Fabulous Fables & Fascinating Facts

Our second presentation of History is Fun was a hit! After a slideshow discussing the facts behind some of the more persistent fables about Sarasota history, our Hero of History, Sue Blue, as historian and raconteur, took the stage to relate to us the most wonderful fable of all… that of the doomed Sara deSoto.

Sue Blue, getting ready to delight us with her story-telling.

Our audience was well-spaced and the doors to the Crocker Memorial Church were left open to aid in air movement. And most fun of all, member Wil Pearson (pictured here in his persona of John Ringling during our “Ask Me Anything” event at Barnes & Noble in January 2020) won the door prize: A hand-crafted elegant bar of Mermaid soap! After all, mermaids are a fable, right?

Wil Pearson as John Ringling

Our Board has decided, being cautious, to cancel/delay our other January events. We hope to present these to you at a later time. To stay up-to-date, check our Events Page for the latest Calendar of Events.

If you missed this event or the December premiere of History is Fun, which highlighted Sarasota as seen through the eyes of an artist, be sure to circle Wednesday March 2 2022 at 2pm, when we’ll host the crew from our county’s Historical Resources Department telling us how they help preserve our local stories. Hope they’ll bring some artifacts! (They have mastodon teeth and teacups and all sorts of cool things there.)

To keep up to the moment in the ever-fluid issue of covid cancellations, bookmark our Events Page, where you’ll find the latest schedule of events at HSoSC.

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

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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Centennial Presentations from the Historical Society

To mark the centennial year of Sarasota County, the Historical Society produced several educational events. These have had to be translated from in-person appearances to online presentations for use during the pandemic. The filmed reading of the play, The Roads We Traveled to Sarasota County, written and produced by Board member Kathryn Chesley, is available on loan for group showings with an appropriate honorarium. Please contact our office for more information. We will also be presenting the video with in-person commentary by Ms. Chesley and actors, as our November Conversation at the Crocker.

Kathryn Chesley, Author, Producer, Director, and Actor
Kate Holmes costumed as Lizzie Guptill

The slide show, From Wilderness to County, was originally created for our Speakers’ Bureau to take on the road to clubs, groups, and other gatherings. Kate Holmes, a volunteer with HSoSC, wrote, created, and presented this event while costumed as and in the persona of Lizzie Webb Guptill, a real-life pioneer who arrived in this area as a 12-year-old in 1867. Lizzie’s viewpoint of Sarasota’s journey from an unpopulated wilderness to a 20th-century county, can be viewed here.

It’s a journey to 1921, and we hope you enjoy it.

From Wilderness to County, a presentation from The Historical Society of Sarasota County

Let’s gloat a bit…

Well, it’s after Labor Day. That means, for folks Up North, the end of their beach time.

Ah, but for us lucky Sarasota Countians, we get to enjoy our beaches year-round.

Of course that means…

finding a parking spot year-round as well. This photo was taken (hold onto your sunhat!) FORTY YEARS ago, in 1981. (You’d think they’d have solved this problem by now…)

Of course, enjoying our beaches year-round means the quest for a beach-worthy body is perpetual. Here’s some bodies over the years to instill in us all, that all bodies are beautiful (even if all bathing suits aren’t necessarily.)

Okay, I cheated just a bit. Those ladies in 1885 attire were actually shelling Up North, but what they were wearing was what the Scottish settlers would have back in the day.

Okay, enough with the FUN. Here’s some history to enjoy:

Speaking of “History is FUN”… have you saved the dates for our new, mid-afternoon events in the Crocker Memorial Church? December 1, January 6, March 2. See all our upcoming events.

Who’s been an American longer?

How esoteric can we get? A stumper!

Who’s been an American longer, a Pensacolan or a St. Augustinian?

If you guessed the folks in St. Augustine, you’d be right, but possibly for the wrong reason. St. Augustine officially became American on July 10 1821 along with the territory known as East Florida. Pensacola, in west Florida, became part of the U.S.A. a week later, on July 17 1821.

The Historical Society of Sarasota County has a stumper for you! Who's been an American longer....

Have you ANY idea how hard it was to keep those trousers white in 1821?

If you didn’t attend grade, middle, junior high or high school in Florida, you’re possibly mighty confused about what country claimed Florida when. Here’s a quick rundown.

Reference: https://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/map/map.html#FL

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

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.

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.

Sparkly Saturday Shebang March 27 2021

The Historical Society of Sarasota County's Annual Sparkly Saturday now on March 27 2021
Originally scheduled in February; now the last Saturday in March

Sparkly Saturday Shebang, Sat. March 27

Our Annual Sparkly Saturday, with incredible jewelry in conjunction with Jewelry to the Rescue, is a Shebang this year, with a tag sale on the Bidwell-Wood House open-air porches and a lawn full of artists, crafters, and authors on our breezy campus in beautiful Pioneer Park.

Don’t miss this chance to stroll in the sunshine, greet friends you’ve missed, and shop to help HSoSC survive in these fiscal-challenging days. If you’re not in the market for more material goods, that’s okay… come anyway, enjoy the companionship, and bring a few bucks for the donations jars. Remember, it costs the Society $128 a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks+ since this pandemic shut our doors, just to keep our historic buildings safe. 

Bring your mad money and wear your mask!