2020 Hero of History Honoring Jon Thaxton

Edited: Due to the COVID crisis, this celebration has been rescheduled for the same date in 2021. Join us on March 18 2021 to honor Jon Thaxton as our latest Hero of History!

2020 Hero of History awarded to Jon Thaxton by the Historical Society of Sarasota County

Michaels on East

Wednesday March 18, 2020

Thursday March 18, 2021

Registration 11:30am

Luncheon & Program Noon

Tickets – Individual $100
Sponsorships:
Environmentalist $2,500
Bird Lover $1,000
Scrub Jay $250
For more information contact Linda Garcia
HSOSC 941-364-9076 or hsosc1@gmail.com

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 our secure “Donate” button on our sidebar. You can even pledge a monthly amount 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…

 

Meet your new Board Members!

Historical Society new Directors

New Directors Bill Kleber and Deborah Bowers look forward to meeting you and hearing about your concerns and your volunteer talents at the Historical Society of Sarasota County. Come meet them Tuesday October 8 at our first Conversation at the Crocker!

Our first Conversation at the Crocker on Tuesday October 8 would be an excellent time to meet your new Board members. Remember, the buildings open an hour earlier, at 6pm, including the Gift Shop, and Deborah and Bill would love to get to know you and your particular areas of interest and expertise!

At its annual meeting, the members of the Historical Society of Sarasota County elected two new board members, Deborah Bowers and Bill Kleber. They also re-elected President Howard Rosenthal and Recording Secretary JoRita Stevens, and elected former Board member (and immediate past president) Jane Kirschner-Tucillo to a new term.

Deborah Bowers recently moved to Sarasota from Fort Myers Beach where she and her husband Peter owned and operated a small beach resort. Prior to her move to Florida, Bowers worked in non-profit development in the Boston area for 20 years.  Her positions there included Vice President for Development and Marketing at the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, an organization which operates 25 historic house museums throughout New England. She also served as Vice President for Development at MetroWest Medical Center, created by the merger of two community hospitals in the western suburbs of Boston. Deborah is a native Floridian and a graduate of Duke University.

Bill Kleber moved to Sarasota in 2004 after a career in the computer industry in Chicago, New York and Boston. A graduate of Purdue University with a BS in mechanical engineering, he also served in the Air Force and was assigned to one of the country’s first computer installations. “I like to tell people that I was a programmer on the 10th computer ever built, which is true,” he said. Besides serving on the HSOSC board, Kleber is membership chair of the Genealogical Society of Sarasota, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and a member of the local Purdue Club. Heand his wife Ali recently formed a non-profit organization, Sarasota Outreach Solutions, Inc., the goal of which is to establish an overnight shelter for the homeless in the Sarasota area.

The full HSOSC Board is: Howard Rosenthal (President), Marsha Fottler (Vice President), Greg Dickinson (Treasurer), Meade Ferguson (Corresponding Secretary), JoRita Stevens (Secretary), Linda Garcia (Site Manager), Lynn Harding, Ron McCarty, Jane Kirschner-Tuccillo, Deborah Bowers, Bill Kleber and William Watrous. Rotating off the board but remaining active with the organization on various committees are Kate Holmes, Chuck Resh and Hope Black.

Put your Historical Society “on the map”

If you’d like to give a no-money-involved gift to the Historical Society of Sarasota County (although, of course, financial contributions are always welcome!) please consider writing a review and/or adding a photo or two to these web resources. The more mention we have on the Internet, the more residents, winter Floridians, and visitors will find us!

So if you have five minutes, and think the history of Sarasota County is worth preserving, see what you can add to:

Sarasota FL map from an automobile club, 1919.

Sarasota FL map from an automobile atlas 1919. Click to enlarge.

You can “share” not only our website with friends, but this from visitsarasota.org And of course, you can refer your online friends, folks coming to town, and so on, to our Facebook page and our Twitter feed.

Don’t want to fiddle with writing reviews? Sit back, relax, and enjoy some old-timey photos of Sarasota. We appreciate your interest!

Come dig us… or dig WITH us!

The Historical Society of Sarasota County garden fairiesCalling All Gardeners*
Marsha Fottler, Landscape Committee Chair
If pulling weeds, planting, pruning and spreading mulch are strategies you embrace for relieving stress and getting exercise, your Historical Society has a opportunity you can’t pass up – a work day at the Bidwell-Wood House garden on Saturday, May 4, 2013 from 9 a.m. until about 1 p.m. Bring your own garden tools and gloves. Mulch will be supplied as well as cold drinks. Also, if you have any plants you want to donate to the landscape bring them along (Ed. note: Drop them off; you don’t have to DIG if you have other plans!) and integrate them into our members’ growing collection. The aim to have the members’garden in tip-top condition for our annual meeting and potluck picnic on May 11. Give an hour and help the garden to grow!
* Pinnies and gaiters optional.

Do you have… or will you help get… what Linda needs?

LInda Garcia, Site Manager of The Historical Society of Sarasota CountyLinda, our Site Manager and Board member, has issued our Spring Wish List. Might you have/ know of/ be willing to contribute to any of these needs at the Historical Society? She’d love to hear from you!

Maybe it’s just $30 for flashlights. Maybe you can strongarm your talented specialist buddy into tuning the organ. Or maybe it’s something in between. Even something as humble as donating paper goods can help us preserve, protect, and polish the Bidwell-Wood House and the Crocker Church in Pioneer Park.

Click for the Wish List.

After you choose what you can fund, let Linda know if you would like to be acknowledged her on the blog, or if you’d rather keep your good works to yourself. And as they say nowadays, TIA (Thanks in Advance!)

The Herb Garden

by Marsha Fottler, Chair, Landscape Committee

Kitchen garden at the Bidwell-Wood House, Sarasota

The HSOSC herb Garden is near the detached kitchen at the Bidwell-Wood House. In past times (and now) it would have been appropriate to plant an herb and limited vegetable garden near the kitchen for the convenience of the cook. Our garden is mostly for demonstration but this year’s crop of cherry tomatoes is pretty tasty.

After the front-yard garden and the brick pathways were installed at the Bidwell-Wood House (see Florida-friendly plants at the Historical Society) , our members thought it would be educationally useful to build an herb garden near the detached kitchen.

Such a garden would Continue reading

Haven’t you ALWAYS wanted to peek in their drawers?

Here’s what some members of the Historical Society got to do this month: peek in John Ringling’s dresser drawers!

Ron McCarty, Curator of Ca'd'Zan, shows Historical Socierty members John Ringling's haberdashery

Ron McCarty, Curator of Ca’d’Zan, shows Historical Society members John Ringling’s haberdashery. Click to see John Ringling’s ties close up, something you don’t get to see on a public tour. HSoSC’s  private tour sold out almost the same day it was announced to our members. Join HSoSC and get first dibs on tours like these!

We are blessed to have Ron as an avid supporter of the Historical Society of Sarasota County. Join him and hundreds of your fellow citizens and seasonal residents in supporting our mission!

Here’s what we’re all about.

Here’s how to join.

Here’s what’s coming up in the near future!

Like to learn more? Sign up for our free e-newsletter. No nagging, no spam, just a glimpse into how HSoSC helps preserve and present the history of Sarasota County.