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Newsletter May 4, 2016

Published Wednesday, May 4, 2016 8:00 am
by Larry Kelleher

Drive By Gem

This tiny charmer is ‘East of the Trail’ and it looks to be a one bedroom, one bath. This is delightful to see in a neighborhood that has much larger homes. I think it would be beneficial to our community if zoning permitted us to erect two or three of these on a normal size lot with ample parking. That would probably qualify for ‘affordable housing’ and could be done with amazing taste and landscaping creativity. Think Tiny Homes!


Ain't Life Grand?

No back seat drivers here! No sir, the woman’s three furry friends sit right up front with her as she takes the convertible for a spin. You know how dogs like to stick their head out the window when being chauffeured around – in this case, they just look up and catch a breeze. What a dog’s life. 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Postcard of the Week

If you have lived in Sarasota for any length of time, you would recognize the Ranch House Motor Lodge at the northwest corner of Gulf Stream and U.S. 41. Just to get your bearings, The Vue has taken its place today. Note the difference in the scale then, compared to what is there now. 

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)



Today’s ephemera selection is taken from the 1942 Visitor’s Guide for Sarasota.

Here’s what is says: “For 25 years Bailey Hall has been successfully preparing boys to take their place in school and society, with headquarters at Katonah, N.Y. The school is chartered by the Department of Mental Hygiene and Board of Regents, State of New York.

Boys who are over-active, highly sensitive, nervous or retarded, find unusual help in Bailey Hall. The buildings have been built especially for this school. Attractive location on the Gulf front. The enrollment is limited to 35 resident and 10 day pupils.”

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Our County Treasures

This fine specimen from John Hamilton Gillespie’s objects is a gold brooch adorned with Cairngorm stone and pearls. It was used as a decorative pin for his shoulder drape when he wore a kilt.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Pretty as a Picture

Did any of you ever eat at Holland’s Cafeteria? What a grand looking place for cafeteria food. It was located on Main Street near Five Points. The only downtown cafeteria I remember well was Morrison’s Cafeteria on North Pineapple Avenue, where the Golden Apple was located. My favorite thing there was the original classic seltzer bottles on each table, that my parents let me fill their water glasses with, even though they only had a few sips. I am easily entertained, for sure.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)

Fire and Ice Threatened Early Colonists in Florida

During a Florida winter, weather professionals remind us that the cooler, drier air brings an increased chance of wildfire and occasional frost.

For the colonists from Scotland who came to settle the new town of Sarasota in December 1885, the cooler air brought snow and the drier air brought fire. It was not an auspicious beginning for starting life anew in this semi-tropical paradise.

Alex Browning, an older teen when his family came to Sarasota as part of the colony, later wrote his memories of the snow that fell within a few weeks of their arrival.

“We were told by the older settlers here, that it never got cold, just chilly enough, when it blew a norther (sic), to wear a coat. After blowing from the S.W. for a few days, it suddenly went around to the N.W. and rained heavily, turning much colder. The next day the wind died down, and snow began to fall, greatly to the surprise of the natives who thought at first the woods were afire, and ashes being carried by the wind from the fire.

“It snowed quite a bit, enough to make snow balls where it drifted in places. All work being stopped, the men huddled around the stumps being burned out on the main street, trying to keep warm; even the mules and oxen were too cold to work. It was said that it was the first snow the oldest folks had ever seen in Sarasota. Of course, we all suffered, living in tents and shacks, cooking on camp fires.”

Before leaving their homes in Scotland, the colonists had purchased a town lot and 40 acres out of town that they expected to be able to farm.

In the company office, the settlers drew for their lots. The Browning family’s lots were in the area of the later Friendship Baptist Church. That was fortunate, in that their land was adjacent to the partly cleared road to Pine Level (now in DeSoto County), the county seat. Thus the walk or ride through the woods from town to farm was somewhat eased. Such was not the luck of the draw for another colonist, Dan McKinlay. Read more...

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today, in 1927, Venice was incorporated as a city. Two years later, in Sarasota, a mineralized 20,000 year-old skeleton was found during the excavation of a drainage ditch near Phillippi Creek. 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Who am I?

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

Now, I know you have seen me many times in Larry’s newsletter, but maybe not my backside as pictured here. I had two popular names and either one will be acceptable for the answer to “Who 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?


Naming and Sponsorship of Lecture Series

Each year, the Venice Area Historical Society sponsors free lectures on historical topics for members and the public, beginning in October and ending in May. Speakers from around the state and the country are invited.

At the recent April 26th lecture, VAHS President Carolyn Redlin announced that, beginning this fall, the lecture series will be funded in perpetuity by The Bill Jervey, Jr. Charitable Foundation. Those in attendance gave a round of applause to Mr. Jervey for his generous gift (pictured from L to R: Carolyn Redlin, Bill Jervey, Jr., Betty Intagliatta).

Additionally, President Redlin announced that, at Mr. Jervey’s request, the lecture series will be renamed "The Betty Intagliata Lecture Series, sponsored by the Venice Area Historical Society, with funding provided by the Bill Jervey, Jr. Charitable Foundation.”

To learn more, email information@veniceareahistoricalsociety.org.