Get Social With Us

like watch follow


Receive Email Updates

Sign up today and receive our newsletter and more directly to your inbox.


Search Sarasota History

contact us follow us newsletter sign up search this site

Newsletter June 29, 2016

Published Wednesday, June 29, 2016 8:00 am

Drive By Gem

Here I go again, professing the beauty of a small home, like this one East of the Trail, and how it makes sense in today’s market. It is inspirational to see them as stalwarts while builders are over-developing every parcel of land that can be had in our community. A good portion of those huge homes are spec houses, for goodness sake! Gosh, for the price of the huge vanity homes being constructed, one might have enough money to have two small places – live in one and rent out the other. What a concept.


Ain't Life Grand?

“Pic” magazine? I wonder if that was a pinup magazine or a prelude to Playboy magazine. In any event, this lonely soldier was stationed at the Sarasota Army Air Base during World War II. The accommodations were simple and forthright. A wooden floor and a knee-high wooden wall was the main support for these glorified tents. There was no A/C back in those days, but the screening came in handy against all the mosquitoes on the verge of attack.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Postcard of the Week

"Lions, tigers and bears, oh my!" Oops, in this case, lions, tigers and a gorilla. Judy Garland wouldn’t have cared either way, since she had a way with conquering all the challenges that came her way in “The Wizard of Oz.” I still enjoy that movie, though I have seen it countless times. What a classic.

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Just Jane

It seems when the calendar of activities slows down, the bounty of local fruits at our farmer’s markets picks up and suddenly, it’s ‘mango season!’ Your backyard squirrels will alert you to the exact day when you should start picking, if you’re lucky enough to have a tree. I have 5 green fruits outside my pool cage, each with just one big chomp out of it. Fussy little brats.

But beware - especially if you’re a newcomer to our sunny state and you don’t know about the allergy dangers of the mango milk sap. I just spent a sleepless night, worrying that my daughter in Ft. Myers had been bitten by a brown recluse spider, after seeing photos of the pink trails on her arm that soon turned into nasty, brown blisters that seemed to be eating away at her flesh.

Cue the hero music here! A ‘Good Ole Boy,’ and good friend, born and raised on a farm down there, declared, “Why that’s nothing but Mango Poisoning Katie!” Sure enough, when she called this morning, after a visit to the ER last night, the blisters had popped and she was feeling relieved. She admitted the family had been out plucking mangos with neighbors, and she got spurted by the white milky sap on her arm, but she never gave it a thought. Mangos are related to the poison ivy family, so be careful touching the skin and sap, if that weed bothers you. Get someone else to peel this juicy summer delicacy for you and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Happy mango munching!


This 1920s Florida promotional piece makes life here look like a carefree paradise. I am sure this was a typical view until the Land Boom cratered in 1926 which was just a prelude to the Great Depression. I sure hope this Brexit mess doesn’t have a serious impact on us, but one never knows. So far, the implications with the worldwide economy gives one pause when asked to vote on such an important matter, without considering the consequences.

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Pretty as a Picture

I love this shot of Charles Ringling’s yacht, the Symphonia, out in Sarasota Bay. There’s barely a ripple in the water, and the vessel appears to be resting on glass. I wish I knew what year this was taken and by whom. 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


County Treasure

That rude “Ken doll” made a remark to me that implied I had a full diaper under my colorful outfit. Then he added that I looked like my butt was in front of me instead of behind. The nerve! He’s nothing but a bleach-blond, overly-tan womanizer. I’m in a historical archive, and he is probably in a discount bin at Walmart.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


The History of the Venice Jetties 

Casey’s Pass, located in southern Sarasota County, was named for John Charles Casey. The area was surveyed in the late 1840s and early 1850s, and the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey published its’ first survey in 1851.

The pass was named after Casey for his assistance in the three-year survey project. His name would later appear ina succeeding military map on the island to the north of the pass which was named Casey Key. Casey did not live to see the area settled, having died in 1856.

The area remained relatively inhabitable into the 1860s. At the end of the Civil War, homesteaders began to move into the area to set up homes and farms. Casey’s Pass was navigable for small shallow draft boats which carried settlers and supplies to the homesteads. The pass was known to shift and move due to the currents and storms. In 1883, the U.S. Coast and Geodetic survey showed the pass farther to the north of its present day location.

At other times the pass had to be opened to allow water to go through. In the early 1900s, heavy rains closed the pass and residents used mules, plows and shovels to open the pass up. The process was repeated on several occasions over the years. Read more...

(photo credit: Venice Museum and Archives)


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today in 1884, Harrison “Tip” Riley, a local farmer, was killed by the “vigilantes” as he rode to the post office. He’d forewarned Charles Abbe (pictured) that the night riders were out to get him and the vigilantes went after Riley to get even. They were thorough, if nothing else. They shot Riley twice and cut his throat.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Where was I?

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

After I was constructed as a hotel, my name changed a few times over the course of many years. In this shot, I am known as the Mayfair Hotel. Your challenge today is to name the street my grand entrance faces. Its name changed, too, but either of its names will suffice.

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?


Preserving History and Nature with the Brush

The Second Annual SRQ Plein Air Painters Exhibition is taking place from June 21 - July 3, 2016 with a reception and awards party this evening, June 29th, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. The event is taking place at the Renaissance School of Art Gallery located at 4063 S. Tamiami Trail.

This exhibition, open to the public, will have over 40 works of art depicting local scenes; including paintings of the DeMarcay Hotel and Roth Cigar Factory. The anticipated demolition of the landmark hotel and cigar factory buildings was the subject of the group's recent paint-out. The group gathered on Palm Avenue in May of this year to capture these buildings in paint; a piece of history for our community.

Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. or by appointment, please call (941) 330-6865.