Hot History Part THREE!

We keep finding local history-related things for you to do. (Here’s the first installment, and Part Two…) It’s too hot to go traipsing about graveyards and boardwalks right now, but it’s always cool to learn a bit more about our local area.

Up at the top there’s gotta be a breeze!

One of our favorite supporters, Liz Coursen, is giving a talk at Gulf Gate Library on Florida Lighthouses. Info here. You probably have visited this one. If not, do! We’re sure Liz will give you directions.

Not as picturesque as some, but easy driving distance! Courtesy of Lighthouse Friends.

Learn about some cool art

Take a peek into the art collection at the Van Wezel, our on-the-bay performance venue that folks are afraid will be history soon. The best way to show your love for local history is to participate. Here’s your chance, by joining the Art and Backstage Tour. The tour features features works from the Arts Advocates’ Sarasota Colony artist collection as well as noted Florida artists, including pieces by Robert Chase, William Hartman, Eugene White, Ben Stahl, Julio de Diego, Thornton Utz, Frank Colson, and Dean Mitchell, to name a few. The backstage tour provides a peek at the dressing rooms, green room, back hallway, and the Van Wezel stage.

Tours are offered to the public August 8 and September 12 from 1:30-3:00 pm. Tours begin in the Main Lobby and cost $15 per person. Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office or by calling (941) 263-6799. More info.

Prefer music and a cool beverage?

More the outdoors, drink and hum along type? Here’s another Van Wezel event you’ll love, and it’s free. The Friday Fest. Future dates for Friday Fest are August 12 and September 16.

Help create future art history

Or maybe you’d like to help fellow Sarasotans CREATE history? After all, history is not fixed in stone; it’s made every day by folks like you. Our tradition of art is strong here, and you can build on that to make art even stronger as time marches on. For example, by participating in and supporting local artists. Your grandchildren will thank you for becoming patrons of the arts in accessible venues like Creative Liberties, Ligon Arts, ArtUptown, and of course Art Center Sarasota.

Read more in The Observer about this capitalistic venue for the arts.

Sparkle, sail….

Sparkly Saturday is our traditional Preloved Jewelry Sale combined with our favorite Porch Sale

It’s time for Sparkly Saturday! On Saturday February 12, from 8am to 2pm, we’ll fill the Crocker Memorial Church with preloved jewelry, from costume to sterling, funky to fabulous, necklacesbraceletsearringsbroochesandmore, in conjunction with our fabulous supporter JewelrytotheRescue. And as always, we fill the porches of the Bidwell-Wood House with our “household sparkles” too. Come early, stay late!

A good time on our Historic Bay Cruise is always had by all… especially Site Manager Linda Garcia and Narrator John McCarthy

Then there’s our even-more-traditional Historic Sarasota Bay Cruise on Sunday March 6, with

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Yes, it’s fall in Sarasota.

For a climate not known for its subtly, our semi-tropical Sarasota lets autumn sneak up on us. Maybe youve noticed those beach sunsets come earlier and earlier? It’s already before 8. By Halloween, the sun will be setting at 6:45 p.m, and by Thanksgiving? It’ll be dark by 5:30 or so.
And how about your pool temperature? It’s going down even though

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Let’s straighten that hat, shall we?

You probably haven’t noticed, what with the world being tilted on its own axis these 18+ months and everyone waiting for it to settle down, but the steeple of our historic Crocker Memorial Church has needed a little resettling itself, so to speak.

So, being the

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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

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.


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!

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.

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.

Cooking through history.

Our mission during The Great Pause has been to keep you smiling, keep you thinking about a bit of history… and to keep you well-fed on our Facebook page . Here’s a quick sample of our daily Pantry Recipes, posted around 5 PM, and we can manage to intertwine a little of the history of eating….

Feeding hungry college students for over 100 years:

This heritage dish goes by multiple names, the Historical Society of Sarasota County found out.

Click to see what folks across the country call this humble casserole.

It’s a basic. Canned salmon has been available since the Civil War, and folks ordered canned goods from Sears Roebuck in Sarasota County in the 1880s and beyond.

Salmon patties have be a mainstay since canned goods were invented, says the Historical Society of Sarasota County.

Click to see just how many folks truly LIKE salmon patties (there’s a great contributed recipe for salmon salad in the comments there, too.)

Now this recipe for Magic Ribs might have been cooked up by Shakespeare’s three witches. Well, maybe not. The 2 major ingredients wouldn’t be invented until centuries later:

Click for the magic. They taste much more complex than their two common-place ingredients.

It’s just 15 seconds, but we think this little video about The Giving Challenge 2020 will help us all think #People1st #ThenBuildings

For The Giving Challenge 2020, think #People1st #ThenBuildings

Click to see how to #BeTheOne #UntilThisIsDone

On our page, we also greet you every morning with a Rise and Shine message, offer you a smile or two, and send you a relaxing soothing image to wish you sweet dreams. Follow the Historical Society page here.  And for a slightly more world-wise page, follow our Sara de Sota page as well.

Please view our video about how we can participate in the 2020 Giving Challenge the end of this month.

A history interlude

We’re having hard times right now, and if you spend ANY time online the media seem to make it even scarier. So we’ve dedicated our Facebook page to help you cope, to make you smile, to maybe even teach you a little history.

We know not everyone visits Facebook, so here’s some of or recent posts focusing on history. Stay tuned… soon we’ll share some of the best Pantry Recipe posts too!

Everyone enjoys a good video, right?

A video found by The Historical Society of Sarasota County

Click to view The Florida Dream.

It’s local. Two towns, both vitally important to Sarasota County history:

Cortez and Cedar Key both played roles in Sarasota County history

Click to visit Cortez and Cedar Key. Can you smell the fresh air and hear the water?

It’s great to learn, but sometimes it’s fun to look back just a few years:

Remember this phone?

Remembering when phone manners  were a thing.

It’s just 15 seconds, but we think this little video about The Giving Challenge 2020 will help us all think #People1st #ThenBuildings

For The Giving Challenge 2020, think #People1st #ThenBuildings

Click to see how to #BeTheOne #UntilThisIsDone

On our page, we also greet you every morning with a Rise and Shine message, offer you a smile or two, and send you a relaxing soothing image to wish you sweet dreams. Follow the Historical Society page here.  And for a slightly more world-wise page, follow our Sara de Sota page as well.

Please view our video about how we can participate in the 2020 Giving Challenge the end of this month.

Making History Together during COV-ID 19

Marsha Fottler, President, Historical Society of Sarasota County

Marsha Fottler, President, The Historical Society of Sarasota County

At The Historical Society of Sarasota County, we are, like everyone else, struggling to get through these perilous and historic days with both good sense for safety and optimism that when it’s all over, we will emerge as stronger people ready to restore our lives and institutions. We are once again participating in the community-wide Giving Challenge later in April. But, we want you to know how we are approaching this fund-raising project and we want to express to all of you the feelings of the Board of Directors and the Advisory Board.

We’ve made a simple message about the upcoming 2020 Giving Challenge and how you can help our community survive and prosper with your participation. Click here.

The 2020 Giving Challenge is presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation.

Spreading a little happiness online

We’re having hard times right now, and if you spend ANY time online the media seem to make it even scarier. So we’ve dedicated our Facebook page to help you cope, to make you smile, to maybe even teach you a little history. Here’s what we’re doing :

We’re taking an historical stance on this historic event, the COV-19 crisis. As you know, people have been through lots worse, under scarier conditions throughout history, and even within the lifetimes of most of us.

We will get through this. And with that in mind, HSoSC will be posting things to help you get through, enlighten you, occupy you, amuse you and make you wonder.

Bookmark, like, share, comment, tell your friends that if they want some neighborly ideas, follow us

… until COV-19 itself becomes history!

We know not everyone visits Facebook, so here’s some of the most popular light-hearted posts. Stay tuned… tomorrow, we’ll show you some of the best historical posts too!

Since today is Easter, how about:


Bunny Butt Pancakes

The perfect Easter breakfast … or even supper.


Easter COV-ID 19 masks

Well, we can’t be in the Easter parade this year but we can get in the Easter-bonnet mood!


Getting ready

We gotta laugh at ourselves (or everyone else will.)


The Great Pause Shopping Tips

Why, we even include shopping tips for our followers!

On our page, we also greet you every morning with a Rise and Shine message, offer you a daily Pantry Recipe, and send you a relaxing soothing image to wish you sweet dreams. Follow the Historical Society page here.  And for a slightly more world-wise page, follow our Sara de Sota page as well.

And do not miss our video about how we as a Society will be participating in the 2020 Giving Challenge  the end of this month. If you click on just one click, make it this one.