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Newsletter August 24, 2016

Published Wednesday, August 24, 2016 9:00 am

Drive By Gem

Come to think of it, the last newsletter had a mid-century modern house with a yellow door. This week, in the same neighborhood, I came across this traditional frame vernacular house all dressed out in yellow, but with a red door. This fixation on yellow must be a reflection on the long hot summer in Sarasota. Where, oh where is Autumn?


Ain't Life Grand?

Now, I’d say that the Johnson’s Marine Supply (that was located downtown on South Palm Avenue) staff had the right idea for getting around. I think this mode of transportation is practical and fun at the same time – even without the lounge chair. I want one of these scooter setups.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Postcard of the Week

Those of you who remember Saprito Bros. at the corner of Main Street and Osprey Avenue, surely recall all the colorful fruit and jelly boxes displaying goodies to be shipped to friends and family in the northern climes during the winter. This postcard reflects that bounty when citrus greening was not a threat to grove owners. Hopefully, a remedy to this devastating disease in not too far in the future. 

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Just Jane

Sometimes, I’m always in the right place at the wrong time, but today was a great day with good timing.

I’ve been trying to get a peek at our newest listing at 1936 Morrill Street which is one of the best STEALS in one of the hottest neighborhoods in town. Check it out in our Vintage Real Estate section, but let me tell you, there is so much more to offer than these photos and verbiage can portray. The double lot is huge, the home is so sturdy, being designed by John Ringling’s engineer, and it’s filled with doors for free flowing fresh air. There’s storage galore in “above your head” cupboards under the 15’ high ceilings and in the walkabout attic.

What struck me as even more awesome is the currently inhabited, ADA accessible in-law suite that was designed by Sweet Sparkman Architects. I’ve never seen such an accommodating space, just a few steps from the main house. To top it off, there’s another separate apartment above it, so you’re actually getting three living spaces for the price of one. The fruit trees and the grape vineyard, the hen house and a huge yard ready for a pool… those are just a few of the lovely extras. Right across from artsy Towels Court, too.

Then, I finally visited that historic home across the street from the Woman’s Exchange, (1616 Oak St.) which has been luring me for months, with its window filled with fascinating lamp shades. Linda Daniel, the lovely owner shade-maker, at Elle Daniel has been having so much more fun at this ancient craft than at her former employment working with D.C. polls. Can’t say that I blame her! Take her your fabric, or just your needy lamps, and she’ll be inspired with beautiful one-of-a-kind creation for you. One of her designs is featured in the September issue of Country Living, so you’d better call her fast, before she gets backed up.


Wow, I haven’t had any ‘Dubble Bubble’ chewing gum since I was a kid and shopped for it at the Ben Franklin Five & Dime at the corner of Osprey Avenue and Hillview Street (where the new Veronica’s restaurant stands today). This enticing ad with a circus theme comes from a Ringling Circus Souvenir Program, dated 1953.

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Pretty as a Picture

When I was growing up here, I never truly appreciated the richness and simplicity of mid-century modern furnishings that just about everybody I knew had in their homes during the 1950s. Of course, a number of people had more traditional taste, but the modernist period produced memorable pieces that are making a come-back. I would love to have the two chairs in the foreground in my house.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources, Johnson Collection)


Searching for Lake Tallant in Camp Saw Grass

Driving past the Fruitville exit along I-75 and looking to the east, you may see the Fruitville library or even the South West Florida Water Management building. But if you had the ability to look into the past, you would see much more. You would see water. No, not the typical small wetlands that are found throughout the county, but instead a lake almost two miles long and a mile and half wide.

In September of 1935, an avocational archaeologist by the name of Montague Tallant (pictured) received the first clue that a lake had once existed. Tallant had received word that a large dugout canoe had been found in the Potter Palmer muck fields. Unfortunately, by the time he had arrived to investigate, the evidence had gone up in smoke. It seems that although the canoe was finely crafted on both ends and an exquisite specimen of Native American craftsmanship, its destiny was to serve as firewood.

After talking with a witness, Tallant was able to learn of the shape and length of the canoe. The canoe was shaped much like canoes are today, tapering at both ends and stretched to an impressive length of fourteen feet.

This discovery fueled Tallant’s interest in what was then called the “Muck Celery Fields.” He came back to Sarasota sometime in the next two months to investigate the fields and determine if any more archaeological remains could be found and if additional canoes could be identified before becoming firewood. Sure enough, two months after his initial investigation of the canoes, Tallant, in a letter to M.W. Sterling of the Smithsonian Institution dated November 1, 1935, wrote that he had discovered more canoes in the Muck Celery Fields. In addition to the letter, he enclosed a map showing the location of five canoes. Read more... 

(photo credit: Wikipedia.com)


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today in 1974, after nearly 46 years as a Sarasota “hot spot,” the Plaza Restaurant on 1st Street closed, a social center almost since it opened in 1928. It was rumored that the longest continuous poker game in town took place in the Plaza’s back room during the 1930s.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Who was I?

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

In my early beginnings I was such a small place, despite me looking fairly substantial compared to the little girl heading my way for services. I can’t tell you too much more about me, because you would guess who I am in a snap. I will say, I was located in the downtown area, and had a following that grew quite large over time. Today, I am only looking for my name and not the location. Who was 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?


County Treasure

This past weekend, the Olympic Games in Rio, came to a close replete with great excitement, national pride, and even national shame brought upon us by a small group of arrogant athletes. Despite that, this medallion from the MacKinlay Kantor collection, represents the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Bear in mind this was the Olympics that Adolph Hitler and his cronies brought to the world stage. So much has changed in the last 80 years, however not cronyism! I will say, I love the Art Deco style that abounded back then as represented here.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)