Articles from the Historical Society

Love Sarasota County history? Here’s a collection of articles from various sources that we think you’ll enjoy.

Sarasota Over My Shoulder: In 1996, to celebrate Sarasota County’s 75th anniversary, the Sarasota County Commission published this booklet. We’re thrilled to present it in its entirety, in the 2006 reprint version, on our website as a PDF, courtesy of our board member Deb Walk. It’s the perfect introduction to our area by an eminent scholar, Janet Snyder Matthews.

In 1988, the Historical Society of Sarasota County published Sarasota Origins, a book of articles on county history by local historians. It’s a fascinating look at the various facets of our history, including information from Marion Almy, Lillian Burns, Marian Gruters, Myrtle Lane, and Jere Parker, with additional material from Betty Jane Oelerich and D.A.Gordon (Deborah) Dart. A special treat for historians are the “Thoufghts from Early Settlers”, first-hand recallings in their own words.
Alas, there were no subsequent publications. Perhaps its time for another volume?

uzi baram 2018
Dr. Uzi Baram, Professor of Anthropology

There’s a fascinating place to learn about prehistory’s story and it’s right on Tamiami Trail! Dr. Uzi Baram, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the New College Public Archaeology Lab has graciously allowed us to present The Many Histories of Phillippi Creek to you. Citation: Remarks by Uzi Baram on November 12, 2016 at Phillippi Estate Park; 2017 Final Report on Community Heritage Awareness and Management Program (CHAMP) at Phillippi Estate Park, 2014-16. Submitted to Sarasota County Historical Resources.

Jeff LaHurd, historian and author
Jeff LaHurd, historian and author

Sarasota County is On Its Way! by Jeff LaHurd Sarasota split off from Manatee, after residents in South County grew disgruntled by terrible road conditions and the way tax dollars were being spent. Read Jeff’s article.

Read about the two historic buildings, the Bidwell-Wood House and the Crocker Memorial Church, that our Society is dedicated to protect, preserve, and present to the community.

Tamiami Trail‘s history by Doris Davis: “Florida could attract tourists for a winter vacation if two main highways were built, one down the West Coast and one down the East Coast. The general call “See America First” was fast turning into “See Florida First.”  Muck, Mosquitoes and Motorists: A Photo Essay

The Belle Haven Apartments article courtesy of SAHP. An historic gem on Tamiami Trail amid a sea of modernity, this building still stands (at least, as of October 2020.) Read about the changes.

Mr. Sarasota by Jeff LaHurd: A.B. Edwards was so instrumental in this area’s growth and success that by the time he died in 1969 he had earned the nickname “Mr. Sarasota.” He forged a reputation for his honest and above-board dealings, saying his father left him with this advice shortly before he died: “Always be in good company; be honest and truthful; work hard and save your money; also retain your self-respect and others will respect you.” Read Jeff’s Article

The tourists came in droves. And of course, they wanted to see the sea. The Bay Island Hotel was built just for them. The Sarasota Times wrote it up. Thanks to Rex Carr, Bill Hartman, and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for additional material. Read the 1911 newspaper article.

The Rocking Chair at White Tower A downtown favorite, the chair “has been written up in Reader’s Digest, it will soon be the subject for an article in House and Garden, and there’s a possibility it will make Life” Read the 1959 newspaper article

Sunshine Springs and Gardens To Open Winter of 1955-56. It didn’t last long, but it was spectacular! Thanks to Rex Carr whose high-resolution graphics provided the framework for this article. (See more pictures on our blog.)

More from our historically-minded peers:

Have you explored our “Watch Now” page full of online videos about Sarasota and Floria history?

Read the history of Phillippi Creek.

The City of Sarasota has over 50 public works of art. Explore them in this 72-page booklet available as a PDF published in 2022.

And there’s much more on the website of our friend and supporter Larry Kelleher at Sarasota History Alive!