The Perfect Holiday Gift

Do you have someone on your holiday gift list who’s hard to buy for? Give them something they don’t have:

A Brick!

Yes, thanks to HSoSC, you can have your message etched on a genuine old Sarasota brick for all to see and admire, while helping us preserve an actual part of our past!

These bricks were originally laid in the dawn

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Our Forever Heroine

Coming up in 2022, there will be this wonderful “Forever stamp” to stock up on. If it weren’t for Dr. Eugenie Clark, what would our oceans and the Gulf of Mexico be like? Known as “The Shark Lady”… she transformed a dream into a multi-faceted research center, Mote Marine. Clark was a pioneer in the field of scuba diving for research purposes.

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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!

What is, and what isn’t, a “white elephant”?

The origin of catch phrases can be bite-size history lessons. I ran across “white elephant” in my reading and wondered how that came to mean something you’d rather not own. Here’s what I learned.

hsosc-white_elephant

Although a white elephant used to be considered a sacred and tremendously valuable animal in Siam (modern-day Thailand), being given one Continue reading

Not your usual HSoSC Annual Meeting.

Our Annual Meeting on Saturday, while not the traditional potluck/ slide show/ awards ceremony, was fresh-air wonderful.

So excited to finally be able to smile at each other!
Some of our newest members, and they’re newlyweds as well! Dorothy and Carroll!

And Pioneer Park was filled with folks playing, picnicking, even another meeting going on, next door at the DAR, under the trees!

Brenda Lee and Sandy decorated our Back Porch with their lively florals!
Directors welcomed members

To learn how 2020-2021 went down at HSoSC (and a little taste of an exciting event coming up this summer!), visit https://hsosc.com/newsletters/

Next time we gather, we’ll see multiples of these members, hopefully in the renewed Crocker Memorial Church!

And hopefully as well, there will be a world-wide shortage of exclamation points so our blogmistress calms down a bit (this un-masked existence has her quite giddy.)

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.

You wouldn’t recognize the place.

An Historical Society Facebook follower, Lynne Armington, sent us this neat photo of Bird Key’s raw development stage with this note:

Dad discovered Bird Key being dredged up out of Sarasota Bay, and decided to build on it in 1960. $48,000 for the lot and concrete construction three bedroom, two bath one-story home. We looked across the Bay to a little shack restaurant called Marina Jack’s. 

Bird Key, 1960, from the Historical Society of Sarasota County

Actually, the family’s view was of Marina Mar, the original name for what became Marina Jack’s. Here’s what Marina Jack’s has to say about their founding:

Back in the day, Marina Jack was actually Marina Mar. Marina Mar was built in 1963 with city-approved plans for an upscale restaurant, shops, snack bar, and 143 boat slips. The establishment soon failed and was taken over by Jack Graham in 1968, who created what is now known as Marina Jack. 

Ain’t history grand? Let us know if you and your family have some unique and undiscovered views of our county’s past, and we’ll share them with others.

Now’s Here’s a Family Story!

Shane McFarland shared on an FB page, his home-grown historical account of his grandfather. This is precious now, and imagine what a resource for future historians it will be, as well. What family tales could YOU document to save for posterity? Thank you, Shane, for sharing this terrific family biography!

“Mac” The Sailor Man – Sarasota Legend

My Grandy, Arthur Glenn “Mac” McFarland (1902 – 1965), moved to Fruitville in 1933 with 2 children and could only find work packing celery at the old Packing House. He also rolled cigars at Hav-A-Tampa Cigars in Ybor City. But after 5 years somehow managed to save enough to open his own business.

Mac started the Sarasota Archery Club by setting up targets behind his first Sporting Goods Store (opened in 1938) at 10th & 301. After-school kids would go there to learn Archery. It’s now “Sarasota Archers” on 17th Street. One of my cousins, who learned from him at a very young age, still only hunts with a bow.

He also owned a Sporting Goods store where today’s Wilson Building is, at State St. & S. Orange. I actually met Mr. Wilson in 2010, and he told me he bought the building because every day after school (Central Elementary, where the post office is now) would come into my Grandy’s store to look around – as he had many guns, knives, and trophy animals throughout the store. He showed me around and said he kept the original tile floors just to remember those days.

My Grandy also helped start the Sarasota Sailing Squadron, in 1949, and taught many youth to sail…including my mother, and my eldest cousin, who now teaches many more youth to sail. He also helped Hap Poneliet, his very good friend & riding buddy, to start the first Honda Motorcycle Club.

He loved to hunt & fish, and Myakka was his home away from home. My Uncle, Harold Abbott, and my Aunt, Joan McFarland, lived in the park – as he was a park ranger and she worked in the fire tower.

Mac on the old quay wall, circa 1949.

My Grandy was killed, in 1965, by a hit & run driver one early morning, while riding his motorcycle to fish in Myakka. His maternal Grandfather, Francis Marion Smith (1861–1953) is buried at Friendship Baptist Church, 5700 Palmer Blvd, Fruitville, Sarasota County. Mac is buried at Manasota Memorial Park.

As far as I’m concerned, he should have a memorial built for him in downtown Sarasota.

— Shane McFarland

 

 

 

What stories could you commit to paper, computer file, electronic sharing? And how wonderful would they be not only to your family, but to future historians? If you don’t know where to get started, search for “saving family history” and you’ll find inspiration to add your bit to the annals of history!

Shane: “The toddler on Mac’s lap is my aunt Joan, circa 1931. The little girl with the birthday cake is my mother on her 4th birthday, June of 1935, in Fruitville. The baby on Mac’s lap is me, 1962.”

 

 

Historical Society Society of Sarasota County Mourns a Great Loss

by Marsha Fottler, President

Current and past Presidents of the Historical Society of Sarasota County, Marsha Fottler and Howard Rosenthal

Marsha Fottler, current President of the Board of Directors, with Howard Rosenthal at the Historical Society of Sarasota County.

Our board was informed that Howard Rosenthal passed away on Wednesday night after a long illness due to heart problems and his need for a kidney transplant. His wife, Priscilla Waldron notified us.

Howard was a past president of this historical society, serving  from 2011 to 2017 and he remained involved after his term by serving on the advisory board and by always being available to me, his successor, when I wanted to discuss some course of action or a proper interpretation of the bylaws.
Howard was a career lawyer and his reasoned approach to issues before our board was a hallmark of his tenure. He never said much at meetings, but listened as everyone else spoke. Then, he would sum up everything, give his opinion about what we should do and call for a vote and move on.
Howard joined HSOSC in 2009 after he and his wife Alice moved to Sarasota. Both he and Alice were Mensa members and loved history. Howard wanted to give tours of the Bidwell-Wood House and the Crocker Memorial Church and when he realized we did not have a formal docent program with a manual and a series of sessions for would-be guides, he promptly wrote the book and then taught the classes. To “graduate” each of us had to give a guided tour for him and the group with Howard making notes on both our stage performance and knowledge of the properties and of Sarasota history. He himself loved giving tours, enjoying the details as well as visually painting the picture of the evolution of the vintage properties. He had the proper experience. For many years Howard was an admired docent at the famed Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia. One year on a summer trip to Pennsylvania, my husband and I went to that museum/library, took the tour and mentioned Howard’s name. They knew him and had glowing things to say about his scholarship and his lively tours.
After Alice died, Howard remained with the organization serving on the board and moving into the presidency in 2011. Howard was an enthusiastic gourmet, loved trying new restaurants and he especially enjoyed our Holiday Party each December. He could always be relied upon for an impromptu restaurant review.
A few years ago, at a Mensa meeting, Howard met Priscilla Waldron and they were married at the Crocker Memorial Church on March 27, 2016. We think it was the first Jewish wedding in the building.  They had a happy few years together, all the sweeter because their love and marriage were such a late life surprise to both of them.
Howard will be buried in New Jersey. He told Priscilla he didn’t want an obituary or a memorial service. He was a valuable board member and exemplary president of HSOSC and we miss him. But, the docent program he started and the good decisions he made have made HSOSC stronger and better.

School days, school days

When I was a schoolgirl, school started the day after Labor Day. So our last beach day, last picnic, last chasing fireflies was bittersweet…. but oh, how excited I was with my new school supplies.

Okay, yeh, I was one of those kids, the ones who liked school, all the way through ’til graduation. I went to what was called a junior-senior high school, so I had 6 years in the same school.

We all have fond memories of what our high school looked like. Here’s Sarasota High.


What? that’s not the SHS you remember? Well, long before you were a twinkle in your daddy’s eye, that was the proud edifice overseen by Mr. Yarbrough.

Thomas Wayland Yarbrough was the standard-bearer for Sarasota schools for nearly four decades. He came to Sarasota in 1907 to lead the public schools and, with the exception of three years in Mulberry, remained until his retirement in 1945. Read about Mr. Yarbrough.

Sarasota High School, built in the 1920's,as seen on HSoSC.com

 

Our headline got you humming? Here’s the 1907 sheet music and song.

Have you seen our blog post honoring Mary McLeod Bethune?

Thanks for all this info are due to to Rex Carr, Larry Kelleher, and whoever took that beautiful, crisp and clear photo of SHS.

The Greatest Show on Earth

A guest post from Sarasota’s beloved artist and historian, now relocated but still in our hearts, Deborah Dart:

It is still difficult for me to grasp the ending of The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. I lived most of my life in the city that was distinctly shaped by and benefited tremendously from their presence since 1927.

The Greatest Show on Earth ended Sunday May 21, 2017.

John Ringling knew what he was doing when the Florida building bust devastated the city in the 1920’s. Moving his circus winter headquarters to Sarasota brought visitors and business to the city while much of the state continued to struggle through heavily depressed times. With the winter quarters established in Sarasota it wasn’t long before every travel guide linked the city to the circus.

The Greatest Show on Earth... in Sarasota!

In the 1950’s entertainment attractions began popping up throughout Florida drawing visitors away from Sarasota and Ringling’s winter quarters circus performances. A grand metal entrance sign was erected to provide more visibility for attracting tourists to the quarters on what is today’s Beneva Road just north of Fruitville Road.

The circus became a favorite subject for me to paint and has given me some outstanding commissions from Feld Entertainment and The World Circus Federation. There are dozens of other circuses performing world wide but none will ever seem quite as great to me as the Greatest Show on Earth.

Deb Dart's artwork, Ringling

Love this art? Click to go to Deborah’s web shop.

You can visit my website to view more of my circus pieces and landscapes of Sarasota – www.dagdart.com

Stay safe and well!
Deborah Dart