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Newsletter March 9, 2016

Published Wednesday, March 9, 2016 7:00 am
by Larry Kelleher

Historic Homes Tour

The Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation showcased their Twenty-Sixth Annual Historic Homes Tour on St. Armand’s Key this past Sunday. The weather was perfect and there was no shortage of guests to view some extraordinary homes and one spectacular garden. The garden of 25 S. Washington Drive is pictured here. The pool was very inviting, and the view of the bay and Plymouth Harbor was breathtaking. If you missed the tour, mark you calendars for the first Sunday in March, 2017. 


Drive By Gem

This interesting looking home is located in Cherokee Park, a very stately area, and a beautiful neighborhood to take a stroll in. I am disappointed to see many of the original homes disappearing to make way for huge houses, but alas, this is happening everywhere. I particularly like how this home is perched on a raised area with two entrances and replete with a wonderful stone chimney. The old fashioned awnings really set the place off, too.


Just Jane

Well, I've finally found the perfect home for Coastal Living Magazine's next edition!

You can't help feeling right at home, the minute you walk into this lime green cottage at 542 Ohio Lane in the Bohemian neighborhood of Laurel Park. Shiny wooden floors throughout, totally renovated open kitchen, leading out to a cool, welcoming porch filled with wicker, which beckons you out to the lush privacy gardens surrounding a "cocktail pool." An indoor/outdoor shower is a fun bonus!

Imagine a fireplace in the master bedroom. And, for the true oenophile, a former closet space has been turned into a temperature controlled wine "cellar" which can hold up to 320 bottles.

Your granny or in-laws will love the privacy afforded in the separate guest house. With two more bedrooms, kitchen, and bath up here, you may never get rid of those relatives. But it's easy to see how much love and inspiration this artist and her husband have poured into this happy home. It's one of my all time favorites. Check it out here, and then call Dede Curran to see what I mean! 


Ain't Life Grand?

The lazy days of summer are approaching soon, and isn’t this how life is supposed be on Siesta Key?  Of course - but how many hammocks do you see suspended from a cabbage palm with a pretty Fraulein fanning her beau, who is drinking beer from a glass bottle, and reading “Atlas Shrugged?” Geeze, Ayn Rand must be turning over in her grave at the thought of catering to a man. Where is John Galt when you need him? 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Postcard of the Week

I certainly hope you don’t think I go out of my way to find politically incorrect images for this newsletter (though someone like Donald Trump would revel in the idea). Anyhow, this is a postcard of an American Indian dressed in his beaded garb and feathers while swallowing fire. It was taken at Floridaland (remember that place?) and smacks of an earlier time in the county’s entertainment venues.

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)



They say once you get sand in your shoes in Sarasota (or Florida, for that matter) you will always return one day. By the looks of U.S. 41, I would say that is an understatement! We really have to get a handle on “quantitative easing” of traffic and parking. Have any great ideas? Click here and let us know.

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Annual Meeting

The Friends of the Sarasota County History Center are hosting their annual meeting on March 24, 2016 at the Chidsey Historical Exhibits & Education Center, located at 701 N. Tamiami Trail. Dr. Leslee Keys, Assistant Professor of History and Director of Historic Preservation, at Flagler College, will discuss her book, “Hotel Ponce De Leon: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Flagler’s Gilded Age Palace.” This is a detailed account of the historic building’s transformation from opulent luxury hotel in the late 1800s to its current state as private, liberal arts Flagler College in Saint Augustine, Florida. Reservations are required. For more information email: schcfriends@verizon.net or call 941.361.2453.


Dear Editor: I love the old postcards, and the memories they evoke. Parking on the Siesta Key beach (day & night) take a lot of us back to some neat memories. The post card scenery doesn't say it all though. How about those exciting fast trips over the sand dunes on "Roller Coaster road" down at Midnight Pass? I know that today's environmentalists would hate us, but Cupid kept calling us back to the pass and we just had to top those dunes as fast as we could to answer the call. One memorable night in 1960 (think hurricane Donna), My friends car flooded out just as we got back to the pavement and the four of us spent the early morning hours strolling hand in hand up the road until we finally found a phone. There were some worried and angry parents to deal with when we got our dates home, but we all laughed about it many times after that. There simply could not have been a better place to grow up in than Sarasota County, and the wonderful memories that take me back are priceless.

Jack Fordham
Swainsboro, GA

Dear Editor: A few years back, I contacted you to see if you knew the location of Manasota Speedway or Speed Bowl. After some research, I have concluded that the Manasota Speedway (Bowl) was located across from (East) what is now the Bayshore Gardens Shopping Plaza on US 41. The picture from this week’s article showing Joie Chitwood losing a tire was taken at that track. My Father raced there in the 1950's. Many of your readers might also remember the name Frankie Snyder who was the dominant racer there in the winter. Thank you for an excellent newsletter, I look forward to it each week!!

Larry Smith
Bradenton, FL


The Colony of East Florida

Florida played a significant role in our nation’s struggle for independence. In 1763, Spain transferred La Florida to England in exchange for the recently captured island of Cuba that was captured near the end of the Seven Years War, also known as The French and Indian War. Spain’s late entry on the French side placed it on the losing end of the terms in the Treaty of Paris in 1763.

With the acquisition of new lands to the south of the colony of Georgia, England established two new colonies in Florida. The new colonies of East and West Florida were established with the Apalachicola River as their border. Sarasota was a part of East Florida.

With our capitol in St. Augustine, the first British governor was Major Francis Ogilvie who acted as temporary governor until the first civil governor, General James Grant, arrived a year later from South Carolina. Grant attempted to establish a plantation-style economy in Florida similar to that of South Carolina. The idea was to create numerous rice plantations in the marsh areas in northeast Florida. In addition, Indigo plantations were also established. Grant supported the establishment of these plantations to the extent that he personally invested. Read more...

(image credit: Dept. of Special Collections, University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries)


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today in 1921, Rube Allyn is released from jail after being found innocent of the murder of Harry Higel. On a lighter note, the first King Neptune Frolics were held in 1964, with Col. William Kendall the first King. Mrs. Kendall fell overboard and had to be rescued by being dragged aboard the “Syosset” with a mop. It’s a rough life at sea.

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


Who am I?

The winner of our last contest was Jack Fordham. Congratulations!

The last quiz was too easy, so now for something more difficult. I’m thinking only the folks who live in Venice will get this one. I was a trusty vehicle and could hold a bevy of men on my back. I was called upon many a time, and everyone loved me. In fact they gave me a fitting nickname. Your task is to guess my name, “Who 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?


Pretty as a Picture

Isn’t this a pleasant sight? Canoeing in 1927 was not much different than it is today, with the exception of many more choices of boats to venture out in today, and more undeveloped waterfront property to view back then. This picture was published in March of 1927 in This Week in Sarasota, a local publication.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Our County Treasures

Pictured here is a bird cage, chairs and side table that belonged to Bertha Palmer. This is an example of some objects that have been professionally restored for Sarasota County Historical Resources over the years. If you would like to see them up close and personal, be sure and stop by the Historical Exhibits Education Center (a.k.a. Friends of Sarasota County History Center) located at 701 N. Tamiami Trail. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Call them at 941.361.2453 for further information.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Earlye Musicke Concert in Historic Venue

On Tuesday, March 22, 2016 the Sarasota Earlye Musicke Consort will be performing for the fourth season in a row for the members and guests of the Historical Society of Sarasota County. The program will be presented at the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street (between US 41 and Cocoanut Avenue) beginning at 7:00 pm.

The members of this consort, performing in period costume, play music dating from the 14th century to the 21st century on recorders and violas. This concert is free for HSOSC members, and a $10 donation is requested from guests. The group is led by Charlotte Trautwein.

More information is available at www.sarasotarecorder.org