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Newsletter September 8, 2016

Published Thursday, September 8, 2016 8:00 am

Drive By Gem

Now this is what I would refer to as a traditional wooden bungalow, and a very appealing one at that! Right down to the American flag, this place could easily qualify for a place in a life-style magazine. I love the pergola, and the brick drive totally sets this place off. This is just one of the finds you can enjoy if you go out for a bike ride, walk, or leisurely drive in many places throughout the county.


Ain't Life Grand?

Speaking of the Labor Day Regatta, this young woman is ready for action - that is if it involves her mini-cannon. I wonder where she is aiming that instrument of warfare – Bird Key, perhaps. Remember when the S.O.B. (Save our Bays) campaign was well underway and everyone was totally angry about the ebb and flow of Big Pass when Bird Key was dredged and developed by ARVIDA? Or, was that a result of Midnight Pass being filled in? Hard to remember for sure. Gosh, the sand wars are now raging over the pristine sand in Big Pass being used for beach replenishment. Where’s a cannon when you need one?

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources, Sarasota Sailing Squadron Collection)


Postcard of the Week

Sarasota Bay – what can I say? It sure doesn’t look like this anymore. You’d be hard-pressed to find such an open expanse with only one dock! Did you know the main reason attorneys go to Sarasota County Historical Resources is to look at old aerials that could hopefully prove a dock can be grandfathered in for their client.  

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Remembering the Manatee River Maroons of 1821

The history for Angola, an early 19th century maroon community on the Manatee River, is enmeshed with international intrigues, fights and flights for freedom, and reveals an impressive heritage of liberty in southwest Florida. Its history begins with events further north in Florida.

2016 brings the bicentennial of the destruction of the Negro Fort on the Apalachicola River in 1816. Join in the discussion of that community’s significance and its people, known as maroons. Black Seminoles, African Seminoles, and freedom-seeking people. This event will highlight archaeological insights and will unveil new virtual reconstruction that help us better understand all of the early 19th century maroon communities on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Pictured here is Hayley Trego viewing the Virtual World for Angola.

Professor Uzi Baram, Dr. Ed Gonzalez-Tennant and Vickie Oldham will discuss the history of anti-slavery resistance in Florida at this free event held on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. in the Manatee County Central Library. The library is located at 1301 Barcarrota Blvd. West, Bradenton, FL, 34205-7522. For more information, please call Becky O’Sullivan or Kassie Kemp at (813) 396-2325, or email Kassie at kkemp@usf.edu.



What could be more endearing than to see beloved “Alley Oop” sailing in the Labor Day Regatta so many moons ago. Over the last 70 years many people have competed in this seafaring adventure, but I sure would have liked to see the one and only affable caveman showing off his aquatic skills.

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Pretty as a Picture

Ahh…the original court room in the Sarasota County Court House on Main Street. I have never been arrested for anything (fingers crossed), but if I had to go to court, I would like to have justice served in this remarkable yet simple atmosphere. The place even has a balcony and no one needs a microphone to be heard; what a great place for an orator like Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Regatta has Sailed Yearly, Except Once, Since 1946

The Labor Day Regatta has been an institution in Sarasota since 1946, with Hurricane Elena in 1985 causing the only break in the series. The first post-World War II regatta included competitions for boats in moth, snipe, cricket and suicide classes. There also was a free-for-all.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune described a novel race called “b’ang and go back,” which required boats to keep under sail and head out from shore without stalling and, upon the firing of the gun, turn around and race back to the starting point. There were few Sarasota winners that year.

The sailing regatta was only one of a number of events in the 1946 Labor Day weekend celebration. A dance, bicycle rodeo, speed boat demonstration, water carnival at the Lido Casino pool and “Shipwreck Follies” at the Municipal Auditorium rounded out the activities. The Follies included dance routines, acrobatics, comedy acts and modeling of fashionable beach wear by senior girls from Sarasota High School.

The following year the regatta, sponsored by the Sarasota Sailing Squadron, mushroomed in size and scope. In a preliminary event, cruisers from a number of Florida cities raced from Tampa to Sarasota between 6:00 p.m. Saturday and 6:00 a.m. Sunday. The primary races on Sunday attracted more than 100 boats in six classes competing for 26 trophies. Read more...

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources, Joseph Steinmetz Collection)


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today, in 1923, it’s hard to imagine a more fitting demise for Col. Gillespie. He died while walking on his golf course. The designer of America’s first golf course,* and a central figure in the early history of Sarasota, he had been a part of the scene since arriving here to help rejuvenate the town’s failing development.

*Editor’s note: This claim has been challenged by other golf clubs in the northern United States. 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Where am I?

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

I’d say we were lucky that Hermine didn’t strike Sarasota as a hurricane. However, some flooding, downed trees, and power outages were part of the heavy rain event that seemed to go on for days on end. This is not a picture of the recent storm; it was taken in 1966 during some inclement weather. Your job is to figure out where this photo was taken. Where am I?

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?


County Treasure

Will you be having cream and sugar with your coffee?” I wonder if John Hamilton Gillespie, or his wife Blanche, asked that question when using this coffee brewing system in the morning. He probably got up first, in order to get an early start on his golf course, and surrendered to the domestic task. 

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)