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Newsletter October 1, 2014

Published Wednesday, October 1, 2014
by Editor

Drive By Gem

This split-level home is east of US 41 and expresses the popularity of a building style from about 50-60 years ago. You don’t see too many of them being built these days, since the larger overdone homes now take up most of the property. In any event, do take some time on the weekend to drive around and have a look at our heritage, before all the charming places are history.


Sarasota Garden Club Rehabs Historic Japanese Lantern 

Monday, September 29, 2014 was a banner day for the Sarasota Garden Club. Over seventy-five years ago Ralph and Ellen Caples gifted a solid granite Japanese lantern to the Club in 1939. Ralph Caples was a railroad man and developer; he enticed John and Charles Ringling to come to Sarasota and hoped they would decide to invest in the area. Sometime between 1999 and 2003, the lantern was badly damaged and the broken pieces fell into Tuttle’s Pond and were buried in the silt for all these years.
After a concerted effort by artist Sean Colson and John Chrzczonowski (pictured, doing final touches), they have worked tirelessly to uncover this remarkable piece of Sarasota history. John found one section during a volunteer cleanup day at the Garden Club in 2013. He realized he discovered something significant. Sean Colson worked side-by-side with John to rehabilitate the lantern, and repair it so it is structurally sound and once again in its original location.
Part of endeavor required John to perform an extraordinary amount of research at Sarasota County Historical Resources, where the Club’s files are archived. A committee from the Club approached the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation to enlist their financial support of the project. The Alliance provided 1/3 of the funding to pay for the rehabilitation with the understanding the Club would raise the rest.
On Monday, Robert Albritton, of Albritton’s Nursery, donated his time, extra labor, and heavy equipment to assist Sean and John in reassembling the repaired sections. Standing over 9 ft. tall and weighing more than 1,500 pounds, this beautiful Japanese lantern is once again adorning the shore of “Tuttle’s Puddle.”

Our community is richer for their efforts, our history is now visible and our future generations will share this treasure, thanks to those who share our love of historic preservation. Well done gentlemen!

(photo credit: Sandy Chrzczonowski)


Wallenda to help Commemorate New Marker

High-wire daredevil and Sarasota native Nik Wallenda will help the county's Historical Commission honor the rich history of the Sarasota Bayfront with a new historical marker.
The Sarasota County Historical Commission routinely commemorates historically significant people, places and events using permanent on-site markers. A new marker at Island Drive and Marina Plaza will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, October 4, 2014 across from the "Unconditional Surrender" statue. Light refreshments will be served.  
Wallenda, who made a daring high-wire walk across Bayfront Drive (U.S. 41) in 2013, will be the guest speaker at the ceremony, which will also include remarks from county and city officials, and Jeff LaHurd, County Historian.
The new marker recognizes the downtown bay front, long considered the brightest jewels in Sarasota's crown, according to many longtime residents.
From the time of its earliest inhabitants, the bay front has played an important role in the area's history and culture. In 1886, the Florida Mortgage and Investment Company built a pier that extended off lower Main Street; Harry Higel, a major force in the early development of Sarasota, later purchased the pier and operated a steamship service between Sarasota and Tampa. In 1911, Higel sold the pier to the Hover Brothers of Lima, Ohio, who built the Hover Arcade (pictured), a mix of Mediterranean styles with distinctive towers on either side of the archway leading to the pier.
The Hover Arcade, purchased by Sarasota in 1917, became the city hall, and in 1921, it temporarily housed the newly formed county government as well. The popular city pier, a focal point for the community, provided residents and visitors with boat slips, a restaurant, and a place to fish.
(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)

Pretty as a Picture

With all the discussion and negativity about the Bobby Jones Golf Course lately in the media, I would like you to see how lovely this place was in its heyday. To the left is the pro shop and on the right the clubhouse; simple, elegant, and understated. I am not a golfer, so I wonder why all the fuss. Have a good round of golf on a historic course and enjoy the day.
(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Postcard of the Week

I may have posted this postcard before, but nevertheless, I always enjoyed going to Ringling’s Winter Quarters circus when they were in town. I think I enjoyed the many interesting characters who were employed by the circus, as much as the shows. I would invariably wander off from my parents and visit with the clowns, acrobats, performers, animals, and workers. Maybe I had a fantasy of running away with the circus – an adventure, indeed!

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Sarasota Times Used Poetic Terms to Detail Resident's Deaths

The antiseptic tone of today’s obituaries is a far cry from the finely crafted, inspirational prose that documented the deaths of Sarasota’s early residents.
C.V.S. Wilson, editor and publisher of the Sarasota Times, our first newspaper, informed readers of the passing of the community’s members in heartfelt terms with heavy doses of sentiment and an eye toward the Good Book.
These were the days after the turn of the 20th century when no one in Sarasota was a stranger. Each death was felt personally by all members of the community.

When the Reverend R.A. Seal died, Sarasota was reminded by the newspaper of the impact of his family’s loss. His obituary stated, “The old minister has fallen asleep after a long and useful life, leaving an aged wife, four children and several grandchildren to mourn his departure.”
Similarly, Mrs. Harry Rigby left “a heart-broken husband, and a grief-stricken mother and father.”

After Asa Chapline died of typhoid in 1911, the Times tried to soften the loss by assuring, “Although death was present, the calm serenity of his face robbed death of its terrors and he seemed to be at rest in peaceful sleep.” Read more...
(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)

Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today in 1913, J. Elwood Moore (President of Citizens Bank) bought the Belle Haven Inn (pictured) from Ralph C. Caples for $35,000. It was sold eleven years later for $500,000. Perhaps this is why this period in Sarasota’s history was referred to as the “Boom.”

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Who was I?

The winner of our last contest was Susan Wallach. Congratulations!

(Editor's note: In our last newsletter, I said no one won the quiz - unfortunately, my automatic email notification was not working, and actually Tracy Masters submitted the correct answer. Congratulations!)

You may have to look closely to see me in this picture. I am the space heater near the Sarasota High School graduate. You can also see the old telephone stand, and 1950s knickknacks. But to the challenge – I was not powered by electricity but by a different source of heat. Please name the company that supplied that commodity; in other words, “Who was I?”

Click here to submit your answer, as well as view the correct answer to the last challenge.

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



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?

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Ain't Life Grand?

This is a photo of my godmother, better known to me as “Aunt Bea.” I always thought of her as my Auntie Mame, though she did not have that kind of money. However, she was always adventuresome, and ready to make every trip we took together an unforgettable experience. This photo was taken of her before I was born – I guess she always had a zest for fun.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor: This may not have been a school play at all - in fact I can't imagine it being performed in a school. One of the characters looks like my brother - John Lancaster. Stuart Lancaster ran a children's theater at The Palm Tree Playhouse - in the 1950's (besides the regular Palm Tree Players). The themes were often adult plays and before "The Seventh Seal" was made into a movie, Ingmar Bergman wrote the play before the screenplay. The original title of the play translated to "Wood Painting." It certainly resembles "The Seventh Seal."
Michael Lancaster,
New Mexico


Sarasota Times

(Editor's note: The Sarasota Times was our first newspaper here, established in 1899. I find many of the articles, ads, recipes, and tips very interesting and am pleased to share them with you).

Things Worth Knowing

An excellent way to keep doilies fresh is to get a strip of pretty material, hem on one end and cut a broom stick a little longer than the width of the largest centerpiece, tack the material to the handle, then lay or pin on your doilies and roll them up. If you want to make this for gift it can be tied with pretty ribbons and makes a most acceptable one.

A nice sauce of ice cream if peppermint is liked is this: Break a few pieces of striped peppermint stick candy into bits and dissolve in two or three tablespoons of boiling water. The color adds to its appearance and makes a fine sauce for ice cream.

When you get oil from the roads these days of oiled roads, try kerosene on all washed goods, rub it in well and then soap and water will remove the stain.

Add a few tablespoons of plums to canned cherries when making pies; the results will be a fresh cherry pie.

Before using blankets or comforters baste a strip of cheese cloth or a piece of old sheets across the top to protect from soil. These strips may be taken off and washed and the comforts are always sweet and clean.

Whiting mixed with turpentine cleans nickel well. Just wet the whiting with the turpentine and rub with a cloth.

Wash stockings before wearing when new, and after wearing once, will keep them for a much longer time without holes. This is especially true of silk stockings.

Leftovers of fish may be safely kept in a refrigerator if put into a mason jar and seal with a cover.

To whiten canvas shoes use ordinary starch mixed with water to make it thin enough to put on.

In case of illness where plasters area needed, mustard mixed with flour may be kept all ready to mix in a hurry, when needed by adding water, when it is ready to use.

When bedding and blankets are too short, sew a stout piece of unbleached cotton to the bottom which will tuck in nicely.

Nellie Maxwell, November 26, 1914, Sarasota Times

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