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Newsletter October 29, 2014

Published Wednesday, October 29, 2014
by Editor

Frank Lloyd Wright Bus Tour - Florida Southern College

November 9, 2014 - Tickets are $75.00 each, and includes bus transportation from Sarasota and lunch in one of the historic buildings.

Please join the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation as we present a day bus tour at Florida Southern College to view the architectural masterpieces of Frank Lloyd Wright located in Lakeland, Florida. This site is the largest assembly of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world. Envisioning buildings rising “out the ground, and into the light, a child of the Sun” Frank Lloyd Wright designed a master plan that would become his largest project of his career that is still intact. The buildings are constructed using glass, steel and Florida sand producing a most unique experience with the use of natural light and colored glass.

Mark R. Tlachac will lead the tour into all the historic Wright buildings. He is the director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor’s Center at Florida Southern College. He will also allow us to view inside one of Wright's small “Usonian Houses” that was recently constructed exactly from the original designs for the college. All these structures are a national treasure and make for a wonderful adventure that takes most of the day.

The bus will leave from the front of Municipal Auditorium next to the Sarasota Art Center. Arrive at 8:30 a.m. and load, leaving at 9:00 a.m. Tour before lunch, have a sandwich buffet in the Frank Lloyd Wright library, tour after lunch and spend 30 minutes in the gift shop. Load to return at 2:30 p.m. and arrive home at 4:00 p.m. Purchase tickets through Paypal on the Alliance Web page or send checks to: Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation, PO Box 1754, Sarasota, Florida, 34230.

(photo credit: Florida Southern College)

Drive By Gem

What’s not to like about a traditional home from the 1950s? Yes, that was the heyday of the Sarasota School of Architecture, but for those without the minimalist tendencies, a conservative ranch home was in order. This one is near the Trail, but is shielded from the noise of traffic with large trees and greenery. Take some time this coming weekend to go out and explore – the weather has been perfect for that.

Just Jane

The SEASON doesn’t normally begin 'til January or February here in Sarasota, but there is so much happening in town, history-related, I thought I’d better list a few of our upcoming events taking place at the Historical Society of Sarasota County, 1260 12th Street in Pioneer Park, between N. Trail and Cocoanut Avenue.

Tuesday, Nov. 11th - 7:00 p.m. Conversations at the Crocker - "Challenges to Our Local Environment, Past and Present" Guest panelists include: Former County Commissioner, Jon Thaxton – 4th generation Floridian, Becky Ayech – Civic Environmental Organizer and now sustainable farmer, Glenn Compton – Chairman of ManaSota-88 and Venice H.S. Science Teacher for 30 years. Moderator – Julie Morris, Assistant V.P. for Academic Affairs at New College and Environmentalist.  FREE to members, $10.00 for non-members.

Saturday, Nov. 15th - Designer Tag Sale at the Crocker Church from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Get there early, these are gorgeous items, gleaned from our favorite designers and decorators, and this sale only happens every two years.

Sue Blue will be narrating a two hour, downtown Historic Trolley Tour that Saturday, leaving the Crocker Church at 10:00 a.m. You’ll need a reservation! $25.00 per person. Call Linda at 364-9076.

Enjoy Halloween weekend!
(image credit: Tony D'Amico, Plein Air Artist)

Pretty as a Picture

This is the last home that was developed by Phillip Hiss in Lido Shores. It shows off how elegant and simple Sarasota School of Architecture structures were planned. They were timeless in their design and brought the outdoors inside in dramatic ways. Back in mid-century Sarasota, fences and property walls were almost unheard of. Reason being; the Gulf breezes at night would envelope the area and people with sleeping porches and large swaths of glass sliders could let the breeze cross-ventilate their homes. Air-conditioning was not yet available, and attic or window fans helped circulate the air. Guess we’re all spoiled today by the AC gods.  

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)

Postcard of the Week

For many years, the old Imperial House was a great spot for dining and entertainment at the corner of DeSoto Road and U.S. 301. It even had a pond out back with a deck that encircled part of it – a very romantic walk on a moonlit night was in store after a good meal. The signage in this postcard depicts it after Morrison’s took it over. Now it is a gas station with storage units adjacent to it; unremarkable at best.

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources, Rex Carr Collection)

Historical Society's 25th Annual LeBarge Tour

The Historical Society of Sarasota County is hosting its 25th Historical Cruise and Tour of Sarasota Bay on the LeBarge tour boat on Sunday, November 2, 2014 from 11:00 am to 1:00pm.  The cruise will feature narration by popular local historian John McCarthy.  Guests can expect a complimentary continental breakfast and a cash bar at noon.

Tickets are $40 per person. A VIP pass is available for $50 which provides early boarding and a complimentary beverage from the bar (limited to beer, wine and soda).  Reservations are a MUST.  

For more information, contact Linda Garcia;  Monday-Friday from 10:00 am – 2:00 p.m.,  941-364-9076, or hsosc1@gmail.com 


Park Day is November 6th

Mayor Higel calls for suspension of all work except building park

Unless some very modest community has beat us to it and then neglected to let the world know of its achievement, Sarasota is to have the first homemade people’s park. The idea of extending the present popular road-building day plan to secure the improvement of a tract of land for a park purposed by James E. Moore, has been seized upon with avidity and unanimity. In another column will be found Mayor Higel’s official contribution, in the shape of a proclamation setting aside Thursday, November 6, as Park Day, with the purpose in view of making this an annual event in Sarasota’s history.

Below is the document, prepared by Mrs. Guenther, President of the Woman’s Club, that is to put the plan into individual working order:

“We, the undersigned, agree to furnish to the City of Sarasota for the purpose of putting in order and beautifying the park space between Main Street and the Seaboard Air Line Railroad on the bayfront, on November 6, 1913, one day’s work, use of teams or other means, as set opposite our names, and we hereby petition the merchants to close their stores this day.”

Following the action of the Woman’s Club last week in undertaking the responsibility of carrying out the idea of Park Day there was a workers conference Tuesday afternoon in the Board of Trade rooms. Mr. Moore, as Chairman of the Board of Trade committee on waterfront and parks, was called upon to preside, and later in the proceedings when he wasn’t looking the meeting wished on him the job of general manager for that busy day. Read more...
(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)

Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today in 1883, Everett J. Bacon (pictured on left) was born in Williamsfield, Ohio; finally settling in our town permanently in 1917. During his five terms as Mayor (1921-31) Sarasota had one of its most fevered growth periods. Payne’s Terminal and the Main Street Pier were developed. The city annexed property to expand from one square mile to seventeen. And in the ultimate “sweetheart deal,” Andrew McAnsh was allowed to build the Mira Mar Hotel with a guarantee of ten years with NO TAXES, free water, and free lights.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources, Dorothy Toynman Collection)


Who was I?

The winner of our last contest was Peggy Cockerill. Congratulations!

Now I am going to be quasi-difficult with you. I am a wooden building that is showing wear now, but nevertheless, I represented new development near Sarasota Bay back in my day. Please note my pecky-cypress structure. Two fine lasses saw to it that I was built to compliment the area and provide a place for my nearby residents to congregate. Your task it to give my original name; not what I became later. 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)



Your award this week is a beautiful vintage-looking Florida Map Dish Towel, provided by Larry McLeod who produces Marketing Collateral Services, that include: Graphic Design for brochures, and flyers, Photography and Video, Web site design and management, Email Campaigns, Banners, Signs, Trade Show graphics, and 2D and 3D Animation.

You can contact Larry at 941-224-3020, or email him at: larrymcleod@verizon.net

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?


Ain't Life Grand?

Okay, don’t start with me! I can hear you now – “What’s today? Hump Day.” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that. Don’t be a bully!
(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)



For those of you that have been in Sarasota for a few decades, you surely will remember Hack Swain – the “Magician of the Keyboards.” I bet you even called WSPB to request a song, or went see him ‘live’ in many evening venues around town. This poster was created by Sid Smith a native Sarasotan who was a very successful poster illustrator, and an accomplished artist. Hank’s son, Mike has this example hanging in his studio where he is preserving vintage 16 and 35mm film so it can be digitized and saved for future generations.

(image credit: Swain family collection)


Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:  Larry, I remember Sarasota as I was employed by the then Palm Tree Playhouse in the 50s. I loved the theatre and the town itself. Met several circus performers as their quarters were there then, including Hester Ringling Sanford, herself. In fact as an actor I played opposite her in several productions that were directed by her son Stuart Lancaster, also the artistic director.  I worked there four seasons. Many days off I'd go to Siesta Key to swim and to Longboat Key for special meals in a small shack restaurant; just before crossing the bridge onto the Key.

Some of us stayed across the alley in the back of the theater at the home of Mason Baldwin's on 2nd Street.  It was just a hop skip and jump to work each day. We'd eat at the White Way nearby.

So many memories; being in Sarasota from December through April was a treat for us New York actors.  I don't know if the old theater is there anymore.  It used to be a movie theater before it became Palm Tree. Such shows as Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (Hester), Separate Tables, Bullfight, Mademoiselle Colombe (Hester), Diary of Anne Frank showing how the thrust stage was used.  Also in Champagne Complex we had local star Frank Rothe playing the lead.  He was very popular with the Sarasota audiences.

I remember visiting Hester at the Ringling Estate where she lived many times for tea and conversation. We were good friends. I remember her taking me up to the attic (a long huge place) and showing me all the Ringling costumes. What a treat. I met Chuck Burnes while he was working as a clown for Ringling still a good friend.
Please keep sending me newsletters as I feel Sarasota is my home.

Guil (Dudley) Fisher,
NYC, New York


Celebrate Circus

"Celebrate Circus," commemorating the 65th Anniversary of the Sailor Circus, Sarasota County’s highly regarded circus education program for teenagers, will be the theme of the ninth annual style show of the Venice Area Historical Society.  The event will be held Thursday, December 11, 2014, 11 AM, at the Plantation Golf and Country Club.  Pedro Reis and Dolly Jacobs, world famous circus aerialists and leaders of the Circus Arts Conservatory, umbrella organization to the Sailor Circus, will be honored.

The Society’s past president Sue Chapman is chairing this popular sell-out event.  The show is expected to have an attendance of 350.  Vee Chilulli-Garry will coordinate an array of “what to wear to the circus” fashions in circus colors of red, yellow, and blue, from Venice MainStreet shops.  There will be basket and 50/50 raffles.  Tickets are $40, a portion of which is tax-deductible, and are available at Sandy’s Designer Clothing, J & G Jewelers, Collectors’ Gallery, and Venice Stationers.

This year, the event proceeds will benefit the Venice Area Historical Society’s “Preserve the Venice Depot’s Circus Train Heritage” project, with a goal of completing the railroad car exhibit at the historic Depot campus with a circus performers’ coach car.

For more information: information@veniceareahistoricalsociety.org or leave a message at 941-412-0151.