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Newsletter May 18, 2016

Published Wednesday, May 18, 2016 6:00 am
by Larry Kelleher

Drive By Gem

This bright canary-yellow home is ‘East of the Trail’ and has an unusual roof line with three representative faux gables. The house is rather large and rambles on in ranch fashion and could possibly be on two lots. In any event, it certainly stands out in the quiet neighborhood.


Ain't Life Grand?

This young dude is getting ready to go steppin’ out with a girl on each arm from the looks of this picture. The lids are great and make them look much more mature than their age. I wonder where they were heading; my guess is the movies or church.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Postcard of the Week

The Aloha Straw Hut - I remember this place well as a child in the 1950s. It was located at 1851 Hillview Street a block from where I grew up on Hyde Park Street. I was fascinated with the golden mannequin and her grass skirt, leis, and straw hat. She was well ahead of her time when the James Bond movie, “Gold Finger” came out and capitalized on a totally gold woman. I also was curious about the palm fronds on the roof – an ideal place for the palmetto bugs to congregate. Where's the Orkin man?

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Just Jane

Thinking of personalizing your pool? Or, do you have a collection of broken china shards bagged up in your garage, as I did for several years? Wondering what to do, and who to call to turn them into a very cool mosaic piece of art? I’ve found that artist for you, one who has studied this historic art form and has taken it to new levels; he teaches classes too!

My latest nickname is “The Connector” and my most favorite connection in the past five years, is a multi-talented Irishman from Dublin, who is delighting Sarasotans with his mosaics. One public one, which you can enjoy anytime, night or day, is the collar around the Mable Ringling Memorial Fountain in Luke Wood Park across Osprey Avenue from P.F. Chang’s restaurant. Pearse Kelly designed and installed that mosaic, with the help of many of us volunteer worker-bees, who learned to snip, shape, glue, and grout those tiles. Go check it out, you will be amazed with all the fine detail and care for a historic site brought back to life.

Now, Pearse is creating forever masterpieces for clients, whether it’s a personalized design for their new pool, or a new table top using Nana’s broken cups and plates, or this magnificent work depicting Sarasota Bayfront which he did for a very special client. He can be reached at www.splashmosaic.com, you can see his work on his Facebook page, or just call him @ 941-234-8771. You’ll be glad to meet him and look through his portfolio in person.

Watch for our upcoming new listing, in our Vintage Real Estate section. A home that I’ve always wondered about, tucked away on McClellan Parkway.  Oh my gosh, if you love nooks and crannies, this is the home for you, and your Mother-in-Law, too.  



This is a poster from the Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth. Note the Twin Hemispheres Wagon, which for years was located at the Circus Hall of Fame on the North Trail near Zinn’s Restaurant. I loved both of those places. Too bad they are a distant memory, but I understand the historic wagon is now for sale. It would be great to have it back here on display! Anyone willing to pony up?

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Our County Treasures

The Gibson Girls wore button-up shoes, and perhaps this pair was for a youngster, because there is no high heel on them. Nevertheless, I can only imagine how difficult this would have been for a tyke to button up when she was in a rush to get dressed. Poor dear; time to move to Florida, go barefoot and to heck with style! 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Pretty as a Picture

This photo was taken in 1937 on Siesta Key – what a lovely and expansive home, or apartment building for those days. I only recall small bungalows and a few small apartment buildings when I was coming up. I am impressed that six chimneys are in view, and there may be more hidden from view behind the palms. If you have any information on this place, I would love to know more about it. Contact us here. 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)

The Sarasota Times , March 22, 1923

(Editor’s note: Yesterday, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that the Sarasota City Commission unanimously approved allowing Harvey Vengroff go ahead with his plans to build affordable housing near the downtown core. He had been hampered by a decision about annual inspections that was not thrust upon other developers. With that in mind, I thought it might be interesting for you to see how a similar scenario was facing Andrew McAnsh in 1923, and how he responded way back then when challenged over the construction of the Mira Mar Hotel. It pays for municipalities, developers, and residents to pay attention to history – it often does repeat itself).

On Tuesday, the twenty-fourth day of April, 1923, the freeholders of the City of Sarasota will vote, by proclamation of the mayor and vote of the city council, upon an election calling for the issuance of bonds to the amount of $30,000 to raise money to be devoted to putting Sarasota “over the top” as a winter resort. This sum is to be presented as a bonus to Andrew McAnsh, for providing a modern three-story hotel on the water front – an asset that the city has long needed and one that will undoubtedly increase property values all over the city very considerably.

This project was submitted to the city council of the Chamber of Commerce and business men after it had been ascertained that Sarasota would not have any hotel for next season unless Andrew McAnsh provided it. The city council promptly decided that unless a sufficient number of freeholders subscribed their names to a petition calling for this election, no action could be taken. So the Board of Governors of the Commerce body had the meeting adjourned for 24 hours during which time they drew up petitions and obtained the signatures of eighty-three bonafide freeholders of Sarasota, pledging their support to this proposed bond issue and its primary object. Accordingly the city council voted unanimously to call the election for this purpose and the mayor issued his proclamation, according to law.

It Will Probably Carry

The bond issue will undoubtedly be carried by a safe majority as soon as the people understand its primary object, for this movement will do more for the future growth and prosperity of Sarasota than any other one thing. The councilmen designated a committee of three reputable citizens, Messers. Thompson, Tyler and Burch to act in an advisory capacity and cooperate with the city council in the disposition of this main objective.

This committee immediately started to function and yesterday held a long conference with Andrew McAnsh, asking that the latter stipulate how much his proposed investment here, in accordance with his plans already submitted, would amount to, and asking him further to submit to a checking of all materials, by a city inspector and cost bills as well. Read more...

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today, in 1885, the trial of the century for Sarasota began. Members of the Sarasota Vigilante Committee went on trial for the murder of Postmaster Charles Abbe. Abbe had been involved with some of the “land barons” who had misused the laws to acquire holdings in the area. The Vigilantes killed Abbe over the scheme.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Who am I?

The winner of our last contest was Jana Susan Paley. Congratulations! Please email me your mailing address, so I can send you your prize. My email address is: editor@floridahistoryalive.com.

I was well-known guy in Sarasota, though there was a few of us that shared the same last name. If I give you too many more hints, you might feel faint and need some smelling salts – hmmm… let’s see if there are any on the shelf.

Click here to submit your answer for this week's 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?


Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor: Tiny houses are a fabulous idea and I have a folder full of manufacturers and plans and, ideas. There are sooo many advantages. Easier to keep up, clean, taking less space, leaving more property for a play area, gardens, chickens, whatever. Boca Grande is a grand example of McMansions for 2 people, usually over seventy. We had expansive homes on the beach, but not in our neighborhoods and not with the landscaping mentality that prevails today. I think we may have one street left of Cracker homes. It was our pride to have almost every kind of flora and fauna from around the world. Most new residents pull everything up to landscape, not even knowing what they already had to enjoy. I don't believe there is much in the way fruit trees any longer either. Ah well. C'est la vie.

Kathy Futch
Boca Grande, FL

Dear Editor:

The note regarding the location of a 20,000 year old fossil found back in the 20's, (while digging drainage ditch near the Phillippi Creek) ... reminds me of part of my childhood history.

I was walking (playing) on the east bank of Phillippi Creek (just south of Bahia Vista) when we (Verlin Schrock and I) saw what we thought was a turtle on the west bank (the side towards the city). We went back over the old bridge to it and found that it was the end of a large bone, exposed by rain. It turned out to be the thigh bone (femur) of a mammoth. I also have a vague recollection of the hip bone being loaded onto the bed of someone's pickup truck. I was later told that it was sent to the Univ of Fla and some might be on display, but I have no proof of that.

I used to swim in that area (remember, I was a kid so it must have been in the mid to late 50's - and the water was clean!) and run my fingers in the sand on the bottom and bring up all kinds of fossilized bones.

Jay Bullington
Williamsburg, VA