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Newsletter December 16, 2015

Published Wednesday, December 16, 2015 8:00 am
by Larry Kelleher

Drive By Gem

Okay, okay, I know I normally don’t show a historically designated home as a 'Drive By Gem,' but when I recently came out of the bank on a gorgeous day, I could not resist taking a pic of this well-appointed home. It is in the Avondale area and that neighborhood is remarkable. Spend some time walking it (or driving) for a treat.


Just Jane

Traditions - It’s that time of year when we bring out the red-labeled boxes of holiday trimmings and traditions. We once again re-live the memories perhaps of a simpler, kinder, closer time. And, we slip into that tradition, kindly re-kindling long-time friendships and family ties. I propose leaving on our lights of peace and love, all year long as a gentle reminder of a great tradition of loving our neighbors, all of them, all of the time.

As my husband and I traveled through the historic towns of France last month (and which of them are not historic?) we couldn’t help notice the dichotomy of architectural styles as seen here in two of my most favorite edifices.

In the 16th Century, the Chateau of Chenonceau was built, ironically on the site of a demolished, fortified castle and mill. What a tradition they started way back then. Today it stands proudly, spanning the River Cher as beautifully as when King Henri II’s “favorite lady”, Diane de Poitiers called it home. (His widow, Catherine de Medici tossed her out when Henri died.)

We were totally blown away by architect, Frank Gehry’s brand new “Glass Ark” as we dubbed it, the headquarters of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, in the middle of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. A masterpiece of engineering, it soars on so many levels, you get dizzy with admiration for Gehry’s genius.

We wish you a Joyeux Noel and a Peace-filled New Year! More Vintage Homes coming to our site, next year!


Ain't Life Grand?

Now, I’m quite sure you’re familiar with the “Purple People-Seater,” but a boatload of seafaring birds? How about the Purple Pelican Seater? When’s dinner, guys?

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Postcard of the Week

Back in the early 20th century, folks might send out a Christmas postcard, to save on postage which was one cent at the time. I suppose only the fancy people could swing a full-folded card. No matter how you slice it, wishing friends a Merry Christmas was thoughtful and welcomed. This card says, “A Joyous Christmas, By this small card a Greeting’s brought, With kindest Wish and Truest Thought.”

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Historical Marker Dedication

On December 5, 2015 the Sarasota County Historical Commission held a historical marker dedication for Luke Wood Park and the Mable Ringling Memorial Fountain. After the welcome and opening remarks, the marker was unveiled with a reception following. The Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation was responsible for the rehabilitation of the fountain that was buried for decades. Following the dedication, guests were invited to a reception at the Brother William Geenen Living Room that celebrated the Alliance’s 30th Anniversary of historic preservation in Sarasota County.

(photo credit: Ruthmary Williams)


Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

December 10, 2015 marked the day of the official ribbon-cutting for the Chidsey Library Building – Historical Exhibits and Education Center at 701 N. Tamiami Trail. The Friends of the History Center finalized the lease on the building earlier this year, and are now open to the public. The Friends moved into the building in October 2015 and opened two new exhibits, and a gift shop. A small collection of books related to local, regional, and state history are available for use in the building. Special educational events, lectures, and presentations are also offered including programs for the entire family. For hours of operation and other information, please call them at 941-361-2453.

Buchan Led Drive for Better Roads

To Buchan’s Landing came the schooners that served as the life line between the pioneer Englewood community and the rest of the world before there were roads.

Will Hamlin’s Phantom (pictured) brought supplies to Peter Buchan’s store. As late as 1917, the Sarasota Times periodically reported on the Friday arrivals from Tampa of the schooner J.W. Booth, captained by W.H. Lampp. Not until that year was there a “hard” road for Englewood drivers, and writer Josephine Cortes gives much of the credit for that development to the “father of Englewood roads,” Peter E. Buchan.

Buchan first appeared in the Lemon Bay area in 1902, worked awhile for one of the founders of Englewood, H.K. Nichols, and left. In 1912, he returned and purchased Nichols’ general store, including a post office and the entire store’s merchandise, for $315. Four years later, Buchan moved his business complex a few blocks south to a two-story building on present Dearborn Street. The family lived on the second floor.

As with many early general store-post office combinations, Buchan’s store served as a multi-faceted community center. When Mrs. Stanley Lampp photographed the tree removal that preceded road construction, Buchan displayed her photos in his store. The Times reported in May 1917 that Buchan “installed a public pay station of the telephone in his store, for the convenience of his customers. All points north, including Tampa, can be communicated with at reasonable rates.” The store also served as the voting place for the Englewood precinct. Read more...

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources, Warren Hamlin Collection)


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today in 1927, Prince Cantacuzene (pictured), speaking at a luncheon, invited townspeople to enter the fields and inspect the celery crop at the Palmer Farms. It was reputed that for the first time, Florida celery might well surpass the California crop in the pre-Christmas harvest.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Where Am I?

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

Medians are so important to establish a place for people on foot to pause while crossing a roadway, or a place for a car to turn-round and head back from the direction they were heading; don’t you agree? They also, unfortunately act as part of the infrastructure for either parallel or angled parking. I am not fond of autos scraping my curbing, but what’s a palm tree-lined median to do? Your task is to say exactly where I’m located. Where am I?

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?



Ah, the fond memories of the Sailor Circus. I suppose most everyone who attended Sarasota High has recollections of this unique venue. I wasn’t talented enough to be a performer, but it was still great fun being in the band, and at times selling popcorn and other concessions. Were you in the circus or participated in some way? Please send us experience here.

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Pretty as a Picture

There are many times, I would like Sarasota to time-warp back to early 1950s, so all current residents and visitors could see what our ‘paradise’ looked like and how people had a great time downtown (no malls, ubiquitous shopping plazas, traffic jams, smart-phones, homeless residents, and pretentious. There was intrigue, incredible creativity, mystery, and scandal, a feeling of personal freedom, a relatively level economic playing field, a sense of joy, and the enduring level of enjoyment being so close to the water; with time to enjoy it. This particular image is from a much earlier time when Sarasota was still quite young. I’m willing to bet, the townspeople were closely knit then, too. My Christmas wish is we can realize paradise again, instead of paradise lost.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)