Step into my parlor…

While the Crocker Memorial Church is being refreshed, our attention turns to the Bidwell-Wood House. If you haven’t had a chance to see it recently, stop by any Tuesday or Friday from 10 til 2 for a self-guided visit. We hope, in season, to have docent-guided tours of our campus. Interested in learning and sharing some 19th-century local lore? Email our Site Manager, Linda Garcia, at hsosc1@gmail.com to join our next regularly-scheduled docent class. Tell her Sara DeSota sent you!

 

Be sure to sign the guest book and join an international roster of history-lovers.
Light-weight chairs were always ready to seat visitors. Or plotters.
The Bidwell home was considered the finest south of Tampa when it was built in 1882.
The Historical Society of Sarasota County is fortunate to have a few pieces of the Ringling Hotel’s china on display.
There’s Dr. Joe and there’s Dr. Jack. Learn more as a member of HSoSC.
Our picturesque campus has inspired artists for years.
Come see all the Bidwell-Wood House has to offer you!

Let it be remembered

Don’t you love that phrase? I came across it in the written minutes of old-time meetings and it’s so evocative, it made me look up some info on how YOU can let it be remembered by guiding someone to create an oral history to be remembered.

But I’ll be you have lots of questions on how to get started.

First up, how do I get someone to talk about their participation in past times? What on earth do I ask?

Continue reading

Summertime!

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 https://tinyurl.com/hsoscdonations ; 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 hsosc1@gmail.com. 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.

Sincerely,

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.

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!

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.)

Pretty is as pretty does: Do we do?

Once a year, in late October, we have a Clean-Up Day on our campus in Pioneer Park. Like this one. And this one.

These work days give you the opportunity to get out in the real world, make some socially-distanced friends, and learn a bit about gardening in Florida and Florida-friendly plants

norma kwenskiThis year, it’s Saturday October 24. Come help our Board of Directors and members “Clean Up” our beautiful campus.

Maybe you’ve never stopped to admire our garden? Now’s the chance to not only examine it in detail, but to lend a beautifying hand for an hour or two.

bob fottler

We need you people, your tools, your ambition and your muscles. Male muscles are always welcome, even if you have to bribe them (we will have something to eat to keep workers from fainting from hunger, snack stuff, and something to drink. Nothing fancy. Very “aw honey do I have to actually participate in our community?” type food.) Bring your gloves and your gardening tools!

Kids and grandkids welcome, too. They can learn how to care for the environment, heck how to weed… and when they get bored, there’s a playground right next to us in Pioneer Park.

The more hands, the easier and faster the work. Thanks so very much. Take this opportunity to see one another while socially distanced.

 

The Historical Society's Landscape Chair, Sue PaddenIt’s an open house 9 to noon... come when you can, stay as long as you wish, bring that bored teenager with you. Just look for Sue, our silver-locked probably-older-than-you volunteer who organizes this every year.

See you Saturday morning, October 24. Just think: everyone can participate, even if just for an hour. And you can make a visible, and PRETTY, difference. No RSVP necessary, just show up ready to get some fresh air and feel good about working the land!

What day is it?

Want to Claim Your Day to Save the Day at the Historical Society, but you’re too selfless to choose your birthday or your anniversary?

How about one of these notable Sarasota County dates?

* If you choose November 6, you just LOVE phone calls. That’s the day, in 1899, that Harry Higel received Sarasota’s first phone call via wires strung up on pine trees. We assume it wasn’t a robocall.

Cool old telephone, probably not in Sarasota though.

We doubt Harry’s phone looked like this, but this was just way too cool to pass up.

* Grab October 28 if you love baseball and Payne Park. That’s the day Lew Brudette, the hero of the 1957 World Series, came home to a motorcade to the park and was feted with a key to the city and a 16′ cabin cruiser.

Lew Brudette in Sarasota. Got a cabin cruiser out of it.

The man, the myth, the cabin cruiser.

* Then there’s Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where you or your kids might have been born? It opened November 1 1925 with 32 beds. It actually opened on November 2, but that day’s been Claimed by an HSoSC supporter, so we’ll use November 1, if you want to make someone’s Sarasota debut your day!

Sarasota Memorial Hospital the early days.

To exit the hospital through those sturdy columns? You were a true Sarasotan!

* One of my personal faves? Royalty arrives in Sarasota, Nov 30 1910. Bertha Palmer’s niece and nephew-in-law, Princess and Prince Cantacuzene, come to see what this whole real estate venture of Aunt Bertha is all about. They stayed at the Belle Haven.

Bertha Palmer in Sarasota

The Princess wasn’t along on this tromp through the wilds of Sarasota.

* Prefer to remain low-key but still help HSoSC survive the pandemic? Just tell Linda, note on your PayPal donation, or drop an email letting us choose a day to dedicate to YOU (Hint: My birthday is July 18.)