October is Here – Conversations at The Crocker are Back!!

Sarasota’s Waters – Changes in Our Lifetimes

Join the conversation when three experts on water and how Floridians have used waterways in the past have a lively Conversation at The Crocker.

Presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota County, the first of this season’s Conversations at the Crocker takes place on Tuesday, October 10 starting at 7 p.m. at the historic Crocker Memorial Church at 1260 12th Street (Pioneer Park). The topic is Sarasota Waters – Changes in our Lifetimes and leading the Conversation is John Ryan, a water expert and founding member of Sarasota Bay Watch. 

This lively interactive community conversation (with PowerPoint presentation) is free to Historical Society members and $10 for guests at the door. Joining Ryan on the stage of the Crocker for in this timely conversation about Sarasota’s waterways and how they’ve changed are Rodney Potter and Rob Wright. 

Organized six years ago, the Conversations at The Crocker series highlights specific aspects of Sarasota’s past and examines pivotal events and people who have influenced today’s Sarasota.  

John Ryan is an Environmental Manager with Sarasota County Stormwater where he handles water quality monitoring and pollution regulatory matters. He is a 30-year resident of Sarasota who has had a long career with the County after a short stint with Mote Marine Lab. Ryan helped start the oral history project with New College of Florida that can be seen on the Sarasota Water Atlas website. He was a founding member of Sarasota Bay Watch. 

Rob Wright, who grew up in Nokomis, is currently the Conservation Chair for Sarasota Audubon Society (SAS) and a leading voice on environmental issues. Previously he was the Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team (NEST) Coordinator for Sarasota County from 2003 – 2016. Wright has been involved in the administration and implementation of environmental management programs in the public and private sector for more than 34 years. 

A lifelong resident of Manatee County, Rodney Potter has worked in the timber industry and in agriculture. He has constructed greenhouses for nurseries and he owned and operated a lettuce farm in the 1950s. He has been a member of the Manatee County Historical Commission for more than 20 years and is an active in hunter and fisherman. As an outdoorsman, his connection with the area’s waterways, is thus both personal and professional and his insights and memories promise to be impressive.

All Conversations take place at The Crocker Memorial Church and proceeds help to maintain the Historical Society’s two heritage properties at Pioneer Park – the Bidwell-Wood House (1882) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). Docent-led tours of both buildings are available an hour before each of the Conversations at The Crocker events. The Historical Society is a membership organization ($35 annually) led by a volunteer board of directors. Co-chairs of Conversations at The Crocker are Lynn Harding and Marsha Fottler. For more information contact Linda Garcia, Site Manager, 941-364-9076.



Trolley Dates are Confirmed!

The 2017-2018 Trolley Tours have been scheduled and confirmed. We are ready to start taking reservations for our  popular Saturday Morning two hour narrated tour from 10am – Noon. Sue Blue is our wonderful local historian who will teach you many interesting historical facts on your ride through the downtown historic sites.  Mark your calendar and call the office to make your reservations at 941-364-9076.  We have 15 dates to choose from starting in September through April:  September 30 / October 14 / October 28 / November 4 / November 18 / December 2 / December 16 / January 13 / January 27 / February 10 / February 24 / March 10 / March 24 / April 14 / April 28.  The price is $30 per person and these fill up fast.

Sue Blue, narator, Historic Downtown Sarasota Trollet Tours from the Historical Society

Roof Project gets Green Light!

Grant to Historical Society from William G. and Marie Selby Foundation means a replacement roof for the historic Bidwell-Wood House (1882) 

The historic Bidwell-Wood House built in 1882 by Alfred and Mary Bidwell and now located at Pioneer Park in Sarasota is getting a replacement shingle roof thanks to a $15,000 grant from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation to the Historical Society of Sarasota County (HSOSC).  Work begins this summer.

The two-story wood frame vernacular house with its detached kitchen, deep front and back porches and heart pine floors is the oldest private residence in the city of Sarasota. The house has been under the care of the Historical Society of Sarasota County (HSOSC) since the structure was moved for the third and last time in 2006 to Pioneer Park at 1260 12th street. The home originally stood at what is now the corner of US 41 and Wood Street. 

“This has definitely been the year of the roof,” said HSOSC treasurer Deborah Bowers, who was at the Bidwell-Wood House along with board member Jeff LaHurd to receive the Selby Foundation check from its president, Sarah Pappas. “Through the Historical Society’s annual appeal which was a dedicated roof campaign and from other donations, we were able to raise $11,500. Now with the Selby Foundation grant, we have the funding for the replacement roof project. Our thanks to HSOSC members and community friends of history who generously donated to the roof campaign and, of course, to the William G and Marie Selby Foundation which makes the roof replacement a reality.” 

On the porch steps of the Bidwell-Wood House, Sarah Pappas (center) President of the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation presents a check for $15,00 that is a grant to the Historical Society of Sarasota County for the organization’s project to replace the shingle roof of the 1882 Bidwell-Wood House at Pioneer Park. Accepting the grant funding is Deborah Bowers, treasurer of the Historical Society and author/historian Jeff LaHurd who is a board member of the Historical Society of Sarasota County

Reid Gerletti is elected to the Board of Directors

Reid Gerletti, a sales associate with Sotheby’s International Realty, has been elected to the 12-member board of directors at the Historical Society of Sarasota County. At the May annual meeting held in the 1901 Crocker Memorial Church at Pioneer Park, he was elected along with Marsha Fottler, president, succeeding Howard Rosenthal who led the organization for six years.
As a fourth generation native, Gerletti has spent his life enjoying all the benefits that city life in Sarasota has to offer. He lives in and is restoring a home that was this grandfather’s.  Gerletti is a graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design and has long had an interest in the Sarasota’s buildings, traditions and the cultural life of the city. As a board member of the Historical Society, he takes on the job of advancing the mission of the membership organization to teach and celebrate the rich history of Sarasota County and the State of Florida through teaching, research, community programming and special events.
The Historical Society also curates and maintains two historic buildings, the Bidwell-Wood House (1882) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). Docent led-tours are available. Additionally, the Historical Society curates, maintains and preserves the city-owned Rosemary Cemetery, Sarasota’s first burial ground platted in 1886.
Serving on the Historical Board with Gerletti in addition to Fottler are: Deborah Bowers, Kathryn Chesley, Greg Dickinson, Meade Ferguson, Lynn Harding, Bill Kleber, Jeff LaHurd, JoRita Stevens and William Watrous. .

Annual Meeting & Elections

Previous Distinguished Awards Recipients Harriet Stieff and Viola Goldberg were happy to attend the 2017 Annual Meeting and congratulate the 2017 Hero of History – John McCarthy and the 2017 Distinguished Service Awardees Kate Holmes and Brenda Lee Hickman.  The new incoming President Marsha Fottler says thanks to outgoing president Howard Rosenthal and welcomes the new board member Reid Gerletti.

Arbor Day 2017

A Good Day For Trees
As Americans planted trees from one end of this country to the other in observance of National Arbor Day (April 28), Sarasota did its part by giving trees to various organizations at official tree-planting events. Arbor Day began in Nebraska in 1872 and quickly took root across the United States. Sarasota enthusiastically participates.
The Historical Society of Sarasota County was one of the groups honored. From the welcoming front porch of the historic Bidwell-Wood House (1882) located in Pioneer Park at 1260 12th Street, Mayor Willie Shaw read the official city proclamation noting how valuable trees are to the environment. Vice President of the Historical Society, Marsha Fottler, accepted a lovely white-flowering Geiger tree that is now in the members garden of the Historical Society.
Volunteers at the Society started the garden five years ago with grant from the Founders Garden Club and it is maintained by members who volunteer on the Landscape Committee. The Historical Society garden surrounds both the Bidwell-Wood House and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). The extensive garden is Florida friendly and includes a wide brick path and window-box gardens, as well as benches for relaxing.
Marsha Fottler, HSOSC Vice President with representatives of the Parks & Rec and Forestry Divisions

April Converstations at The Crocker

Manatee Village Courthouse

This community event, organized by the Historical Society of Sarasota County, takes place on Tuesday, April 11 starting at 7 p.m. at the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street (Pioneer Park), Sarasota. The event is free to students and to members of the Historical Society; $10 for guests. Proceeds help to maintain the Bidwell-Wood House (1882) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). Tours of both vintage structures are available an hour before the start of the program.
Participants in the small museums program are: Cathy Slusser, Director of Historical Resources, Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court; Diane Ingram, Museum Supervisor, Manatee County Agricultural Museum; Mandy Polson, Museum Supervisor, Palmetto Historical Park; Phaedra Carter, Museum Supervisor, Manatee Village Historical Park and Kristin Sweeting, Museum Supervisor, Florida Maritime Museum, which is in Cortez. Sarasota was originally part of Manatee County, which extended from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Okeechobee, was 60 miles wide north and south, and contained 5,000 square miles. Sarasota County was created in 1921.
The conversation among these museum professionals about their museums and the impact they have on community residents and Florida tourism will be augmented by a PowerPoint program that will transport the audience to each of these heritage sites. Question and answer period too.
For more information about this Historical Society outreach program, contact Linda Garcia, Site Manager at 941-364-9076.