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Newsletter March 18, 2015

Published Wednesday, March 18, 2015
by Larry Kelleher

Drive By Gem

I normally feature a beautiful home as our ‘Drive by Gem,’ though I could not help myself in showing you the wonderful rehab of Paul Rudolph’s Sarasota High School new addition. It originally opened in 1959, but over the years, it was aging and getting worse-for-wear, so the School Board considered demolishing it.

Fast forward to today, and this spectacular undertaking is completed; our community can be proud of this outstanding effort of architectural preservation. Special thanks are reserved for the School Board of Sarasota County; Tandem Construction, Harvard Jolly Architects designs, and expertise on Rudolph provided by Sarasota architect Jonathan Parks.

Drive by yourself one day soon and enjoy the view. The “moat” is now free of overgrown vegetation that was not there in 1967 when I graduated. If you have any recollections of you, or other students being tossed into the moat, please share them here. (You might not want to use your real name).


Pretty as a Picture

When was the last time you headed out to Myakka State Park to soak up all its natural beauty? This lovely shot was taken by Earl Burnell, a well-respected and noted photographer who moved to Sarasota in 1934 to ply his trade. Many of his images are archived at Sarasota County Historical Resources, where I do my research. 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Just Jane

You’ve heard about Mel Fischer’s treasure hunting finds, off the Florida Keys, I’m sure. However, did you know that it was the unfortunate sinking of the hurricane-struck Spanish Galleon, the Atocha, which offered up these treasures?
Well, hurry over to the Crocker Church, at the Historical Society today, at 11:30 a.m. to hear author, Henry Duggan, III discuss his historic novel, “Silver’s Odyssey” which tells the story of a Spanish survivor from the ship, as he walks from the Keys to St. Augustine, braving the 17th century Florida wilderness for four long years, before reaching his destination. Bring your brown bag lunch for a picnic on ‘The Back Porch’ after Henry’s fascinating presentation. Free to HSOSC members, $5.00 donation for guests. For more information, visit www.hsosc.com

Today, you’ll be able to see a gorgeous new addition in our Vintage Real Estate section of our website.  Be sure to check out the Virtual Tour of this 1920’s charmer; more on this one, after I’ve had a chance to walk through it myself.

We are not the only ones bent on saving historic treasures. The latest issue of Town and Country magazine enlightens readers that in Japan, where 700 year old temples are venerated masterpieces; they think nothing of bull-dozing low rise ‘Mid-Century Moderns,’ to make way for high-rise office buildings.

The modestly-scaled Hotel Okura was featured in two films in the 1960s, “Walk Don’t Run” with Cary Grant, and James Bond’s “You Only Live Twice,” but now since “Tokyo has no landmarks law” this warm, swingy edifice, created by Yoshiro Taniguchi, is in danger of biting the dust, as early as this September.  Ironically his son, Yoshio Taniguchi will likely be the chosen designer to replace his dad’s masterpiece. Want to help? Monocle Magazine has a petition you can sign at: www.savetheokura.com. Wouldn’t that be something to have 500 signatures coming from little ole Sarasota?


Ain't Life Grand?

Remember the nursery rhyme “This Little Piggy?” The most common version went like this:
This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none,
And this little piggy cried wee wee wee all the way home.

Another one I found states:
This little puppy went to market,
This little puppy stayed home,
This little puppy had a biscuit,
This little puppy had a bone,
And this little puppy said arf arf arf arf arf arf arf all the way home.
(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)

Arthur Britton Edwards “Roots”

A.B. Edwards was born on October 2, 1874 within 5 miles of where the Sarasota County Courthouse stands. The oldest of five boys, when his father, John L. died in 1886, and his mother, Mellie Frances (nee Ange) died four years later, your Arthur felt the weight of sadness when he saw the family split up among relatives and friends.

In 1864, John L. Edwards, a Confederate soldier from Jefferson County, Florida, was seriously wounded in a South Carolina engagement and left behind on the battlefield, which happened to be the plantation of William Oden Ange, a well-to-do South Carolina farmer. After the smoke of rifles and cannon had floated into the distant hills, Mr. Ange strode out into his broad fields to survey the havoc that war had done to his home land. He stumbled upon the body of the wounded soldier, whose gray uniform was caked with blood, but in whom a spark of life still glowed.

The farmer hurried back to his house for help and returned to carry the wounded man back to the farm house. For weeks, John L. Edwards hovered between life and death, but the tender care by the farmer, his wife and family of four daughters and two sons nursed the soldier through every crisis – and John L. Edwards refused to die. Listed at the end of the war as “missing in action and presumed dead,” the Edwards family was overjoyed when one day later in 1865, John L. trudged up the wagon trail to a happy reunion with his parents and two brothers, who also had been Confederate soldiers but had returned home after the war, unscathed.

Doctors advised young Edwards (a veteran at age 26), that he should leave the north Florida plantation and go to the sea coast and get the benefits of salt air and salt water to restore his health. He made his way to Tampa where he bought a 36-foot sloop-rigged sailboat and embarked on a cruise to Key West, where he had been informed, he could get work as a skilled mechanic and cabinet maker in the shipyards maintained by the British government.

Young John L. was returning to Tampa in the winter of 1867-1868, when dusk found him off shore at Big Sarasota Pass, with his fresh water supply running low. Read more...

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)

Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Tomorrow, in 1931, tourists visiting the Mira Mar Hotel were treated to a performance of the semi-famous Dutton Circus, featuring dogs, ponies, monkeys, and an “elephant.” Petite Evelyn, the physical culture girl, astonished the audience with her acrobatic feats, and the American Legion Band was conducted by Ringling conductor Merle Evans. (Face it folks, ’31 wasn’t a hot year).

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Where was I?

The winner of our last contest was Laura Patterson. Congratulations!

Now, didn’t I have some beautiful tile work in my gardens? It is your task to either name who was the last family to live inside my residence, or to figure out “Where 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 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?


Belated St. Patrick Day Wishes

We hope you had a splendid St. Patty's Day, complete with corned beef and cabbage, beer, and Irish soda bread. I didn't bump into any leprechauns, did you? Erin go bragh!

(image credit: Wikipedia)


Postcard/Slide of the Week

It’s Spring and time to mix things up a bit! Instead of always displaying a postcard, I have decided to also add 35mm slides now and then. That’s what I am doing today – these gorgeous wooden cabin cruisers are docked at the Sarasota Yacht Club, ca. 1956. If you ever had one of these beauties, or scrapped and varnished one to maintain it, please let us know here.

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)



I am so glad to know that Picket Celery was “Individually Washed and Pre-cooled to 33 degrees.” William W. Stockbridge sure took care of his Sarasota product; next time I have a stalk, with some peanut butter on it, I’ll remember that. Were you a peanut butter fan, or pimento cheese?
(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)