A question that nags at all Floridians, native or new.

A nagging question that I never really articulated… but the answer popped up on my internet browsing one lazy Sunday afternoon:

Are flamingos really native to Florida, and if so, why don’t I ever see them?

Well, it turns out, I just wasn’t looking hard enough. Details? Lots.

A sight I hope to yet see. Credit Courtesy Jerry Lorenz / Audubon of Florida

John James Audubon himself saw flamingos in 1832 near Indian Key, an island off Islamorada, in the Upper Keys.

Far away to seaward we spied a flock of Flamingoes advancing in “Indian line,” with well-spread wings, outstretched necks, and long legs directed backwards. Ah! reader, could you but know the emotions that then agitated my breast!

Flamingos as Tourist Center Motivators

Is the flamingo your spirit animal? (I promise, I am not rolling my eyes. I lie.)

Flamingo Plastic Taxidermy.

Flamingos have been made into chandeliers, poolside beverage coolers, and ceiling fan pulls. I saw one as a carousel “horse” and another as a toilet paper roll holder. Flamingos are happy birds. And here’s one flamingo nobody’s ever thought to gift me with.

So, I guess it’s as simple as ABC… Flaminogos are as native as you and me!

January 11 Conversation at the Crocker

EDIT Feb. 25 2022 Originally schedued for January, we’re happy to be able to present this event on Tuesday March 8 2022 at 7pm. Bookmark our Events Page where you will find the most up-to-date info on gatherings at HSoSC.

This 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, March 8, 2022 at 7 p.m.
  • Crocker Memorial Church, Pioneer Park
  • Free to Members
  • Guests: $10 at the door

Submitted by Marsha Fottler

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

This Day in History is very moving….

In the wee small hours of October 18 2006, you could have seen two historic buildings moving slowly, oh so slowly, through the streets of Sarasota.

That was the day in history when the Historical Society moved its buildings to Pioneer Park. Here’s the local news item:

SARASOTA October 16 2006– The 1882 Bidwell-Wood House had been scheduled to be moved from Florida Avenue to Pioneer Park early Thursday morning.
But mover R.E. Johnson and Son will transport the building 24 hours earlier. Sometime between 2 and 3 a.m. on Wednesday, the Bidwell-Wood House — and the Crocker Church — will be moved from Florida Avenue, south of 10th Street, to Pioneer Park, at 12th Street and Cocoanut. The Historical Society of Sarasota County and the city of Sarasota are coordinating the project.
The buildings have been up on trucks and ready to go for several days.The public is invited to follow the three-block move behind the trucks — in bathrobes and pajamas, for those who wish.
Once the buildings are in place, piers will be built into the footings, which have already been poured on a high spot in the park, and then the structures will be lowered into place.
The move will be videotaped for a documentary to be shown on the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel.

And once the buildings were safe in Pioneer Park, all of us were walking on air.

Photo courtesy of Harold Bubil through the Herald-Tribune.

It had been a long journey, even though it was actually only a few blocks… and it would be several years before we could use the buildings to present local history, but this was a momentous day not just for HSoSC but for the entire county: two buildings saved from the wrecking ball, so that residents can understand what came before today.

Help the Historical Society of Sarasota County Preserve History