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Newsletter April 6, 2016

Published Wednesday, April 6, 2016 9:00 am
by Larry Kelleher

Drive By Gem

I normally present you a home or building that is at least 50 years-old, and characterized by true vintage charm. Today, I am veering away from that premise and showing you the result of tearing down a lovely heritage home, West of the Trail, and what replaced it.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy tasteful progress, but this lacks that on many levels. Now another mega home takes up two lots, and ruins the character of an established neighborhood. Homes like this belong somewhere else, and probably not in Sarasota. Have you noticed that at least 50% of the new homes being constructed here have stonework on them? There is nothing wrong with the design, in fact I like stonework on walls or columns of residences, or commercial buildings. What I object to is the location. Homes of that design seem to be suited for the Carolinas, or mountainous areas where stone is plentiful. Come on builders – if you insist on tearing down homes to construct oversized homes, please give us something remarkable. Sarasota deserves your best efforts!


Ain't Life Grand?

Styrofoam weights? How heavy could they be? Enough to make you point your toes towards the Gulf of Mexico to keep your balance, that’s how much.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Postcard of the Week

Can you imagine a time without smart phones? Google Maps or MapQuest weren’t even a distant dream, and people actually relied on directional signage. Granted this one, that was adjacent to the Sarasota Terrace Hotel, was promotional, but it was such a great landmark when I was a kid in the 1950s. I love the fact that Havana is one of the destinations (pre-Fidel Castro). Perhaps a local artisan or carpenter could reproduce it and request the city and D.O.T. to approve locating it where it used to stand. If you are interested in forming an exploratory committee, with the mission to recreate and return some of our early Sarasota landmarks to the community, please let us know (Click here).

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)



Honestly, it just dawned on me, the ephemera I selected for you coincides with the 'Postcard of the Week' in today’s newsletter. Try to picture the Guidepost where it stood near where the bottom-most palm tree is located on the brochure above. It was meant to be. 

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Our County Treasures

Stew’s on! I wonder if anyone at J.H. Gillespie’s house ever summoned the ‘Colonel’ and his lovely second wife, Blanche to the table in that fashion. No matter how they were called to dinner, the Gillespies certainly used this serving spoon to serve up the dish of the day. 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Pretty as a Picture

Ahh…this is how I remember the Chamber of Commerce “Pagoda” building while growing up in Sarasota. This image appears to be in the early ‘60s because of the landscape I recall at the time. The cocoanut palm really sets off the roof line. Note the Australian pine tree in the foreground – I miss seeing them peppered throughout the community. I realize they are an invasive species, but when the wind blows and the needles make a ‘whispering’ sound, you may just change your mind about banning them. If you grew up here you will probably remember easily climbing them and building a ‘fort’ in one or two. In my neighborhood, it was all the rage with the kids on my block (Hyde Park Street). 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)

Gulf View Inn Will Be Scene of Revelry Throughout Night

(Editor's note: I enjoy the writing style of old publications. This is an article from the Sarasota Times in 1925)

Gulf View Inn will present its most festive appearance of the year tonight – New Year’s Eve, when with many new decorative features the hundreds of patrons will be greeted with the jazziest of dance music and the most unexpected of favors and noise makers, with which they will blend the sad farewells to 1925 and the most joyous welcomes to 1926.

Reservations have been making of the standing list of unexpected guests, a long one. Diners, who enjoy the gorgeous Florida sunsets over the gulf, will no doubt begin their last evening of frivoling in 1925, at an early hour by motoring through the cool breezes of the evening along the snow-like concourse at the water’s edge, and dining in the early evening. Reservations will not be held at the Inn after 9:00 p.m., because of the vast numbers of Sarasotan’s and tourists who wish to spend their New Year’s Eve at the rustic inn by the sea.

Troy’s ten-piece orchestra, which has won such fame for giving to the dance lovers varied programs, will on this occasion present several new numbers, which they have been working up, with features. Read more... 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today in 1911, plans were drawn up and accepted for B.L. Honore’s $17,000 home on Yellow Bluffs. Known as The Acacias, the completed structure had nearly 7,000 square feet of living space, not counting porches and balconies. It was constructed by contractor J.S. Maus.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Where am I?

The winner of our last contest was Bridget Donahue. Congratulations! Please email me your mailing address, so I can send you your prize. My email address is editor@floridahistoryalive.com.

These kids are just adorable. The caps and capes make the day! Graduation Day is a special time, even for little tykes. Now it is up to you to pass your exams and answer, “Where am I?” Click here to submit your answer for this week's 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?


Avondale Historical Marker Parade

On Saturday, April 2, 2016, the Avondale Subdivision residents conducted a parade through their acclaimed neighborhood to dedicate their historical marker at Irving Street and Osprey Avenue. This is their second one; the first one is located on Bahia Vista near U.S. 41. Fun was had by all, and now Avondale has two historical markers for your enjoyment.

(photo credit: Ruthmary Williams, Chair of the Historical Commission, Marker Committee)



Dear Editor: I was a little young to have met the lovely ladies shown in the photo at the old airport, but there is a pretty good chance that I had friends who lived in their old barracks. In the early 1950's, as a young boy I had several friends who lived in those buildings which had been converted to apartments. I would ride my bicycle from my home on 41st Street to the airport frequently to join them and spend time in various playful pursuits. Later in the 50's, I recall going there frequently to have parts from my cars and motorcycles re-chromed at one of the many businesses that occupied some of the other buildings. During my trips to Sarasota now, I sometimes visit the airport and my mind goes back to those carefree days when life seemed so simple and all of Sarasota was my playground. Time changes the landscape but it can't erase the memories.

Jack Fordham
Swainsboro, GA