So thrilled!

Accessibility at the Historical Society of Sarasota CountyCelebrate! Thanks to you, our supporters, and almost-Eagle Scout Daron, we will be DOUBLING our handicap-accessible parking at the Historical Society this summer!

That means that when we are finally confident in our new season, starting in October 2021, it’ll be easier for our guests to attend our gatherings. Stay tuned for reportage on what the Events Committee has planned for the new season. And yes, we heard Continue reading

Happy July 4 1921, Sarasota!

4 flagWhile Sarasota was still excited about becoming its own county on July 1st 1921, and celebrating the 4th in grand style, here’s the world they lived in. Some of these 1921 events might surprise you and others amuse. Isn’t history fascinating?

On July 2, 1921, President Warren Harding signed a joint congressional resolution declaring an end to America’s state of war with Germany, Austria and Hungary. (Calvin Coolidge was Vice-President in case you were wondering.)

330px-Bessie_Coleman_in_1923Brave Bessie: Bessie Coleman was an early American civil aviator. She was the first African-American woman and first Native American to hold Continue reading

What is, and what isn’t, a “white elephant”?

The origin of catch phrases can be bite-size history lessons. I ran across “white elephant” in my reading and wondered how that came to mean something you’d rather not own. Here’s what I learned.


Although a white elephant used to be considered a sacred and tremendously valuable animal in Siam (modern-day Thailand), being given one Continue reading

Taking a ride on Mr. Ferris’ creation

This day in history June 21 1893, features the debut of a monumental contraption that our very own Bertha Palmer , before she became the Legendary Lady of Sarasota, got the first ride on:

The Ferris Wheel!

Built to one-up the Eiffel Tower of the previous World’s Fair: it’s big AND it moves!

It was big. Very big. Each car held 60 riders. It cost 50 cents to ride it. I’m guessing Bertha, as President of the Board of Lady Managers for the Columbian Exposition, Chicago’s World’s Fair, was comped.

Alas, it was dynamited and sold for scrap less than 15 years later. The mummies, next door, lasted a lot longer.

Learn more about Bertha Palmer, her life in Chicago and in Sarasota, by booking our very own Bertha Palmer to present this fascinating woman’s life story as a costumed first-person interpretation to your group or club by contacting our Site Manager Linda Garcia at or 941-364-9076.

Read the June 22 1893 newspaper article.

Let it be remembered

Don’t you love that phrase? I came across it in the written minutes of old-time meetings and it’s so evocative, it made me look up some info on how YOU can let it be remembered by guiding someone to create an oral history to be remembered.

But I’ll be you have lots of questions on how to get started.

First up, how do I get someone to talk about their participation in past times? What on earth do I ask?

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We have a wall!

The west wall of the church, with its custom-milled siding, is up! See that one white board?

It’s the only one that didn’t need replacing!

Since the above photo was taken, the wall’s been painted. Here’s an inside view. The window re-installation is next.

And here’s a poignant photo: our Conversations at the Crocker chairs, just waiting for our reopening. We’ll let you know soon as we can, so stay tuned.

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Someday soon, we’ll be able to enjoy Conversations at the Crocker again.

A 1926 View of Florida

“A rapidly increasing number whom habit has taken year after year to the Mediterranean resorts are coming to know that here in Florida is to be found a natural loveliness that is incomparable, coupled with a magnificence of architectural development, a diversity of entertainment, and a catering to creature comforts unobtainable elsewhere

Published in the English magazine, Country Life, in 1926, this Ernest Clegg map is lovely. The typography! The sailing ships and denizens of the deep!

Look at the gorgeous, expansive Everglades… but notice: no Sarasota. Arcadia, yes, Punta Gorda, even Venice (“On June 10, 1926, the first street in Venice opened” as this Venice history says). My only possible explanation for this oversight is that Ernest held Sarasota so dear, he didn’t want anyone else to know about it…

Enjoy a close-up with a responsive view of this map.


Traditionally, summer in the US runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Here are some things you can do in an American summer. Well, no, let’s get specific: in a Sarasota County summer:

Wear white shoes. Up North they get excited about this.
Take a drive after dinner to get an ice-cream cone. Everyone gets excited about this.

But this summer, 2021, we at HSoSC have something even more exciting going on! The Summer Challenge!

It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? At HSoSC we have been fortunate that our unexpected financial challenges have been answered in part with several successful fundraising challenges. We are truly grateful for the support that you as a history lover have shown us. Your donations have helped us with everything from the preservation of our buildings, to paying the electric bill and planning new presentations for the upcoming 2021-2022 season.

And now, such exciting news! An anonymous supporter has stepped forward with a $10,000 challenge. This person believes in us and is casting their vote of confidence in the Historical Society’s ongoing participation in our county. Yes, our donor will match every donation of $1,000 or more with another $1,000 of their own, up to $10,000!

Donations of any size help HSoSC, of course, but this donor wants to encourage those who can, to step up with a substantial gift. They have issued their challenge for the summer season, “the giving season”. To receive these matching funds, we must receive the full $10,000 in amounts of $1,000 or more. That’s just ten people out of the thousands who support us… or fewer, if some wish to give more!

While a gift in any amount is always welcome, if you can participate in the Summer Challenge to double your impact, your donation must be $1,000 or more to qualify. We realize that not everyone is able to make a major donation today. We certainly appreciate that all supporters are excited to participate by giving any amount they are comfortable with, to assist us with keeping the Historical Society of Sarasota County open and operating.

Donations are gratefully accepted in whatever manner is best for you: using a credit card online at ; by calling our office Tuesdays or Fridays from 10 to 2 to have Linda Garcia, Site Manager, personally assist you; or at any time, leave a phone message or email And of course, we welcome personal checks, made out to the Historical Society of Sarasota County and mailed to HSoSC, PO Box 1632, Sarasota FL 34230

Help make the summer season, a giving season, as our generous Challenger says!

Not your usual HSoSC Annual Meeting.

Our Annual Meeting on Saturday, while not the traditional potluck/ slide show/ awards ceremony, was fresh-air wonderful.

So excited to finally be able to smile at each other!
Some of our newest members, and they’re newlyweds as well! Dorothy and Carroll!

And Pioneer Park was filled with folks playing, picnicking, even another meeting going on, next door at the DAR, under the trees!

Brenda Lee and Sandy decorated our Back Porch with their lively florals!
Directors welcomed members

To learn how 2020-2021 went down at HSoSC (and a little taste of an exciting event coming up this summer!), visit

Next time we gather, we’ll see multiples of these members, hopefully in the renewed Crocker Memorial Church!

And hopefully as well, there will be a world-wide shortage of exclamation points so our blogmistress calms down a bit (this un-masked existence has her quite giddy.)

Help an Eagle Scout help history.

Did you know that out of all the Boy Scouts in the USA, only 6% of them accomplish the highest level of Eagle Scout? Some people who did: Jim Lovell, commander of Apollo 13; Bill Gates; Sam Walton; and Mike Rowe of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs.

Daron Nouri of Sarasota is looking forward to being the next Eagle Scout, and he loves history. Maybe we can help him on his life’s journey a bit. The Historical Society directors are honored that out of all the places in Sarasota, Daron has chosen us to be the potential recipient of his project. Here, let Daron tell you his story:

My name is Daron Nouri and I am a boy scout with Troop 895 in Sarasota, Florida. I have recently partnered with the Historical Society of Sarasota to complete a community service project required for my final Boy Scout rank. As a scout, I have spent many years pursuing advancements in outdoor skills and leadership experiences through merit badges and rank advancements. Only a small percentage of boy scouts ever achieve the rank of Eagle. I plan on being in that percentage.

The Historical Society of Sarasota has given me the opportunity to complete my service project. This project will be the final step to become an Eagle scout, and requires me to supervise and oversee an important service to my community. Personally, I have always loved history and so it made sense for me to approach HSoSC back in November in hopes they would have a need that I could help accomplish to meet this requirement.

The Historical Society only has one handicap parking space available for their patrons to use. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 14.3% of all adults in Florida have a physical handicap. With your donation I can give people with physical handicaps an opportunity to visit and learn more about the history of Sarasota, which I feel very passionate about. The money you contribute will be used to pay for the concrete pouring, permitting, plants, paint materials, and other tools needed to carry out the final project. I am expected to supervise a team of scout volunteers to stripe, paint, and add decorative shrubbery around the parking spot. 

I would like to personally thank the Historical Society for allowing me this great opportunity to work with them on this important project and look forward to seeing it finished. If you would like to contribute, I have created a GoFundMe account here. Thank you to everyone who has already contributed to helping me complete this project. 

I hope you will consider contributing today to make this important project a reality. Thank you.


Daron Nouri

“We are not the makers of history. We are made by history.” – Martin Luther King Jr. 

P.S. from your Blog Editor: Attaining the rank of Eagle Scout is a VERY big deal. I hear that college admissions and scholarship committees look for that on a student’s application, that the armed forces admit Eagle Scouts at a higher rank, and that employers rank having been an Eagle Scout as a prime attribute when hiring executive-level staff. We’re so thrilled to help Daron raise funds so that his project can be completed by its July deadline. If you can, please help.

PPS: Yes, girls can be Eagle Scouts. What used to be called Boy Scouts is, as of 2019, now called Scouts BSA and girls can earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Younger girls were able to join Cub Scouts starting around 2018, and more than 77,000 joined just the first year. Now, older girls 11-17 have a path to earn the organization’s highest rank.

With a lot of help from our friends…

For a large, seemingly stolid and stationary building such as our beloved Crocker Memorial Church, there sure seems to be a lot of moving parts, that is, people, contributing to this restoration of the west wall project! These folks are just the visible parts of many, many people working together.

Betsy Lingenheld is our Director providing project oversight. Betsy’s background in contracting, historic preservation, and managing projects has been truly treasured by all at the Historical Society.

(> Left to right Betsy Lingenheld, Portapotty, HSoSC President Marsha Fottler)

Structural engineer Tony Wilson of Wilson Structural Engineering, not only went to Sarasota High School, but contributed greatly to turning that historic building into today’s Sarasota Art Museum.

Nick Olson of Specialized Property Services is our Project Manager.

Linda Stevenson of Stevenson Architects, Inc. drew up and donated her professional services for the design and specifications for this aspect of the Crocker Memorial Church restoration.

And a salute to all the gentlemen in fluorescent shirts who have been digging, cutting, measuring and replacing the underpinnings of the Crocker!

Betsy is pleased with our progress, but wants us all to be fully aware that this is just one of many steps we must take to keep this piece of Sarasota’s past in good shape for the next 100 years.

She notes, “This will be a multi year project to get the other three sides of the building restored” and points out that we must all expect ongoing costs and be ready to fund-raise and donate as we can.

Next up, the steeple. Protecting and preserving a century-old wooden building in our climate is an ongoing challenge.

Adaptive reuse is just one of the “re’s” we are vigilant about: reuse, rehabilitation, revitalizing our past, present, and future. We invite you to watch this project and help the Society stay on top of the welfare of both our historic buildings.

Sunshine Springs and Gardens

Well, I was just going to share with you, the scans Rex Carr posted of the program for the opening of a Sarasota attraction you might never have heard of.

But the whole thing got a bit out of hand so I had to make it into a full-length article. It’s on our Articles Page now, and well-worth your time (and mine!) Go read. Enjoy.

It’s a Centennial CROWD!

Sarasota County is celebrating its Centennial in 2021. But we’re not the only ones.

The spring of 1921 was a busy one up in Tallahassee. The General Assembly approved the creation of 6 new counties out of what had been 2…

Manatee County got carved into two, thereby creating Sarasota County.

But poor Desoto County? It became 6 separate counties in 1921

  • Charlotte
  • Desoto
  • Hardee
  • Highlands
  • Glades

Let’s just be thankful they

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When will we see you again?

Traditionally, we have held our Conversations at the Crocker once a month, at 7pm, in November and January through April. (Members’ Only Meetings in October, December, and May.) A few years ago, we added Sunday Afternoon Socials, a more informal gathering with refreshments, on (you guessed it) Sunday afternoons once a month.
But if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s to call a halt to the “regular” and take the opportunity to change up some things. Help us, in the poll below, to tailor our offerings to your liking when we are back in operation.

We’ll be asking some more questions in future posts so stay tuned!