The Historical Society of Sarasota County

Creating an awareness of the rich historical heritage of Sarasota County, Florida

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Fun, awards, food and… birds?

A little birdie told us

What did the little birdie say to the other little birdie? Come to the Annual Meeting on May 14 2016 to find out!

For the Society’s Annual Meeting on Saturday, May 14, there will be fun, festivities, awards and great food… what else could we want on a beautiful May Saturday? A beautiful, freshly-groomed garden? Check! Voting for the Board of Directors? Check! Delicious pot luck goodies from talented cooks? Of course!

Who will be this year’s award winners? Come and see… and applaud their service to Sarasota County history. (Here’s last year’s winners.)

Will your smiling face be in this year’s video review of all we did? Come see! Member Peter Piazza puts together a great show for us!

Want to hear what we have planned for 2016-2017? Maybe even take part in the planning and execution? Come volunteer?

Want to brag on your cooking skills? Bring a dish to share and get ready to taste an incredible variety of yummy stuff.

And want to see what A Little Birdie Told Us: The Tree is all about? I think you’re gonna like it. Come discover what we’re talking about on Saturday May 14, 11 am.


Mucking about in Pioneer Park

Sue Padden, the new chair of the Historical Society’s landscape committee, organized a garden beautification day on Saturday, April 30. About a dozen volunteers answered her call to weed, prune, rake, plant and spread mulch. Sue is particularly interested in restoring the herb garden.

The Historical Society's Landscape Chair, Sue Padden

If there’s a call for volunteers, you can be sure Norma Kwenski will show up. She’s here weeding the brick memorial pavilion in front of the Bidwell-Wood House. She wants it to look perfect for the annual meeting and potluck luncheon, as well as the brick ceremony where people who have purchased bricks in a loved one’s name will see the bricks installed on May 14.

norma kwenski

Bob Fottler came dressed for the tasks at hand. He brought several bags of mulch and spread them in the garden in front of the Bidwell-Wood House. The garden can always use mulch and donations are appreciated.

bob fottler

Sara King cleaned out the bromeliad beds on the west side of the Crocker Church and planted new specimens. Lots of weeding and pruning too.

 sue king

Bill Whetzel, who has maintained the Crocker Cemetery on Bee Ridge Road for 25 years, was on hand for the HSOSC garden beautification day on Saturday, April 30. This man knows a lot about yard maintenance and garden care.

bill whetzel

Gwen Whetzel did it all – weeding, pruning, raking, weed pulling. She was an inspiration to everyone.

gwen whetzel

Board member Meade Ferguson has participated in these garden clean up days before, so she knew enough to wear heavy gloves and long pants.

meade ferguson

All our members thank these hearty volunteers, and look forward to the Annual Meeting coming up on Saturday May 14 at 11am, with Pot Luck Picnic immediately following.

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Secrets of an American Palace: April’s Conversation at the Crocker

Ron McCarty, Keeper and Curator of Ca’ d’Zan, Leads a Conversation and Shows Rare Photos of the Famous Mansion he calls “Mable’s House.”

No one is more aware of the importance of a great house museum to a specific community and to the wider world than Ron McCarty, the Keeper and Curator of Ca’ d’Zan, the fabulous American palace John and Mable Ringling built on Sarasota’s bayfront in the late 1920s. McCarty has been employed by the Ringling Museum longer than anyone in the history of the museum and will share Continue reading

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Earlye Musicke in Historic Crocker Church

On Tuesday March 22, 2016 the Sarasota Earlye Musicke Consort will be performing for the 4th season in a row for members and guests of the Historical Society of Sarasota County.  The program will be presented at the Crocker Memorial Church in Pioneer Park,  1260 12th Street (between US41 and Cocoanut Avenue) beginning at 7pm.

Earlye Musick Consort will perform at Historical Society of Saraspota County on March 22 2016The members of this consort, performing in period costume, play music dating from the 14th century to the 21st century on recorders and viols. This concert is free for HSOSC members; a $10 donation is requested from guests.  The group is led by Charlotte Trautwein.

The Sarasota Earlye Musicke Consort was recently awarded a 15 year certificate by the National American Recorder Society, recognizing the ensemble’s contribution to Sarasota and the surrounding communities.  The Sarasota chapter of ARS recently hosted the national board meetings for ARS at the Crocker Memorial Church, where they gather for class and group playing for intermediate and advanced players every week.

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Surprising Facts and Stories about Florida

Surprising Facts and Stories about Florida are Revealed

Esteemed archaeologist, Marion Almy and acclaimed historian,  Janet Snyder Matthews, longtime friends of the Historical Society and experts on Florida, come together on the stage of the Crocker Memorial Church for an informal conversation and photographic presentation. They will chat about the things that fascinate them about Florida. Come and be fascinated too!


These two experts will share facts and stories and rare Continue reading


From Moons Ohio to Ca’ d’Zan

Mable Ringling Revealed: Mable Ringling as presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota CountyA Conversations at The Crocker presentation with rare photos of Mable Ringling and her time in Sarasota bring to life her lasting influence on this city 
Mable Burton Ringling (1875-1929) is remembered as the wife of John Ringling, America’s circus king.  But she was much more than the gracious hostess of Ca’ d’Zan, her Sarasota mansion. Her influence is felt today on the west coast of Florida where she oversaw the construction of the couple’s 57-room Venetian Gothic mansion on Sarasota Bay.

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