Happy New Year 2018!!

Bidwell-Wood House New Roof

Fall 2017 New Roof

2017 New Roof on Bidwell-Wood House

Bidwell-Wood House has a new Roof!


The Bidwell-Wood House (1882) has a new roof!!! Thanks to a grant from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation and generous donations from the annual appeal we were able to have Sutter Roofing Company do the work. It had been delayed with hurricane Irma this summer and work did not begin until late October and was finished by the end of the year. Please come visit and see how great it looks!


“John & Mable Ringling” in the Holiday Parade

Two of our board members, Ron McCarty and Kathryn Chesley, portrayed the famous couple “John & Mable Ringling” in the 2017 22nd Annual Sarasota Holiday Parade : “The Greatest Parade on Earth” Circus Tribute on Saturday December 2, 2017. The parade was honoring the 65th anniversary of the release of the film “The Greatest Show on Earth” that was filmed here in 1951. We hope your were able to attend and enjoy the spectacular costumes and clowns!

October is Here – Conversations at The Crocker are Back!!

Sarasota’s Waters – Changes in Our Lifetimes

Join the conversation when three experts on water and how Floridians have used waterways in the past have a lively Conversation at The Crocker.

Presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota County, the first of this season’s Conversations at the Crocker takes place on Tuesday, October 10 starting at 7 p.m. at the historic Crocker Memorial Church at 1260 12th Street (Pioneer Park). The topic is Sarasota Waters – Changes in our Lifetimes and leading the Conversation is John Ryan, a water expert and founding member of Sarasota Bay Watch. 

This lively interactive community conversation (with PowerPoint presentation) is free to Historical Society members and $10 for guests at the door. Joining Ryan on the stage of the Crocker for in this timely conversation about Sarasota’s waterways and how they’ve changed are Rodney Potter and Rob Wright. 

Organized six years ago, the Conversations at The Crocker series highlights specific aspects of Sarasota’s past and examines pivotal events and people who have influenced today’s Sarasota.  

John Ryan is an Environmental Manager with Sarasota County Stormwater where he handles water quality monitoring and pollution regulatory matters. He is a 30-year resident of Sarasota who has had a long career with the County after a short stint with Mote Marine Lab. Ryan helped start the oral history project with New College of Florida that can be seen on the Sarasota Water Atlas website. He was a founding member of Sarasota Bay Watch. 

Rob Wright, who grew up in Nokomis, is currently the Conservation Chair for Sarasota Audubon Society (SAS) and a leading voice on environmental issues. Previously he was the Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team (NEST) Coordinator for Sarasota County from 2003 – 2016. Wright has been involved in the administration and implementation of environmental management programs in the public and private sector for more than 34 years. 

A lifelong resident of Manatee County, Rodney Potter has worked in the timber industry and in agriculture. He has constructed greenhouses for nurseries and he owned and operated a lettuce farm in the 1950s. He has been a member of the Manatee County Historical Commission for more than 20 years and is an active in hunter and fisherman. As an outdoorsman, his connection with the area’s waterways, is thus both personal and professional and his insights and memories promise to be impressive.

All Conversations take place at The Crocker Memorial Church and proceeds help to maintain the Historical Society’s two heritage properties at Pioneer Park – the Bidwell-Wood House (1882) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). Docent-led tours of both buildings are available an hour before each of the Conversations at The Crocker events. The Historical Society is a membership organization ($35 annually) led by a volunteer board of directors. Co-chairs of Conversations at The Crocker are Lynn Harding and Marsha Fottler. For more information contact Linda Garcia, Site Manager, 941-364-9076.


Trolley Dates are Confirmed!

The 2017-2018 Trolley Tours have been scheduled and confirmed. We are ready to start taking reservations for our  popular Saturday Morning two hour narrated tour from 10am – Noon. Sue Blue is our wonderful local historian who will teach you many interesting historical facts on your ride through the downtown historic sites.  Mark your calendar and call the office to make your reservations at 941-364-9076.  We have 15 dates to choose from starting in September through April:  September 30 / October 14 / October 28 / November 4 / November 18 / December 2 / December 16 / January 13 / January 27 / February 10 / February 24 / March 10 / March 24 / April 14 / April 28.  The price is $30 per person and these fill up fast.

Sue Blue, narator, Historic Downtown Sarasota Trollet Tours from the Historical Society

Reid Gerletti is elected to the Board of Directors

Reid Gerletti, a sales associate with Sotheby’s International Realty, has been elected to the 12-member board of directors at the Historical Society of Sarasota County. At the May annual meeting held in the 1901 Crocker Memorial Church at Pioneer Park, he was elected along with Marsha Fottler, president, succeeding Howard Rosenthal who led the organization for six years.
As a fourth generation native, Gerletti has spent his life enjoying all the benefits that city life in Sarasota has to offer. He lives in and is restoring a home that was this grandfather’s.  Gerletti is a graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design and has long had an interest in the Sarasota’s buildings, traditions and the cultural life of the city. As a board member of the Historical Society, he takes on the job of advancing the mission of the membership organization to teach and celebrate the rich history of Sarasota County and the State of Florida through teaching, research, community programming and special events.
The Historical Society also curates and maintains two historic buildings, the Bidwell-Wood House (1882) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). Docent led-tours are available. Additionally, the Historical Society curates, maintains and preserves the city-owned Rosemary Cemetery, Sarasota’s first burial ground platted in 1886.
Serving on the Historical Board with Gerletti in addition to Fottler are: Deborah Bowers, Kathryn Chesley, Greg Dickinson, Meade Ferguson, Lynn Harding, Bill Kleber, Jeff LaHurd, JoRita Stevens and William Watrous. .

Annual Meeting & Elections

Previous Distinguished Awards Recipients Harriet Stieff and Viola Goldberg were happy to attend the 2017 Annual Meeting and congratulate the 2017 Hero of History – John McCarthy and the 2017 Distinguished Service Awardees Kate Holmes and Brenda Lee Hickman.  The new incoming President Marsha Fottler says thanks to outgoing president Howard Rosenthal and welcomes the new board member Reid Gerletti.