Bertha’s Been Busy Baking Brownies

Kate Holmes as Bertha PalmerOne of our most popular “spokespersons” from the Speakers’ Bureau at HSoSC is Bertha Palmer, here shown as presented by Kate Holmes. Having done over 300 appearances as “The Queen of Chicago/ Sarasota’s Legendary Lady”, Kate tells us that the two most-asked questions she gets are “Where did you get that great dress?” (Answer: On the Internet of course!) and “Can I have the recipe for Bertha’s most famous invention, the Palmer House Brownie?”

So here’s the brownie recipe. Kate says the secret’s the apricot glaze, so don’t skip that step.

BTW, you CAN get Bertha’s Brownies at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago… or, if you’re very lucky, your local group/ club/ HOA will invite Bertha to appear before your group and one of your members could be talked into baking these! (Save one for “Bertha” to take home for her hubby…)

113 years of hard sitting is coming to an end….

When the Crocker Memorial Church was just 12 years old, in 1913, 63 of Sarasota’s women came together and formed The Woman’s Club of Sarasota. Their service to our community can be summed up by this quote on their brochure:

The good works of life consist of many small units.

We are delighted to announce that The Woman’s Club has taken on a “small unit” for the Crocker Church: they are Continue reading

Family comes to aid of historic structure.

Historic Crocker Church in Pioneer Park, Sarasota FL

The Kwenski Krewe: (left to right) Kendell Kwenski, Kay Kwenski, Norma Kwenski, Brent Kwenski and Montana Kwenski. The family provided the funding for handrails at the historic Crocker Memorial Church (1901) which is curated by the Historical Society of Sarasota County. The gift was made in memory of Brad Kwenski, Norma’s husband and the the dad and grandfather of the Kwenski family.

The family of Norma Kwenski, a member of the Sarasota Historical Society of Sarasota County, responded to a need at the Crocker Memorial Church (1901) by donating the funds to provide hand rails to the porch of the de-sanctified church building in Sarasota’s Pioneer Park.

These new handrails provide additional safety for people come to the Crocker for monthly member programs, for weddings, and for community social and civic meetings and public events that are held at the Crocker year round on a continuing basis.

“I mentioned to my children about the need for handrails on the porch and they suggested we make a family gift of the funding in memory of my husband Brad who loved history and loved this community,” said Norma Kwenski. “It gives us all such great pleasure now every time we’re at the Crocker and we see people using the handrails. It’s made a real difference and my husband would be thrilled to know he is being remembered for a role in historic preservation and in keeping these historic places alive and in use.”

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.

The passing of a beloved supporter and local historian

George "Pete" Esthus at Day in the Park

Pete in his Sarasota railroad man outfit at a HSOSC event.

It is with sadness and regret that we tell you of the passing of Pete Esthus, a wonderful man and great supporter of the Historical Society. Our hearts are full, and we offer condolences to his wife Diane and their family.

The Herald-Tribune article.

If you would like, as the family suggests, to make a donation to the Historical Society of Sarasota County in Pete’s memory, please send a check to our mailing address, PO Box 1632, Sarasota, FL 34230.
Or use your credit card by calling our office at 941-364-9076 Monday- Friday, 10am to 2pm.

Red Hat Ladies Caught Red-Handed at HSOSC

Red Hat Ladies Caught Red-Handed at HSOSC

HSOSC Member Lois Greer brought her Red Hat group to the Historical Society for an outing recently. Docent (and HSOSC Prez) Howard Rosenthal was on hand to greet them as they drove up 12th Street in a bevy of pre-WW1 automobiles driven by Lois’ husband Ed and his fellow old-car enthusiasts.

The ladies were a remarkable group –  11 women, all dressed in purple dresses with red hats (except for the one renegade who opted for a red dress and purple hat!)

Lois and Ed Greer are exceptional volunteers for HSOSC. They donated uncountable hours working on the restoration and painting of the two historic buildings in Pioneer Park since HSOSC moved the buildings to Pioneer Park in 2006. We always count on Lois for assistance as needed, and just try to keep Ed from posing one of his beloved cars for vintage photo ops during our events!

After touring the Bidwell-Wood House the ladies and their chauffeurs followed the music coming from the Crocker Memorial Church, our second historic building. The Sarasota Earlye Musicke Consort happened to be practicing that morning, and director Charlotte Trautwein graciously explained the early music and early recorder instruments to our guests. The group played a selection for the ladies, who then headed out for a luncheon.

If your club or social group is interested in such an outing, please contact our Site Manager Linda Garcia at 941-364-9076 or for available dates and reasonable rates. Our Back Porch is perfect for your picnic or refreshments during season, but you’ll have to find your own vintage cars! We also have speakers available for club meetings.

Donation of Dining Room Table!!

Nancy Dunn donates Tiger Oak TableNancy Dunn has made a fabulous donation of a Tiger Oak Pedestal Table with Lion Head and Paw legs for the Bidwell-Wood House dining room. Her company is Estates Sales by Nancy Dunn, LLC and she also generously donated five matching chairs for the dining room and two beautiful red cushioned Victorian chairs for the upstairs hallway.

Sue Blue is a Historical Society VIP

“Sarasota” Sue as Sue Blue is widely known, resides in her childhood home built by her grandfather in 1925. She narrates the Historic Downtown Sarasota Trolley tours and writes Sarasota memoirs for on-line magazines. Sue also wrote a one-act play based on the 1885 Bidwell trial, entitled “Mr. Bidwell.” Here, a message from Sue:

Sue Blue, portraying Rose Wilson, owner and editor of the early 20th-century Sarasota newspaperA hearty welcome to the tourists, the visitors, the weary travelers from a native Sarasotan. We year-round occupiers of paradise really feel sorry for you. There you go, running out to the beach to soak up some sun, tearing down Tamiami to oogle the Ringling digs, hopping that bridge to St. Armands for some heavy duty shopping. You haven’t even Continue reading

A Sarasota Treasure: History Author Jeff LaHurd

Jeff LaHurd's Sarasota: A HistoryJeff LaHurd is one of our best-loved Sarasota authors and a great friend to HSoSC and indeed, all of the historically-focused groups in our area. He’s written many books, each of which is well worth having on your historical Sarasota bookshelf. Browse through one of his best, Sarasota: A History, on Google Books.

While you’re there, leave a review. I’m sure Jeff would appreciate it!