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Newsletter September 2, 2015

Published Wednesday, September 2, 2015 8:00 am
by Larry Kelleher

Sarasota County Wants Your Ideas!

Recently Sarasota County embarked upon an ambitious long range planning effort intended to solicit community input on six planning areas including Historic Preservation. The undertaking will result in revisions to the County’s long range Comprehensive Plan.

Cycle 6 is the Quality of Life Cycle and includes Historic Preservation, Parks and Recreation, and Libraries. Including Historic Preservation in this cycle seems fitting as historic preservation serves to enhance community identity and enrich our lives through the power of place.

Sarasota County will be actively seeking citizen input and ideas during public workshops. The best way to submit an idea is in writing by visiting the Comprehensive Plan Update webpage at www.scgov.net/CompPlanUpdate and clicking on “email a planner” or directly emailing your idea to Planner@scgov.net. You may send comments by mail to:

Sarasota County Planning and Development Services,
1660 Ringling Blvd., 1st Floor, Sarasota, FL, 34236

The dates for public workshop on quality of life issues are noted below:

Historic Preservation Workshops:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 9, 4-6 p.m. Jacaranda Library 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice
  • Thursday, Sept. 10, 6-8 p.m. The Chidsey Building 701 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

Parks and Recreation Workshops:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 16, 5:30-7 p.m. Colonial Oaks Park 5300 Colonial Oaks Blvd., Sarasota
  • Thursday, Sept. 17, 5:30-7 p.m. Woodmere Park 3951 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice

Libraries Workshops:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 2, 4-6 p.m. Fruitville Public Library 100 Coburn Road, Sarasota
  • Thursday, Sept. 3, 6-8 p.m. North Port Public Library 13800 S. Tamiami Trail, North Port

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Drive By Gem

It is always so nice to take a spin through the Laurel Park historic district and take in all the quaint and outstanding homes around every corner. This cottage is no exception and is remarkably unique-looking. The morning light was perfect to take the picture, and luckily it had just stopped raining. 

Pretty as a Picture

The Sara de Sota Pageant was always a popular venue originating in 1916. In this shot, during the 1940s, you can see the townsfolk still turned out in droves for the parades and nightly gaiety. This is the lower Main Street portion of downtown looking towards the bay. Don’t get caught not being in costume, or you might end up in ‘jail.’

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Just Jane

Oh, it’s good to be home! Don’t get me wrong, I still love to travel, but a month away from Sarasota is about a week too long for me, even during hurricane season. How did it get to be September already? I’m sure all the school children are wondering the same thing today.

We are so lucky to live in this popular cultural Eden, and it’s becoming more famous every month. But we still have many vintage and new residential options for our ‘snow birds’ turning into ‘full-timers.’ Two of my Realtor friends keep me updated on the “West of the Trail” real estate market, and in Jenifer Schwell’s comprehensive report I counted 41 homes in this market that were built prior to 1955. Now, if I could just get all of those owners to insist on being listed in our Vintage Real Estate section, we could actually have a ‘one-stop-shopping’ site for homes with class and character; not to mention they withstood many hurricanes that assaulted our coast.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to add Wisconsin and Utah to my ‘states visited’ list. The greener the corn fields became, as we traveled over the hilly back roads there, the more desolate, dry and dusty became the desert valleys in Utah.

Historically speaking, lots of exciting events are coming up to fill your date-calendar; watch for more news in our next newsletter!


Ain't Life Grand?

What’cha chewing on there, honey? I know you said a few miles back you were hungry, but I didn’t think you would resort to grazing on a piece of driftwood! Let’s get you back in the car and head to the nearest town. Maybe, a Stuckey’s is just ‘round the bend.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Westover Cottages Provided Beach Escape 

If you were looking for a place to escape in the late 1940s, Longboat Key was a largely undeveloped barrier island. Farmers once had tomato farms on the key and mosquitoes were a big problem. The northern end of the key had some residences but there were no bridges that connected the key to the mainland until 1927. After the bridges were constructed, you could drive from Sarasota to Anna Maria through Longboat Key. However, this was short lived as the bridge at the northern end of the key that connected Longboat to Coquina Beach was washed out in 1932 and was not replaced until 1957.

John Ringling attempted development on the southern end of the key with the construction of the Ritz-Carlton hotel and an 18-hole golf course in the late 1920s. Unfortunately, the Ritz-Carlton was never finished and the golf course closed.
With the end of the land boom and the Great Depression engulfing the county, there was little development on Longboat Key. However, in 1935, Lora and Gordon Whitney arrived on Longboat Key and set up a beach resort on the northern end of the key. The Whitneys built small beach cottages and advertised them as the perfect place to bring your family and pets. The couple is credited for sparking development and new interest in the key.

It was not until the end of World War II that development really began on Longboat. During the war, parts of the key were used for bombing practice and an emergency landing strip for the Sarasota Army Air Base. After the war, small hotels and beach cottages appeared up and down the key. One example of the type of beach cottages that were built was the Westover Beach Cottages. Read more...

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Tomorrow in 1937, for $16,980 ($28.30 per acre) the city purchased 600 acres for a modern airport. The Sarasota-Bradenton Airport started with dirt runways and service from one airline. Later, after service was discontinued, the land was used for an Army airbase (pictured). It was returned to civilian use shortly after the war.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)



Where Am I?

The winner of our last contest was Rebecca Cantrell. Congratulations!

I intend to make it as easy as possible on you today. Note the Amoco gas station and the water tower, with a vacant lot in the foreground. This shot was taken in 1953 before there was a building at this location. Your task today is to state the name of the building that was erected there. Hint: Think homemade apple-butter.

Click here to submit your answer for this weeks quiz, click here to view the last challenge and correct answer.

(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?


Postcard of the Week

Many of you recall the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on South Longboat Key that John Ringling failed to be complete due to the beginnings of the Great Depression. Unfortunately, it was demolished in the 1960s. At any rate, I think it would have been a lavish experience to stay there.  

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)



“These are genuine Kodatone prints” says this wrapper for processed photos dated May 19, 1941. The owner labeled them “Tulips - Holland, Michigan.” I have heard of Kodachrome, but never Kodatone which was registered by the U.S. Patent Office. The text goes on to say: “Our skilled craftsmen give each print individual attention bringing out every bit of beauty and detail recorded by your camera. Kodatone Prints are on Velox the paper made expressly for amateur pictures. Look for “Velox” on the back. “Extra Kodatone Prints Cost Little…Mean Much to Your Friends."

I’m willing to bet that many young people today can’t imagine having to wait for photos to be processed; the digital age has certainly changed the whole venue of photography. Nevertheless, I used to look forward to picking up photos when they were ready, and then immediately shuffling through them to see how they turned out.

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)