm Avenue.

(photo credit: Wikipedia)


Who and Where Am I?

The winner of our last contest was Renee Mathews. Congratulations! (It was very difficult to choose the winner, since so many people had a nearly correct answer. Renee's was the closest to being right).

This 1926 image of a beach casino in Sarasota looks like a sturdy and inviting structure. They weren’t just used for bathers in the daytime. At night, there was entertainment and more than likely some libations to enjoy (though prohibition was in effect). However, I stray…your challenge is Who and Where 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?


Pretty as a Picture

When I was a youngster, I dreamed of attending the Out-of-Door School on Siesta Key. This 1920s photo shows the school’s bathing beach and diving platform. Note the sandbar in Big Pass, even at that time. There was no controversy about it in those days. The bathing beach was in the area that is now the Banyan Club.  

(photo courtesy of Polly Raoul Clark)