Turning Beads into Beams!

We’re VERY excited to host our annual Sparkly Saturday on Sat., February 8 from 9am to 1pm. What’s Sparkly Saturday?

A “trunk show” of gently-used vintage, costume, unique, fine and fashion jewelry displayed for you in the Crocker Memorial Church, and a bonus tag sale on the porches of the Bidwell-Wood House.

Sparkly Saturday at the Historical Society of Sarasota CountyWhy are we so excited? Well first ’cause it’s fun, second ’cause who doesn’t love some fresh adornments, and third because the underpinnings of the Crocker Memorial Church are ready for some serious rehab. (Click for more.)

If you love to sniff out treasures, this is the event for you! And yes, folks, Valentine’s Day/ Galentine’s Day is just around the corner.

Lots going on this Saturday… that’s why we’re opening at 9am! Get first dibs, explore our offerings, then it’s off on your Trolley Tour, your class, your visit to the beach!

Presented in partnership with jewelrytotherescue.org

Haven’t you always wondered THIS about Sarasota County?

“Golly gee willikers,” you say to yourself. “How can I live/ visit here and not know…The Historical Society of Sarasota County is having an "Ask Me Anything [about Sarasota history]" event at Barnes & Noble

  • Who is St. Armand?
  • Why does Main Street dead end?
  • Did Ringling really use elephants to build the bridge?

or even:

  • Why do they call it Sarasota?

Well, here’s your chance to ask those questions that you’ve always wanted to know but were afraid to ask!

Ask Me Anything [about Sarasota history]

This Sunday, January 26 2020, volunteers from the Historical Society of Sarasota County will be at Barnes & Noble from 2 to 4 pm to chat one-on-one with you about things you’ve always meant to find out about how Sarasota County came to be the way it is.

In addition to folks who can stir your imagination and pique your curiosity, we will have renowned local authors signing their books, upcoming events listings, even Mable and John Ringling characters who would love to pose with you for selfies.

The cafe in the store is cooking up brownies to honor local history… which, perhaps you know (you didn’t? You need to come ask questions!), were “invented” by Bertha Palmer, Queen of Chicago and Legendary Lady of Sarasota, as a lady-like snack for the Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago! (Get there early and I’ll give you the original recipe!)

A small percentage of everything you buy that day in-store or online, will be donated to The Historical Society.

Your B&N purchases of anything and everything in the store will contribute to a donation to the Historical Society when you mention us at the cash register.

Can’t attend but would love for the Society to get credit for any B&N online purchase you make on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday? Type in our code  12582334  as you purchase to benefit the Historical Society.

Barnes & Noble is located at 4010 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida 34231. Click for a map.

When was the last time you took a look at St Pete’s history?

Our intrepid travel volunteer, Jane Kirschner, is leading another of her fun and informative bus tours, and you need to join us!

St. Petersburg: Revitalizing History, A Bus Tour

The historic Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg

The historic Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg, one of our highlights during the bus tour.

With a guide from the “Preserve the Burg” group, we’ll see St. Pete’s fascinating historical highlights, including vibrant Central Avenue, the Detroit Hotel (1888), the 90-year-old St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club with over 1200 members, and the spectacularly restored Vinoy Hotel.

We’ll enjoy a gourmet lunch (included) at the renowned Chief’s with a choice of entrees before we explore the African American Trail, witnessing the amazing revitalization of The Deuces corridor and visiting the Woodson Museum.

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020 8:00-4:30. Leaves from the Historical Society, 1260 12th St. between the North Trail and Cocoanut Ave. Free parking.

$80 Member, $90 not-yet-Member, includes lunch.

Reservations required. Grab yours now, we were a third full before our eager “tour”ists even knew the details!

  • Reservations can be mailed in, with your payment to: HSOSC, P.O. Box 1632, Sarasota, FL 34230*
  • To charge, call Linda Garcia, our Site Mgr., between 10 and 2 on weekdays 941-364-9076*
  • Questions about reservations? Email hsosc1@gmail.com
  • Any questions about the tour, please feel free to call: Jane Kirschner, Tour Organizer 941-320-7773 Cell

* What’s for lunch? Choose from the wide array Chief’s Creole Cafe will prepare for us, and tell us when you make your reservation:

1/ Shrimp & Cheesy Grits

2/ Gumbo

3/ Shrimp Po Boy

4/ “not too” Spicy Jambalaya

5/ Portabella Burger (vegan!)

6/ Chicken Salad

Nota Bene!! Luncheon includes: Your meal choice, non-alcoholic beverage and TIP! Beer and Wines are available at your extra cost. Please make note of your choice, on your calendar in case you don’t remember.

Now that I’m 119, I could use some fresh underpinnings…

Pioneer Day in Pioneer Park at the Historical Society of Sarasota County
The Crocker Church has been a community gathering place for 119 years. Let’s make it a part of Sarasota County for another century or so.

If we don’t care about our past, we cannot hope for the future. ~

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Perhaps you’ve heard that after a certain age, it’s patch, patch, patch? Well sometimes, it’s more like a major LIFT is needed.
Our beloved community gathering place, the Crocker Memorial Church, needs new underpinnings. A major support beam is in drastic need of renewal. You can imagine the cost… now, imagine your contribution. 

Please support the new structural support beam.

You can send a check to HSoSC at 1260 12th Street, Sarasota FL 34236, or donate instantly with your credit card via this secure Internet link. You can even pledge a monthly amount through Paypal if you choose. Thank you for helping keep the Crocker Memorial Church whole and healthy for today, and for all the tomorrows.

Please don’t let the Crocker Memorial Church die.

The Historical Society and indeed, our whole county, can be proud that we have preserved the Crocker Memorial Church for continual use as a gathering place for our community.

Other communities have not been so fortunate. On the left, below, Island Grove Church as seen on Abandoned Florida and on the right, our vibrant, attractive Crocker Memorial Church at 1260 12th Street in Sarasota.191219exterior blog

Inside, this is what Island Grove looks like, compared to ours.

191219 interior

But old wooden buildings don’t stay pristine forever, especially in our climate. Thank goodness we have the expertise and the ability to make sure that the issues with our beloved Crocker Memorial Church, which unfortunately include replacing the major support beam under the west wall, can be historically corrected. Here’s where we are today, awaiting the raising of funds.

west wall 2019

Learn more about the challenge we face.

As you can imagine, replacing the support beam and refreshing the siding and reinstalling the (carefully stored for now) original windows on the west wall of the building will take a lot of money, all of which must be raised by the Historical Society.

Please support the new structural support beam.

You can send a check to HSoSC at 1260 12th Street, Sarasota FL 34236, or donate instantly with your credit card via this secure Internet link. You can even pledge a monthly amount through Paypal if you choose. Thank you for helping keep the Crocker Memorial Church whole and healthy for today, and for all the tomorrows.

What makes a community, a community? Lessons from 100+ years

Ever since 1882 (the year Alfred Bidwell built his home in Sarasota, now known as the Bidwell-Wood House, the oldest remaining residence in Sarasota County) and 1901, when Peter Crocker built the Crocker Church for his Bee Ridge community, our two preserved buildings have been places to gather, to meet and help neighbors, and to celebrate the many aspects of life.Read the history of our two buildings in our Museum Booklet.

When the Historical Society moved the house and the church to its campus in Pioneer Park, this tradition of community events gained speed and depth.

Recently, hundreds of people have joined the Society for its Conversations at the Crocker, a monthly get-together from October to April featuring panel/ audience dialogs on everything from historic neighborhoods to government to baseball. The parlor, dining room and Back Porch of the house have been venues for classes on topics ranging from mosaics to watercolor, pine needle basket weaving to… iPhones (hey, just ’cause we’re historical doesn’t mean we’re not up-to-date!)!

We’ve had the honor of providing community space for events ranging from the Cinderella Project (high-schoolers from the community can choose, from an elegant “pop-up boutique”, their prom attire) to the history-educational History Fair. We’ve also been the chosen venue for teas, weddings, book clubs, art classes, musical rehearsals and recitals, art exhibits and crafts demonstrations, Florida-friendly gardening, luncheon groups and antique car destinations. We’ve even had a baptism!

We also love participating in community outreach such as the Holiday Wreath event at Westfield Sarasota Square, providing hosts for the historical homes tours during season, and showcasing our gardens with Florida-Friendly plantings.

But… all this community involvement is in danger.

We are the caretakers of the two buildings, and as such, we must pay every penny of their upkeep. If you’ve ever lived in an historic home, you know what’s involved there! Right now, we are looking at over $50,000 in work that must be done asap… just to keep the buildings dry and protected from the Florida climate. The Church roof needs coating (done! thanks to an Arts and Cultural Award) , and the beautiful wooden shakes of the House roof need complete replacement. (done! thanks to the Selby Foundation)

Update December 2019: The Crocker Memorial Church is needing community support now. Our lovely climate is not so lovely to old wooden buildings, and we are now facing the considerable expense of replacing a major support beam to keep the Church bright and beautiful. Read what’s happening and how you can help keep this Sarasota icon in pristine shape. Details are here.

If you think that this historic treasure, which has served as a community-gathering space for over 100 years, deserves to continue to make Sarasota a true community, won’t you  help? A modest $25 or $50 donation, multiplied by the thousands of folks who love vintage buildings and the peaceful ambiance of Pioneer Park, can do it! You can donate today with your credit card or e-check by clicking the “Donate” button here on our right sidebar, or you can do the “old-fashioned thing” of dropping by our beautiful buildings in Pioneer Park, any M-F 10a to 2p, with a check. Heck, you could even put a check in the mail!

Thanks for being a part of the Sarasota community!

Old time-y receipts are fun to look at but….

Here at the Historical Society of Sarasota County, we love to see old receipts. Here’s one from a Bradentown (that’s what it was called in 1911) grocer:
H. A. Fuller Grocery billWouldn’t it be wonderful to have a monthly grocery bill of $19.13? Even if it didn’t include such modern wonders as microwave popcorn…