One of the threads that ties old Sarasota County to the new is the continuing struggle concerning which historical buildings and properties should be preserved and which ones demolished as a necessary sacrifice to progress, modernization and growth. Award-winning author and historian Jeff LaHurd considers both sides of the issue when he presents a lavishly illustrated talk on “Sarasota Treasures Lost & Saved,” on Tuesday, November 10, starting at 7 p.m. at the Crocker Memorial Church at 1260 12th Street in Sarasota. (Map.) Members of the Historical Society and students admitted free. Guests, $10 at the door.
Whether you are a permanent resident of Sarasota, a seasonal one or vacationing in Sarasota for a short time, LaHurd’s presentation will leave you better informed and definitely more comfortable when certain names and destinations come up in conversation.
LaHurd’s presentation is part of an ongoing series – a conversation with the community – now in its fourth year, called Conversations at The Crocker and organized by the Historical Society. Proceeds from this series go directly to maintain the two historic properties under the care of the Historical Society, the Bidwell-Wood House (1882) and the Crocker Memorial Church building (1901).
Complimentary tours of the properties are available prior to all Conversations at The Crocker.
Jeff LaHurd has written more than a dozen books on Sarasota, starting in 1999 with “Quintessential Sarasota.” He worked at the History Center for 11 years and he is a regular contributor to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune newspaper where he writes hugely popular articles on Sarasota in past times. A lecturer, LaHurd is noted for his wry sense of humor when revealing details about the lives and accomplishments of Sarasota’s leaders, developers, politicians and old-time movers and shakers who helped shape the West Coast of Florida. LaHurd grew up in Sarasota attending elementary and high school here. He was an altar boy at St. Martha’s Church, married and raised a family in this town.
“I’m going to discuss the elements of Sarasota, which form that wonderful place we think of as yesterday’s Sarasota,” said LaHurd. “I’ll probably start with the removal of the American War Memorial in the center of Five Points in 1954, the removal of the Memorial Oaks along east Main Street, through the demolition of the Hover Arcade, the Lido Casino, the re-routing of US 41 along the bay front, the Mira Mar Hotel, the Ringling Towers and places like SMACKS. I also want to go into what our beaches looked like before they were developed and our first bridges to the keys. And we’ll also get into what places and structures have managed to be preserved, although historic preservation hasn’t been high on Sarasota’s civic agenda as the city and country have grown. It’s something we need to work on.”
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