January Local History Events

I’m feeling bad about leaving you in the lurch here at the Historical Society of Sarasota County, what with our two upcoming events (Conversation on Jan 11 and Sunday Afternoon Social on Jan 16) being cancelled, so here’s some substitutes to keep you and your brain occupied until we meet again.

Exercise your

Continue reading

Fabulous Fables & Fascinating Facts

Our second presentation of History is Fun was a hit! After a slideshow discussing the facts behind some of the more persistent fables about Sarasota history, our Hero of History, Sue Blue, as historian and raconteur, took the stage to relate to us the most wonderful fable of all… that of the doomed Sara deSoto.

Sue Blue, getting ready to delight us with her story-telling.

Our audience was well-spaced and the doors to the Crocker Memorial Church were left open to aid in air movement. And most fun of all, member Wil Pearson (pictured here in his persona of John Ringling during our “Ask Me Anything” event at Barnes & Noble in January 2020) won the door prize: A hand-crafted elegant bar of Mermaid soap! After all, mermaids are a fable, right?

Wil Pearson as John Ringling

Our Board has decided, being cautious, to cancel/delay our other January events. We hope to present these to you at a later time. To stay up-to-date, check our Events Page for the latest Calendar of Events.

If you missed this event or the December premiere of History is Fun, which highlighted Sarasota as seen through the eyes of an artist, be sure to circle Wednesday March 2 2022 at 2pm, when we’ll host the crew from our county’s Historical Resources Department telling us how they help preserve our local stories. Hope they’ll bring some artifacts! (They have mastodon teeth and teacups and all sorts of cool things there.)

To keep up to the moment in the ever-fluid issue of covid cancellations, bookmark our Events Page, where you’ll find the latest schedule of events at HSoSC.

Sunday Afternoon Social: Sarasota’s last Lustron Home

EDIT Jan 7 2022: Alas and alack… the January Convo and the January Sunday Afternoon Social have been cancelled due to folks’ wariness with the covid variation.The Board hopes to find another time to present these 2 great topics, but for now, bookmark our Events Page where you will find the most up-to-date info on gatherings at HSoSC.

Sarasota is renowned for its mid century modern structures designed by nationally known local architects and collectively known as the Sarasota School of Architecture. The designs employed innovative use of materials, engineering and spatial configurations. Many of the city and county’s SSA treasures are, or have been, the focus among preservationists who seek to preserve these architectural links to our past. 

Lesser known but equally innovative, was the Lustron House. It was conceived to help meet the demands for housing among returning WWII veterans and their families. Like the earlier Sears Kit Houses, the concept brought mass production to homebuilding to save time and costs in construction, and sought to re-purpose the industrial capacity built in the United States for WWII.  

But unlike its predecessors, the Lustron Corporation employed the use of steel and porcelain enamel to achieve the same results, and added the concept of low maintenance and durability.


Our Sunday Afternoon Social on January 16 at 2pm in the Crocker Memorial Church will focus on Sarasota’s last remaining Lustron Home #01687 located at 1956 Rose Street. We’ll discuss the history of the Lustron Corporation, this house and the challenges to its preservation and our efforts to secure its future.

— submittted by Tom McArdle

Our Sunday Afternoon Socials at the Crocker start at 2pm. These are light, cafe-style gatherings with light refreshment and interesting content. Members, $5 and yet-to-become-members, $10. There will be 3 more Socials, on February 13, March 20, and April 24, with topics yet to be announced.

January 11 Conversation at the Crocker

EDIT Jan 7 2022: Alas and alack… the January Convo and the January Sunday Afternoon Social have been cancelled due to folks’ wariness with the covid variation.The Board hopes to find another time to present these 2 great topics, but for now, bookmark our Events Page where you will find the most up-to-date info on gatherings at HSoSC.

The January 11 Conversation at The Crocker is an information-rich celebration of the recent project undertaken by HSOSC and the community to rescue the historic Crocker Memorial Church. Three HSOSC board members will present an illustrated three-part program.

Deborah Walk, a professional archivist, writer and former curator of the Ringling Museum of the Circus, will trace the far-back history of a humble wooden worship center that started out with property deeded to Peter Crocker in 1901. She will also talk about the Crocker family, which attempted to establish a named settlement in Sarasota that could have grown into a town except for the death of its namesake.

Jon Stone, a retired architect and avid researcher, will discuss how adaptive re-use has saved this building and made it into a welcoming place for the community to come for public programming organized by the HSOSC, meetings, weddings, memorial services, art classes, musical recitals, play rehearsals and much more. Adaptive re-use for the Crocker started in the 1980s when preservationist Veronica Morgan owned the Crocker. It was located in the Rosemary district at the time. Jon will also discuss how the Crocker and the Bidwell-Wood House came to be curated by our Historical Society.

Betsy Lingenheld will talk about the engineering-construction rescue mission that saved the entire west side of the building. A contractor who has specialized in preservation work, Betsy came to the Historical Society as a member a few years ago and subsequently agreed to join the advisory board and then the board of directors to be the project manager of the huge rescue project, which got started around the time that COVID did. She will talk about the special challenges in working on a historically designated building.  

After the three speak, there will be time for audience input with a question and answer segment. 

  • Conversation at The Crocker
  • Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 7 p.m.
  • Crocker Memorial Church, Pioneer Park
  • Free to Members
  • Guests: $10 at the door

Submitted by Marsha Fottler

Please Note: Deb Walk has graciously agreed to review the topic of this Conversation at the Crocker at our February Sunday Afternoon Social on Sunday February 13 at 2pm, for those who prefer a daytime event. Please note that there is a charge for the Social: $5 for members and $10 for not-yet-members, to cover the light refreshments we offer at the event. For our complete Calendar of Events, please visit our Events Page.

The Holiday Party!

If you weren’t able to join us in the Crocker Memorial Church on Tuesday evening December 14 for our annual Holiday party, here’s some photos to enjoy, sent with our best wishes for a joyful season and a happy new year. Stay tuned: we have THREE events coming up in January, and even more in February!

First, the Church was decked out by volunteers, ready for its guests:

And then there was the fabulous

Continue reading

Holiday Happiness

Holiday cheer from the Historical Society

Don’t forget our Members-Only Holiday Bash on Tuesday December 14 from 6-8pm in the Crocker Memorial Church. We’re all decked out for the celebration, and it will be Supper-by-the-Bite with incredible homemade desserts to finish off with!
It’s Members-Only, but you CAN join at the door… and that’ll save you money on all our other events, such as the upcoming History is Fun Weekday Afternoon on January 6, which promises to be great fun.

Happy Holidays from the Historical Society of Sarasota County

The Perfect Holiday Gift

Do you have someone on your holiday gift list who’s hard to buy for? Give them something they don’t have:

A Brick!

Yes, thanks to HSoSC, you can have your message etched on a genuine old Sarasota brick for all to see and admire, while helping us preserve an actual part of our past!

These bricks were originally laid in the dawn

Continue reading

New, an afternoon event at the Historical Society!

Not everyone can attend our traditional 7pm Conversations at the Crocker, but we don’t want to make it hard to have fun and learn a little with us. So we’ve added “History is Fun!” afternoon events to our educational line-up.

Our premiere event, our “Grand Opening” as it were, of these afternoon events will be Wednesday December 1 2021 at 2pm in the Crocker Memorial Church. It’s entitled “Sarasota: Art Inspired By The Past” and

Continue reading

Come see our play!

On Tuesday November 9 at 7 pm in the Crocker Memorial Church, the Historical Society will be gathering at its first Conversation at the Crocker since the pandemic.

To mark the county centennial, the filmed reading of “The Roads We Traveled to Sarasota County“, written and produced by our own Kathryn Chesley will be presented. This November 2021 Conversation at the Crocker is eagerly awaited by members (free) and not-yet- members ($10) alike.

A Welcome Back Party on the Back Porch begins at 6 pm, the program starts at 7 pm, and we hope to see you there!

News of our new afternoon event on Weds. Dec. 1, “History is FUN!”, will be available as well. “The Past Inspires the Arts” with spotlight guest artist Marlane Wurzbach will our first presentation.

Our Forever Heroine

Coming up in 2022, there will be this wonderful “Forever stamp” to stock up on. If it weren’t for Dr. Eugenie Clark, what would our oceans and the Gulf of Mexico be like? Known as “The Shark Lady”… she transformed a dream into a multi-faceted research center, Mote Marine. Clark was a pioneer in the field of scuba diving for research purposes.

Continue reading

Walking tour of Granada Neighborhood

Time for #whattodothisweekend, brought to you by the Historical Society of Sarasota County. See more, each week, on our Facebook page.

Saturday morning, join our historic peers, the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation, on their hour-long walking tour of the Granada neighborhood. Admission is $25.

And don’t forget, next Tuesday, November 9 (finally, our first since 2020!), is our Conversation at the Crocker at 7PM in the historic Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street, Sarasota. Free to members (you can join at the door) and $10 to not-yet members. This month’s topic.