Get Social With Us

like watch follow


Receive Email Updates

Sign up today and receive our newsletter and more directly to your inbox.


Search Sarasota History

contact us follow us newsletter sign up search this site

Newsletter March 4, 2015

Published Wednesday, March 4, 2015
by Larry Kelleher

Drive By Gem

Usually on a weekend day, if the weather is nice, I scout around for the “Drive by Gems” I think would be appealing to you. However, sometimes I take a lot of photos, and then don’t repeat the search for weeks-on-end. I remember this house because of the unusual entry, but for the life of me don’t recall where it is located. I think it is in the Sarasota Heights area. Sorry about my memory lapse. It is charming nevertheless.


Pretty as a Picture

This is a bit of a stretch for “Pretty as a Picture” but I think the Manhattan sign on this downtown lounge was outstanding. It was taken in the 1940s during World War II days, and the address at the time was 224 Main Street. Sarasota addresses changed in 1953, and today the former location was directly across the street from Two Senoritas Restaurant.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources, Pete Esthus Collection)


Just Jane

You know how I love saving historic things, and the other night I realized, while dining with my Femmes Fatales lady friends, how much our history together is precious to all of us. Celebrating two birthdays that evening, reminded us to: keep up our chins, our bridge groups, our Sudoku puzzles and long walks to maintain our sharpness, and our knees!

We laughed everyone else out of the restaurant. Sorry, if you were some of those folks who walked out a bit envious of our fun.

Phillippi Estate Park certainly was buzzing with activity last weekend, with the Light Chasers Art Shows there, featuring spectacular canvases from 100 artists, from around the country. We figure we introduced over 2,000 visitors to these artists, many of whom took home gorgeous souvenirs to hang on their walls. Hopefully, the Edson Keith Farmhouse restoration funds swelled too.

Young Mom’s will have a wonderful day at the market on Wed. March 11th, at the 4th Annual Children’s Day in the Park, from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m at Phillippi Estate Park. In addition to the 50 regular, weekly vendors, there will be an ARTS & CRAFTS and AUTHORS Show, with lots of fun and games for the children of all ages. Krisztina’s Games of Skill and Balance will be back again and there will be live music all day by “Siesta John.” Free parking too! 

Bring your pooch on a leash and plan to spend the day; after all, it is Spring Break week! Visit  www.farmhousemarket.org for more information. Also visit our Vintage Real Estate listings; Spring is a great time to go house shopping.



I love old circus posters, flyers and magazines. They are so colorful and quite often very robust in what they portray on the cover. A little bling in our lives never hurts for selling something as special as the circus; what an all-encompassing institution.
(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Ain't Life Grand?

This is a candid shot at the annual 1961 Beaux Arts Ball in Sarasota. They were generally held at the Municipal Auditorium or the Lido Beach Casino. I am not sure where this one took place, but the gents in this photo sure seem to like the tush of the unknown lady. Society and the art’s community at its best!
(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)

CCC Transforms Tropical Jungle Into State Park

That is the headline on page 2 of the Sarasota Tribune on March 3, 1935. Articles written by Charlotte Townsend and William A. Cook detail a life of hard, back-breaking work balanced by feelings of satisfaction for a job well done.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program of 1933. At a maximum strength of about 600,000 men, it was the largest peace-time army in America’s history. During its nine-year lifetime more than 2,000,000 men, ages 18 to 25 served in the CCC.

After walking and canoeing into a 25,000 acre wilderness in October of 1934, the CCC boys began to clear dense hummocks, fell trees, plow fire lanes, dig ditches and make shell pathways. All the lumber needed to build five one-room cabins and the open-air pavilion was harvested by hand on-site. Palm tree trunks with hand-hewn notches became walls, while pine timbers supported roofs of hand-rived cypress shingles. Huge slabs of limestone came from Manatee County to build cozy fireplaces and chimneys. Hand-made bridges carried a 10 ton load limit.

Feeding approximately 160 to 200 men three meals a day kept the kitchen crew busy with fixing daily rations of meat, vegetables, potatoes, fruit, dessert, coffee, tea, milk and cocoa. Special treats consisted of mud turtle, alligator tail, fish, rattlesnake steaks, and swamp cabbage. Read more...

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)

Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today in 1856, while his soon-to-be parents took refuge from the braves of Billy Bowlegs in Branch Fort on the Manatee River, little Furman C. Whitaker was born. Son of Bill Whitaker, Sarasota’s first settler, Furman became the first native Sarasotan to become a doctor and return to Sarasota and practice medicine.  

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Who am I?

The winner of our last contest was Susan Barton. Congratulations! Now, wasn’t I smart to perch myself on top of stilts? FEMA would be proud of me. I was located on Sarasota Beach, but unfortunately am no longer there. So, that leads me to a two-fold question, what is the current name of the beach and “Who am I?”

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

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources, Pete Esthus 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?


Minimum Wage

I enjoy reading about current topics that were addressed in our past. Here is a short piece from the Sarasota Times newspaper, dated July 23, 1914:

The object of a “minimum wage” law is the prevention of low wages. The law, like the “Fair Wage” regulation, would decide the lowest (minimum) wage it would be legal to pay upon public works. It could not apply to private contracts, of course.

(photo credit: Wikipedia)


Conversation at The Crocker

Join the Jazz Club’s Gordon Garrett when he leads a Conversation at The Crocker, on Tuesday, March 10, starting at 7 p.m. at the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street (Pioneer Park), Sarasota. He will be joined on stage by jazz pianist Mike Moran and singer Kitt Moran. They will play as well as contribute to the conversation. Organized and presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota County and sponsored by SARASOTA Magazine, this public conversation about jazz is free to Historical Society members and students. Guests, $10. Proceeds help maintain the two historic properties at Pioneer Park, The Bidwell-Wood House and the Crocker Memorial Church. For further information call; (941) 364-9076.


Mounds and Middens

Come celebrate Florida Archaeology Month on March 14, 2015 at Historic Spanish Point from 10:00 a.m. – Noon. What’s the best way to learn about a person, whether they lived thousands of years ago or today? Look through their garbage of course!

Archaeologists study prehistoric trash piles or middens to gain a wealth of information about the past. They investigate purpose-built mounds that still dot the Florida landscape in order to learn about prehistoric societies.

Learn the difference between a mound and a midden in this fun and hands-on workshop; then get a personal tour of the amazing mounds and middens at Historic Spanish Point with the help from Sarasota County Archaeologist, Ryan Murphy. For more information, visit: www.flarchmonth.org.


Postcard of the Week

Gee, do you remember Dixie Lee’s – The Poor Man’s Stork Club? It was a fixture in this town; seemed like everyone went there for their packaged liquor needs. It was located at 3909 Boondoggle Boulevard – how appropriate (actually it was located at the SE corner of Bee Ridge Road and the Tamiami Trail, despite what the humorous address says on the building).  

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)