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Newsletter September 16, 2009

Published Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This Week

With the upcoming arts festival at Ringling, we hope they have a great turnout and many of you participate in the festivities. Community support, in addition to out-of-town visitors, is what makes events like this special and rewarding.

Speaking of John Ringling, did you realize his brother, Charles, made a very large impact on Sarasota? He didn't get as much press, but nevertheless, he was a substantial contributor to our growth in becoming a modern city.

Check out our video about Charles, by clicking here.

(photo credit: Sarasota County History Center)

The Very Thing to Send (Electronically)

Oh, how perfectly convenient! Vintage e-Postcards of Sarasota to send to friends and family with a quick thought from you. Nobody has much free time to write and stamp a card these days, so check out our postcard service. It's fun and as 'easy as pie'.

Click here to view the postcards, and try out this 'good time' feature.


Tales of Sarasota

'Checks and balances' used to mean many things to Diane, and we're not talking about the kind that implies the branches of government...that is a whole other story!

Nope, she's reminding us about the kind that affects our daily lives, and how that is all changing. For the better? Well, you will have to be the judge. Is "Big Brother" watching you? No, but technology sure is moving forward.


The Main Street Reporter

Herald Reporter Helen GriffithWe would like to extend our thanks to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for permitting Sarasota History Alive! to reprint excerpts of Helen Griffith's Main Street Reporter column from the 1940s and beyond.  Please visit them online at, heraldtribune.com for up-to-date news and a lot more.

August 10, 1956 (SH-T)

When I saw Joe Steinmetz at Five Points yesterday, I said, "You are supposed to be in Mexico!" He said, "Leaving in a day or two," and up came Rex Kerr and Joe showed us something new he had on him. Nope, not a new kind of camera. This time it was a "Mileometer." Or, maybe it was called a "Walkometer." Anyhow Joe said it told him how many miles he walked per day. He pointed to the gadget fastened to his belt like Grandpa's watch and chain. "See I've walked a mile and an eight so far this morning!" and you could see he felt kind of pleased.

"I haven't been walking for years. Now, I'm walking again. And you'd be surprised what you see when you go on walks."

Maybe it was Rex who made an answer that sounded like "Especially along the beaches!"

Of course Joe didn't mean he hadn't been walking...his legs are perfectly matched and okay as far as we can see. He just meant, like with most of the Modern Humans, the Family Car has nosed out Shank's Mare.

Joe the Jokester

Joe took out a card. The side he first showed us had a pretty colorful scene of a gal standing amidst flowers and shrubs. Maybe it was taken out at the Ringling Museum.

"I asked to have my name and business printed on the reverse side," explained Joe, a member of the Brotherhood of Magicians, "But look what that fool printer did." Joe turned the card over and there all it said was "See Other Side." The side with just the pix.

He handed us one with the remark, "Have one anyway" and while slipping it into our handbag we saw the jokester. For there on the card Joe had handed us was his name and business in large type...on the flip side of the pretty picture. Just another of Joe's sleight-of-hand gags.

Wonder what he'll come back from Mexico with? Maybe a cactus that cackes!

(photo credit: Sarasota County History Center)


Ain't Life Grand?

Your editor spends a great deal of time at the Sarasota County History Center finding interesting information for you to ponder. While there, he also comes across many photos that depict life at an earlier time in history. With that in mind, we are now going to show you some of those photos that all of us can relate to in one way or another. Enjoy!

Up Against the Wall!

Well, not really, although it appears these kids are up against the fence for something. We are sure they are not in trouble, but you never know. During the time of this photo, the wee ones could have been punished for most anything.

(image credit: Sarasota County History Center)


"You Lied!" - Join the Club...

Sarasota Authors Gathered Weekly

Richard Glendinning described them as "loose assemblage of kindred souls" who gathered for lunch on Fridays at the Plaza Restaurant on First Street. This assemblage was "a non-existent organization without a formal membership" that came together for 30 years. At a time when Sarasota was home to a growing "colony" of artists, a sizeable number of writers had also been attracted to the area. According to Glendinning in "A Host of Fridays," many wanted to remain unknown and be left alone to do their writing.

In a break from that isolation in November 1952, four authors lunched together at the invitation of MacKinlay Kantor. Out of this occasion grew the thought of inviting others to a weekly social gathering that would not be the occasion for serious literary discussion. Over the next 30 years, at least 202 authors participated, with the weekly attendance varying from 5 to 16.

Glendinning's list of Friday authors includes such local names as Karl Bickel, Dik Browne, Walter Farley, Glendinning, Charlie Husking, MacKinlay Kantor, John D. MacDonald, Ed Pierce and Waldo Profitt. Visitors included Art Buchwald, Buckminster Fuller, Mike Royko and William L. Shirer.

About five years after the lunches began, the participants devised a way to limit the "round of drinks" buying that sometimes mushroomed beyond reason. The game of Liars Poker became the tool; whoever played and lost the game bought the one round of drinks for that day. Glendinning concedes that that may have been the only topic on which everyone ever agreed. After the gamesters began recording the weekly results, a rotating plaque went to the person with the worst record for the year. MacKinlay Kantor earned that honor the first year. Read more...

(photo credit: Sarasota County History Center)

Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Every day of the year we highlight what took place in Sarasota's history, thanks to Whit Rylee and Tom Payne's extensive research and sense of humor. Frequently check our website's homepage to find out what occured today.

Also, be sure and check out Whit's website at: www.ChickenHillNC.com.

This Saturday in 1872, Francis Allen "Frank" Walpole was born in Kosciuska, Mississippi. He was an editor of the Tampa Herald and the Manatee Record. He was never shy about expressing his opinions and was known as the fiery, red-haired editor.

In 1916, he moved to Sarasota and purchased a drug store. By 1926, he owned the Sarasota Pharmacy on Main Street. He sold his drug store interests to Liggett Company in that year, to enter into real estate. He was one of the prime movers in the drive to separate Sarasota County from Manatee. 

(photo credit: Sarasota County History Center)


History Locator

Today we are honoring the Little White Church historical marker. It reads:

In 1915, Bee Ridge, then part of Manatee County, supported a train station, post office, hotel, general store, and school. A second wave of settlers who moved into Bee Ridge desired a church in their community. In January, 1917, the Reverend J. F. Winnard, D.D., Superintendent of Missions in St. John's Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., organized the Presbyterian Church of Bee Ridge, Florida, with twenty-nine charter members. Bee Ridge Presbyterian Church thus became the second Presbyterian Church in the Sarasota area.

Mrs. Potter Palmer, through the Sarasota-Venice Company, presented the church with two corner lots at Proctor and McIntosh Roads. A congregation-appointed building committee, under Elder J. F. Robie, began construction. The Home Mission Committee in Atlanta provided a loan to cover the cost of the building. Dedication was on December 7, 1919.

A major hurricane in 1926 demolished the church. While using the Bee Ridge Baptist Church for services, the congregation rebuilt the church and dedicated it on March 8, 1927. Read reverse side...


Where Was I?

The winner from our last quiz was Robert Scheb. We would like to thank our generous sponsors for providing prizes. You too, can become a sponsor (see below).

Click here to review the photo, question and the correct answer of last week's challenge.

This Week's Clues: 

Gosh, I sure was a pretty cool night-spot on what is now US 41. Heck, I bet I even could have competed with clubs on Broadway that were in landmark buildings.

Rudy Bundy played there, and it was quite the place to be seen in any given night of the week. The question: Where Was I?

Please submit the form that allows you to guess the answer. Click here to fill it out, and next week we will announce the winner, and give the solution to the question. Answer early, since the first person with the correct answer, claims the prize. Contestants may win only once per month.

(photo credit: Sarasota County History Center)

Sponsored By:

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?


First Annual Pumpkin Festival -

Hopes to Raise Thousands of Dollars for Two Very Deserving Charities.

Too early to think about Halloween? No pumpkin tents on major roads yet? Well, it's high time to put Sarasota's First Annual Pumpkin Festival on your calendar!

Spotlight Events Entertainment, Inc. & Partners want to give something back to their community and hope to do so by hosting the 1st Annual Sarasota Pumpkin Festival on Friday and Saturday, October 30th and 31st at the Phillipi Estates Park. Proceeds from the event will support the All Children's Hospital and the Fallen Warriors Foundation.

This two day event offers free admission and is expected to attract over 15,000 visitors and host live music, hayrides, face painting, a large variety of cuisine, and tons of games & activities to amuse all ages. Among other things, a costume parade, pie-eating contest, Not So Scary Haunted House and Safe Trick or Treating will also add to the festive atmosphere.

Halloween night will be the lighting and unveiling of a wall of approximately 5,000 - 7,000 jack-o'-lanterns donated by our community and local schools. The Grand Finale welcomes a new tradition to Sarasota and will honor our Fallen Soldiers. Anyone can participate by bringing a carved jack-o-lantern and a $1.00 donation.

For more information visit the website at www.SarasotaPumpkinFestival.com or contact event organizer Lazarus Fernandez (941) 879-3345 for sponsorship or general information.