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Newsletter November 2, 2016

Published Wednesday, November 2, 2016 8:00 am

Happy Veteran's Day

We are always happy to honor our Veterans any day of the year, however November 11th is officially the day to do so nationally. In this photograph, taken at Five Points on November 11, 1928, the American Legion Drum and Bugle Corps is ready to perform at the ceremony dedicating the monument on the left of the photo. Besides being a war memorial, it also served as a traffic light in our first round-about downtown. The memorial was later moved to J.D. Hamel park in the 1950s due to too many cars running into it.

(photo credit: Sarasota Historical Resources)


Drive By Gem

This gleaming white house proudly stands in the Gillespie Park neighborhood just north of downtown. The owners of this gem even have the roof painted to match the house. I must admit I have not seen that done very often, and it really sets this place off when you drive-by…especially on a picture-perfect day. Get outside and enjoy this fabulous weather.


Ain't Life Grand?

What do you mean I have wrinkly knees? My pants are making them look that way. I have super-hero legs, right?

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Postcard of the Week

Remember the Howard Johnson’s motel on U.S. 41 near Wood Street where the ‘new’ Publix is located? I especially liked the restaurant where you could choose from 31 flavors of pure delight; that was always a treat on a hot summer evening. Keep in mind, this was a time when air-conditioning was almost unheard of in our homes. Restaurants were quite cool, and to top it off with ice cream – pure heaven!

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Just Jane

November…this is when the ‘perfect weather’ begins here in Sarasota, for the next six months, so let’s all get out and enjoy it quickly before all the Snow Birds arrive. Politics always creeps up in this month, but I HATE politics, so all I will say is, please get out and vote.

There's fun, FREE things to do all around town now, including meeting one of Sarasota’s most important early settlers, socialite and astute businesswoman from Chicago, Bertha Palmer portrayed by Betty Intagliata. This delightful presentation will take place on Saturday, November 12th from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. at the History Center at 701 North Tamiami Trail, located in the historic Chidsey Library building just south of the Municipal Auditorium. Mrs. Palmer left a huge legacy in our town, though she only wintered here for eight years before her untimely death.  She managed to tout the glories of living here to many, now famous Chicagoans who also left their landmarks on our town.  Betty is no slouch in our local history either, having worked tirelessly for years, assuring us all that our history will not be forgotten!

That’s truly a busy weekend already, but don’t forget the CIRCUS! event going on at Phillippi Estate Park all weekend. Inside the Keith Mansion, you’ll be able to view recently discovered historic circus photos, while listening to outdoor concerts, meeting our local circus personalities, and much more! Saturday morning at 10:00 you can bring the whole family to the Prodie Shell Midden dedication and learn about the indigenous  Indians who inhabited our shores one thousand years ago. See you there!


Pretty as a Picture

While growing up in Sarasota, there were only a few hotels in Sarasota that I liked for their significant architecture, and this was one of them. It was called the Landmark Hotel, and it was located on South Lido Key. This particular shot was taken on February 19, 1961 during its heyday. Too bad it is gone now and has been replaced by a cookie-cutter condo. Since that was its ultimate fate, it surely could have been upgraded and converted to that use, and not ended up buried in a landfill.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)



This is the top portion of the John Ringling Hotel letterhead and indeed, there was not too much room left to actually write your letter below it. That doesn’t matter, because this collage says it all – a beautiful hotel, in a beautiful community – what more could you ask for in the late 1930s?

(image credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Old Caples Hall at New College of Florida

Historic Old Caples Hall, a hidden treasure located at 5315 Bayshore Road on the New College of Florida campus, has been a place of study, sport, and festive occasions for over fifty years.

The Italian Fifteenth Century inspired architectural style of the building has long complemented the learning that occurs inside the building. Many art history and humanities New College faculty have their offices and classrooms located in the hall. Consequently, students at New College have had numerous opportunities inside this historical gem to study and compare architectural methods, an experience that goes hand-in-hand with the unique educational philosophy of the school.

The Ralph and Ellen Caples estate was built in 1921, and has undergone minor alterations since the 1920s. Alfred Clas, who designed the Charles Ringling mansion, is reported to have also designed the Caples residence.

The stuccoed exterior of the building manifests many arched and square-headed stained glass windows and a red tile hipped roof. The stunning interior of the house includes two living rooms, a dining room, a tiled porch (pictured above), four bedrooms and four baths, which today are mostly offices and classrooms. Read more... 

(photo credit: New College website)


Yesterday's Sarasota Calendar

Today in 1925, Sarasota finally gets its first respectable hospital through a county bond issue of $99,000. The official opening was today.

(photo credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources)


Who am I?

The winner of our last contest was Vicki Gentilman . Please email me your mailing address so I may send you your prize. 

I was a very popular watering-hole back in my day from 1940 until 1969 when I was so rudely torn down. My loyal patrons had to go elsewhere for their cocktails and other libations. Your task today is to think about where I was located, and to provide my name. Who 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

Speaking of the John Ringling Hotel, here is a piece of everyday china from that remarkable place. For fancier occasions, the china was gold-rimmed and quite fancy to say the least. During the late 1960s, I was fortunate enough to eat there several times when attending a Cotillion Dances. I do not recall this dinner plate pattern, but nevertheless eating and dancing there was truly memorable. If you have any fond memories of this fabulous place, please share them here.

(credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources, object collection)