Where sunshine drives away the gloom…

There’s just SO many holiday wishes we here at the Historical Society want to send you, we decided we’d send you one every day this week! Hope that means your festivities will be seven times as merry… even if perhaps, the pandemic has cramped your style. Here’s to looking forward to seeing this corona virus be history soon.

Christmas Virtual Reality, 1889 style…

There’s just SO many holiday wishes we here at the Historical Society want to send you, we decided we’d send you one every day this week! Hope that means your festivities will be seven times as merry… even if perhaps, the pandemic has cramped your style. Here’s to looking forward to seeing this corona virus be history soon.

 

If you were a good little child and Santa had a stereopticon for you in his sack, you could see scenes like this in 3D!

(Stereopticon photo courtesy of the Johnstown Flood Museum.)

 

Joy to the world!

There’s just SO many holiday wishes we here at the Historical Society want to send you, we decided we’d send you one every day this week! Hope that means your festivities will be seven times as merry… even if perhaps, the pandemic has cramped your style. Here’s to looking forward to seeing this corona virus be history soon.

Christmas Card from Sarasota 1936

There’s just SO many holiday wishes we here at the Historical Society want to send you, we decided we’d send you one every day this week! Hope that means your festivities will be seven times as merry… even if perhaps, the pandemic has cramped your style. Here’s to looking forward to seeing this corona virus be history soon.

So here’s our first holiday wish, one sent by an esteemed Sarasota resident:

More about Joe Steinmetz from Sarasota History Alive.

And Joe, back in the 1950’s when folks posed with that which they loved.

There goes the neighborhood.

Boatload of fish

After all, this much fish is way too much for dinner tonight. (Photo from Florida Memory.)

On this day in history, December 12, 1902, the Sarasota Ice, Fish, and Power Company was granted the first permit to construct a commercial plant smack dab in town. (It was located, according to one source, near Lemon Avenue and State Street.) Sarasota had been a town for less than 2 months at that point.

SIFP generated electricity to make ice to keep the catch fresh. It wasn’t for seven more years that Sarasota got street lights (2, count ’em, 2) and from that point on, there was nothing but progress progress progress. (Well, except for the Bust. Another tale to tell.)

We’re happy to announce that this fishy Day in History is dedicated to Elisabeth Waters,

who was gifted with a “Claim Your Day” by Alexandra Jupin in our effort to keep our head above water in this economically-challenging pandemic time. If you’d like us to find an appropriate Day in History for you to claim, you can get the details here.

 

How to Save a Hundred-year-old Wooden Building

There are five crucial steps to saving this building. And five good reasons for doing so.

The Crocker Memorial Church has withstood hurricanes, scorching sun and high winds, termites, and the wear and tear of an old wooden building in constant use. The Crocker has been moved three times to elude demolition and in 2006 this historic building came to rest in Pioneer Park under the curatorship of HSOSC. We are stewards of living history and are honored to protect and maintain this link with Florida’s past.

We have raised half the cost of the needed repairs but nothing can start until we have it all at hand. Even with the pandemic forcing us to make difficult financial decisions, and eliminating the ability to raise funds through rental fees, meeting admissions and in-person donations, we have kept those funds sacrosanct and are asking for the community to help us obtain the full cost of keeping this building from ruin.

Here’s what we are looking at:

The 5 Crucial Steps

1. Replace the foundation retaining wall and perimeter beam supporting the west side of the building. This also includes re-grading from the west wall to the parking lot to ensure proper drainage. This foundation project is the most complex, costly and crucial part of the entire rescue project and must be done before anything else.
2. Repair or replace all damaged floor joists.
3. Repair or replace all wood siding as needed.
4. Paint exterior west side of the Crocker Memorial Church.
5. Repair and re-install the six windows on the west side of the building.

Why would we care to protect, preserve, and present a 100-year-old building in Sarasota County?

The 5 Good Reasons

1. The Crocker Memorial Church is a heritage building. Peter Crocker built his home here. Shortly thereafter, he built a church as a meeting place, hand-constructing the pews we still use for seating.
2. This building is so important that it was moved a number of times as our community grew, to save it from destruction. It now rests comfortably in Pioneer Park, giving a glimpse of another time to our 21st-century residents and visitors.
3. This building tells the tale of the importance of gathering together even when the community numbered less than a thousand people.
4. Our community uses this building for gatherings, meetings, and celebrations year-round.
5. This building helps the Historical Society receive income to keep both it and the Bidwell-Wood House safe for future generations.

Update January 9 2021: We are thrilled to announce that our goal is almost met! If you’ve hesitated because it seems like we’ll never be able to Save the Crocker, take us over the top with your participation. Click here and be PROUD it was your dollars that saved Sarasota history.

Please demonstrate your support for this massive renewal of the Crocker Memorial Church so that it can continue to serve our community for another century and beyond. We’ve highlighted the priority items above, but it’s not the whole story. A detailed list of what this massive rescue project entails is available at HSOSC. Construction and materials costs rise every day that we delay. 

Remember, we have already raised half of the $100,000 needed to preserve our heritage as a community. Your donation will absolutely make a difference in a rescue mission that is within our reach. You can donate via check to us at 1260 12th Street, Sarasota FL 34230, call our Site Manager Linda Garcia during her covid-curtailed office hours of 10-2 Tuesdays and Fridays to use a credit card, or use Paypal right now. You can even pledge a comfortable monthly donation there if you like.

Preserving History: You CAN do it! Other

We’ve covered a lot of material goods in this series, but there’s lots more, of course. So our concluding post is the other stuff you cherish. What have we missed? Tell us in the comments below.

We’ve gathered up some final resources about preserving other stuff. Toys and dolls and paintings and even swords.  Check it out, and see the other categories we’ve covered.

Rosie the History Riveter

Our Rosie thinks history is riveting!

Saving toys.

And dolls.

Paintings.

Those ivory bits and bobs Grandpa collected.

And metal stuff. Like that VMA dress sword Great-Uncle James wore when he was attending the Venice campus. 

If you have sources and links to share, thoughts to add, stories to tell, comment below. We LOVE to get conversations going, so chime in!

Click each topic in this series to view: Photographs/ Papers/ Furniture/ Fabric.

Where to get archival supplies: Gaylord, Talas, and University Products.

And, as always, we can count on the Library of Congress to guide us to deeper knowledge.

(The “real” Rosie the Riveter: Who was she? And the well-preserved model for our meme? She’s real too.)

Preserving History: You CAN do it! Furniture

You can do much to preserve valuables without going to extreme efforts and expenses, just by keeping some basic things in mind. We’ve gathered up some resources for you in our series. If you have other sources and links to share, thoughts to add, stories to tell, comment below. We LOVE to get conversations going, so chime in!

Rosie the History Riveter

Our Rosie thinks history is riveting!

Antiques and inherited furniture

This is the topic that got us started on this series. A Facebook friend posted a photo of a graceful cherry dining table with multiple leaves, asking Continue reading

Preserving History: You CAN do it! Fabrics

Why care about old stuff? Because preserving artifacts from historical events, or even just times, helps us and future generations learn about, remember, and honor the people and ideas that went before. Maybe you just want to be able to show the great-grandkids your grandmother’s wedding veil (the one with wax orange blossoms), or maybe you love the vintage baby blanket you found in an antique shop on some back road somewhere.

We’ve gathered up some resources for you in a small series. If you have sources and links to share, thoughts to add, stories to tell, comment below. We LOVE to get conversations going, so chime in! Today? Fabrics and soft goods.

Rosie the History Riveter

Our Rosie thinks history is riveting!

From handed-down quilts to your first apartment’s barkcloth curtains to Continue reading

Preserving History: You CAN do it! Papers

The second in our series: Today, preserving papers and letters.

You can do much to preserve such valuables without going to extreme efforts and expenses, just by keeping some basic things in mind. We’ve gathered up some resources for you which we’ll be presenting in a small series. If you have other sources and links to share, thoughts to add, stories to tell, comment below. We LOVE to get conversations going, so chime in!

Rosie the History Riveter

Our Rosie thinks history is riveting!

Papers and letters

Well, the first tip, “don’t store them in your basement”, doesn’t really apply to us Floridians (although it’s amazing how many folks give no thought to sticking things in that 130-degree attic including your editor) but the rest of this post from Minnesota is useful.

Oh, those photos from the fair and Uncle John’s promotion at work. You might well ask “How do I save a newspaper clipping?” and here’s what we’d say:

  • If newspaper clippings are being kept for the content as distinct from keeping the original paper as an artifact, photocopy onto acid-free paper, which will last much longer than the original.
  • If the original clipping is being kept as an artifact, store in an acid-free envelope, folder or sleeve.

To keep those family letters folded in their envelopes, that is the next question. Here’s the answer from My Heritage. And who would know better how to safeguard those old discharge papers and report cards than the National Archives here.

Tune into tomorrow for another riveting episode of Preserving History.

Where to get archival supplies: Gaylord, Talas, and University Products.

And, as always, we can count on the Library of Congress to guide us to deeper knowledge.

(The “real” Rosie the Riveter: Who was she? And the well-preserved model for our meme? She’s real too.)

Preserving History: You CAN do it! A HSoSC mini-series

Why care about old stuff? Because preserving artifacts from historical events, or even just times, helps us and future generations learn about, remember, and honor the people and ideas that went before. Maybe you just want to be able to show the great-grandkids what you looked like as a newly-wed, or maybe you like old furniture and want to keep it in working shape.

You can do much to preserve such valuables without going to extreme efforts and expenses, just by keeping some basic things in mind. We’ve gathered up some resources for you which we’ll be presenting in a small series. If you have other sources and links to share, thoughts to add, stories to tell, comment below. We LOVE to get conversations going, so chime in!

Rosie the History Riveter

Our Rosie thinks history is riveting!

First, there’s photographs. Oh so many photographs.

Those folks up in Minnesota tell us how to preserve old photographs.

AARP knows what you need to know. (Heck, they even have some thoughts on how to date old photos.)

If you’re more concerned with saving digital photos, The Atlantic Monthly talks about options. So does the Library of Congress.

Tune in tomorrow for more resources to help you preserve the past.

Where to get archival supplies: Gaylord, Talas, and University Products.

And, as always, we can count on the Library of Congress to guide us to deeper knowledge.

(The “real” Rosie the Riveter: Who was she? And the well-preserved model for our meme? She’s real too.)

Celebrating your Flanniversary

How do you celebrate your Flanniversary?

The Diving Girl signified a motel with a swimming pool

You don’t? What kind ofheathen are you? (Florida natives, forgive me. This chastisement is not intended for you.)

When you arrived in Florida from Up North, you gained a day to celebrate, to drink fancy tourist-y drinks and stick a candle in a Key Lime pie. Have some snow crab and some swamp cabbage. Or at least, go to Publix.

Don’t miss out! Celebrate today! (Well, celebrate on your anniversary.)
You know that sign:

Florida/ I wasn’t born here but I got here as fast as I could

That’s a sign to be proud of. We may have been born in New York, went to college in Ohio, raised the kids in Virginia and Iowa… but we all got here as fast as we could, and that’s worth an annual party, right?

(Ed. Note: My Flanniversary is July 17. It was the hottest July on record, and after he hauled boxes and boxes from the van to the new-to-us house, my sweaty honey reckoned as how maybe we’d made a grave mistake. I cranked up the AC, gave him a cool beverage, and jumped in the pool.)

Recognize our illustration as the Jantzen logo? Read about the history of the Red Diving Girl here.

Recipes from the Historical Society

Back this spring, when were sure The Great Pause would pass within weeks, we posted a Pantry Recipe every evening on our Facebook page. They proved so popular, we thought we’d share a few now, in case you are as sick of your own standard recipes as we are.

Eat more fish for pep and vim!

Sarasota ad from the Historical Society of Sarasota CountyYes, salmon probably wasn’t an offering at the fish company at the Hog Creek Terminal (just a hop, skip, and splash from where we now are in Pioneer Park), but since it’s a fish easily obtained around here nowadays, here’s the best recipe. Pretty enough for company, easy enough for any old day. It’s Salmon and Peppers With Caper Vinaigrette.

Was it Julia Child who said to always start with a pot bigger than you think you’ll need?

Never mind. Here’s our Pantry Recipe for Pasta Cubana.
 
Start with bite size bits of chicken or pork or even ground turkey. Saute 5 minutes in olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add 1-1/2 cup mild salsa, a can of rinsed and drained black beans, and 1-1/2 teaspoon cumin. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes.
Add zucchini cut into half-moons and a minced clove of garlic. Simmer 5 minutes more.
Toss with a pound of cooked pasta, rotini or some such sturdy shape. (You can also just serve over rice if you prefer.)
Vary as you see fit!
 

A classic to replace your mother’s

The Historical Society of Sarasota County presents: Burnt Meatloaf!

For the best meatloaf you ever made (slice leftovers for sandwiches!) we take you over to Auntie Kate’s, who promotes shopping instead of cooking. (Feel free to substitute other favorite activities, like reading about history, walking the dog, watching the sun set.)
(Be sure to read the notes before you start.)

Cooking over an open fire was standard in Sarasota for decades.s

(The last time we posted recipes, we could see the smoke of distant cookfires all around us. In case you missed those dinner suggestions.)

I pledge allegiance…?

Just how many flags did present-day Sarasota County fly?

Well, a lot of these flags are metaphoric, since there weren’t a lot of folk around here for many years, and they were far too busy tripping over saw palmetto roots to bother with flags, but here’s a quick rundown to amuse you and amaze (and quite possibly bore) your friends and family:

Cleverly dubbed the "Castle and Lion" flag, this was actually the King's flag, since in 1513 there was no national flag of Spain1513: Near present-day St. Augustine, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León came ashore and claimed the territory for the Spanish crown. Cleverly dubbed the “Castle and Lion” flag, this was actually the King’s flag, since in 1513 there was no national flag of Spain.

The Burgundian saltire

1565: The indigenous folks were indignant, though, so successful Spanish colonization of the Florida peninsula actually began at St. Augustine in 1565. The Burgundian saltire, or Cross of Burgundy, represented Spanish rule in Florida from 1565 to 1763. (BTW: That saw-tooth design? It’s actually, really, called raguly.)

Those French, they have to do it twice, oui? The French established a short-lived settlement, in 1564, near Jacksonville at the mouth of the St. Johns River. During this period there was no single official flag for France. Their flag may have had a blue field which bore the royal golden fleurs-de-lys. The French also occupied Pensacola from 1719 to 1722 during the War of the Quadruple Alliance.

 

The red Cross of St. George, the patron saint of England, was the major element of the British flag. In combination with the white Scottish Cross of St. Andrew, it formed the Union flag. This flag flew over Florida from 1763 until 1784.

Yup, the Spaniards did it twice too. Charles III created this Spanish national flag in 1785. It flew over Florida until the United States took official possession of the territory in 1821.

The flag of the United States had twenty-three stars when the Treaty with Spain, ceding Florida, was ratified and proclaimed on February 22, 1821.

The United States government admitted Florida as the twenty-seventh state on March 3, 1845. By law, new stars were added to the national flag on the fourth of July following the admission of each new state, so a twenty-seventh star was added for Florida on July 4, 1845.

During the Civil War, Floridians fought under several different patterns of Confederate flags. The “Stars and Bars” flag, now called the Confederate first national pattern, was selected (without a formal vote) by the Confederate government in March 1861. Read how the Confederacy ran through several design changes, all the while waging war. 

Bonus points if you can identify this flag and where and when it was flown. Gold star if you remember any of your high-school Latin. (Click the graphic for the answer.)

 

 

Further reading and sources: History.com inspired this blog post. Each flag links to more info about its time period flying over Florida. And this way cool interactive map shows the contemporary boundaries of what we now call Florida. The various designs of the state flag can be seen here, and the Muskogee, Miccosukee, and Seminole flags are here.