Researching the history of a home

Researching the History of a Home

Researching your historic homeOld houses are a treasure (as are old commercial buildings, industrial buildings, churches and meeting halls and anywhere folks have gathered for decades or even centuries…)

Have you ever wanted to research the history of a home you are living in now, the childhood home “up North”, or even an historic home you’ve come across in your wanderings through our county or state? Have we got a list for you!

A friendly librarian, Carol Briggs, has been enjoying our Historical Society blog and Facebook posts and sent this resource to us as a little thank-you gift.

Although the guide is on a commercial site, it looks very comprehensive. We’ve run across some of the links here, but many are new to us, and possibly to you! Thank you Carol for the thank-you!

A Guide to Researching the History of a House.

Pineapples in Sarasota: A History

Downtown Sarasota’s New Year’s tradition is to drop a giant pineapple at the stroke of midnight. Huh? Pineapples? Sarasota doesn’t have pineapples, does it?

Jan Thornburg's photo of the pineapple Sarasota drops for New Year's Eve

Well we did.

Yes, pineapples were once grown as a cash crop in Sarasota. William Whitaker, who homesteaded here in 1843, teamed up in the 1870’s or 1880’s with Charles Abbe, the postmaster of Sara Sota, as we see in this newspaper clipping:

Prof. C.E.Abbe and Wm. Whitaker growing pineapples in Sarasota

Bet you thought pineapples were native to Hawaii. Easy mistake to make. Here’s what Diana Harris, Englewood historian, wrote about that:

open quoteHawaii is so closely associated with pineapples that one might presume pineapples were indigenous to Hawaii, that they traveled from there to the West Indies and Florida.

Actually, the opposite is true. Surprisingly enough, it is recorded that pups, slips and suckers from pineapple plants were shipped from Florida to Hawaii in 1885, thus starting pineapple growing in Hawaii. In 1901, Jim Dole started what is now a world-famous operation, Dole Pineapple.” Read the whole article including why pineapples are no longer grown locally except in our gardens as a novelty.

Here’s the Historical Society’s nod to pineapple growing:

Pineapples in Sarasota, at the Historical Society of Sarasota County, 12th St & Tamiami Trail, in Pioneer Park

And of course there’s Pineapple Avenue. But then again, there’s Orange and Lemon and Cocoanut and even Osprey Avenue, and you don’t see a giant bird being dropped on New Year’s Eve, do you?

Turns out, the pineapple drop has nothing to do with our county history, and everything to do with developers….

open quoteSince 2000, downtown Sarasota has welcomed in the New Year with a free special event … known for dropping a bright, decorative pineapple at midnight—much like how New York City drops an apple.

There’s just one mystery—why is a pineapple used?

About 10 years ago, a development was planned for downtown called Pineapple Square. Part of the development was retail stores along Lemon Avenue and Main Street. This includes the current stores there such as Blue MercuryEileen Fischer, and Sur La Table.

“As part of the marketing for the development, attractive pineapple-shaped light fixtures were installed along the exterior of the stores,” says Jan Thornburg, senior communications manager for the City of Sarasota.

Also part of the plan was the use of a large, lighted pineapple right beside the Pineapple Square development to welcome the new year. and even though some parts of the plan never fully blossomed, the use of the lighted pineapple stuck around, becoming the new beacon for our massive New Year’s Eve block party.”

And yup, developers were and are a much more lucrative cash crop in Sarasota County.

Pineapples are a part of Sarasota county heritage
And now that we’ve whetted your appetite, how about a light modern Pineapple Upside Down Cake?

Fresh Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Highly recommended by the Historical Society of Sarasota County.

Sources Visit Sarasota , Jan Thornburg, The Englewood Sun and here’s the recipe.

US FLAG – Half Mast

Half mast flag on a fixed pole at the Historical Society of Sarasota CountyYour Historical Society will be putting our flag at the proper half-mast whenever we have a proclamation to do so. We have purchased the black ribbon to put on our flag to be doing it correctly.

FAQs on flying the US flag at half-mast

How to fly your flag at Half Staff depends on what sort of flag pole you are using

When raising the flag to half staff on a vertical pole, always raise it briskly to the top of the flagpole for a moment before lowering it. When taking it down for the night, raise it to the top of the flagpole again & lower it to the bottom.

With a telescoping flag pole it is acceptable to put the USA flag on the second set of rings instead of the top set. In this case the top set would be left empty.

When the United States flag is flown at half-staff, State & other flags should be removed or flown at half-staff too.

For flags that can’t be lowered, such as those on many homes including our historic Bidwell-Wood House, the American Legion says that attaching a black ribbon or streamer to the top of the flag is an acceptable alternative. The ribbon should be the same width as a stripe on the flag and the same length as the flag.

Photo from here.