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

The Historical Society will help you through this historic time.

HSoSC will help Sarasota County through theCOV-19 crisis

Okay, the Historical Society is gonna step up and take an historical stance on this historic event, the COV-19 crisis.

As you know, people have been through lots worse, under scarier conditions throughout history, and even within the lifetimes of most of us.

We will get through this. And with that in mind, HSoSC will be posting things on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/historicalsociety.sarasota/  that will help you through, will enlighten you, occupy you, amuse you and make you wonder.

Bookmark, like, share, comment, tell your friends that if they want some neighborly ideas, follow us… until COV-19 itself becomes history!

Historical LeBarge Cruise – Sunday March 8, 2020

Coming on Sunday March 8, 2020 the Historical LeBarge Cruise 11a – 1p.

This is a wonderful way to learn our local history from the water view. Narrated by local historian extraordinaire John McCarthy. Includes a sweet and savory buffet and coffee. Tickets are $50 or $75 for VIP which also includes early boarding, a complimentary drink coupon and a thank you gift. Reservations a Must – call the office at 941-364-9076 to get on board!

Choo choo said the train, binding Florida into one….

Does this sound * get your travel juices flowing?

Railroads in Florida, presented by David Duncan at the Historical Society of Sarasota County

Click (State Archives of Florida/Hutchins) to see full size.

Circus Train, Sarasota

Click (State Archives of Florida) to see full-size version.

If so, you must come to our Sunday Afternoon Social!

David Duncan discusses the history of the railroads in our next Sunday Afternoon Social, on Sunday February 16 at 2 pm in the Crocker Memorial Church. Ticking overalls optional.

Our Sunday Afternnon Socials are casual, cafe-style events. Light refreshments served. Interaction welcome. Members $5, not-yet members $10. Join at the door for a year’s membership (click to get the form to fill out ahead of time) for the member rate.

And let us leave you on this note.*

 

* Wav files from flrr.com

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.

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 McCarthy & Brenda Lee Hickman on their 25th Cruise

captain-don-brenda-lee-hickman-john-mccarthyOn Sunday November 20 the HSOSC hosted their 29th Historical Cruise on LeBarge with narrator John McCarthy and organizer Brenda Lee Hickman both on their 25th cruise in photo above with Captain Don.  The LeBarge offers HSOSC the town’s favorite floating history lesson and a great way to enjoy cruising on Sarasota Bay. The next cruise sets sail on Sunday March 5, 2017 – call the office for reservations. All proceeds help maintain historic properties at Pioneer Park and promote history education and programming.