Sarasota’s Mennonites: A Conversation at the Crocker

Who are the Mennonites and how did they get to Sarasota?

Our presenter on Tuesday evening, January 14 2020 (Please Note: the incorrect date went out to some of our subscribers. The correct date for this presentation is Tuesday January 14. Our apologies.) at 7pm is J.B. Miller. He is a lifelong Mennonite who lives in Sarasota and teaches about Mennonites and Amish.

Mennonites in Sarasota“Many people have limited knowledge of Mennonites and Amish,” said Miller. “Often their only contact is them pedaling around on three-wheelers or visiting one of the restaurants located in Pinecraft, an enclave home to primarily Amish and conservative Mennonites.”

This Conversation at the Crocker is all about the Mennonites – who they are, why they came to Sarasota, why they dress the way they do, and what their influence has been on the shaping of our community. We are lucky to have a speaker who can answer all your questions.

Doors open at 6pm – program begins at 7pm. Free to HSoSC Members – $10 for future members.

CONVERSATIONS AT THE CROCKER:  Our most popular gatherings. A series of interactive discussions on events that shaped Sarasota County’s past and continue to exert influence on its present and probably the future. These monthly events run from October through April. Explore our past Conversations.

These events start at 7pm in the Crocker Memorial Church. They are FREE to Historical Society members and $10 at the door for not-yet members. Bring your friends and participate in lively and informative discussions.  Bidwell-Wood House is open beginning at 6pm for touring before the meetings.

Secrets of an American Palace: April’s Conversation at the Crocker

Ron McCarty, Keeper and Curator of Ca’ d’Zan, Leads a Conversation and Shows Rare Photos of the Famous Mansion he calls “Mable’s House.”

No one is more aware of the importance of a great house museum to a specific community and to the wider world than Ron McCarty, the Keeper and Curator of Ca’ d’Zan, the fabulous American palace John and Mable Ringling built on Sarasota’s bayfront in the late 1920s. McCarty has been employed by the Ringling Museum longer than anyone in the history of the museum and will share Continue reading

Surprising Facts and Stories about Florida

Surprising Facts and Stories about Florida are Revealed

Esteemed archaeologist, Marion Almy and acclaimed historian,  Janet Snyder Matthews, longtime friends of the Historical Society and experts on Florida, come together on the stage of the Crocker Memorial Church for an informal conversation and photographic presentation. They will chat about the things that fascinate them about Florida. Come and be fascinated too!

 

These two experts will share facts and stories and rare Continue reading

The Great Developers, 1920s and Today

The Great Developers, 1920s and Today is the topic for the upcoming Conversation at The Crocker

Real Estate expert Harold Bubil will converse with three developers who have had a major impact on shaping modern Sarasota. What is the process of development? Their limits? How do they survive boom and bust?

In many ways the history of Sarasota, and indeed all of Florida, is the history of real estate. And playing a major role in that long saga of boom, bust, progress and preservation are the great developers of the past, recent past and present.

Are developers visionaries who shape the land for progress, or villains who rape the land for profit? “Nothing so absolute or dramatic,” says Harold Bubil, Real Estate Editor at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. He will lead a conversation about the influence of great developers who have come to Florida to realize personal ambitions and specific visions of towns and communities rising from the sand.

This conversation takes place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street in Sarasota’s Pioneer Park. The event is free to Historical Society members and students and $10 for guests who may pay at the door.

Joining the conversation Continue reading

Historical vegetables, storm water management, and birds. Lots and lots of birds.

What is the area known as the Celery Fields and why was it historically important? And why is it so significant to Sarasota’s health and economy today?

Two naturalists from the Sarasota Audubon Society, Jeanne Dubi and Barry Gerber, will entertain and enlighten us with an illustrated presentation, “Celery Fields, Past, Present and Future” at the January Conversation at The Crocker, Tuesday, January 12, 2016, starting at 7 p.m.

Mother and chick at the Celery Fields. I don't know what bird this is. Guess I'll be going to the January Conversation at the Crocker on Tuesday Jan. 12, 2016 at 7pm!

Mother and chick at the Celery Fields. I don’t know what bird this is. Guess I’ll be going to the January Conversation at the Crocker on Tuesday Jan. 12, 2016 at 7pm!

Jeanne Dubi is Continue reading

Have a seat… thanks to philanthropy

HSoSC gets chairs for more seating at our Conversations at the Crocker in Sarasota!

They may not look like much to you, but they’re a dream come true for the Historical Society!

A grant from the Frances T. Bourne Fund at The Community Foundation of Sarasota County has provided for the purchase of chairs to expand our seating capacity in the Crocker Memorial Church (1901) and in the Bidwell-Wood House (1882). More seating for members meetings, for weddings, seminars, music and theatrical rehearsals, for local club meetings and for community-wide events, such as Conversations at The Crocker.

“We have never been able to accommodate as many people as come to our programs. ” said Site Manager Linda Garcia. “We use, of course, the original wooden pews made by early Sarasota settler Peter Crocker and the stackable chairs we already own, but we have had standing-room-only occasions and that led to our submitting a proposal to the Community Foundation. We are so grateful that they acknowledged our need and approved the funds for additional chairs. Our members and the whole community will benefit.”

The Historical Society of Sarasota County Vic-=President Marsha Fottlerworks hard, even in pink shorts!

Our Vice-President, Marsha Fottler, came dressed to work,  the day the chairs arrived via semi!

Besides serving the needs of the Historical Society, the Crocker Memorial Church building is available for rental and is equipped with a sound system, projector, black-out shades and now seating for 150. The historic structure is a popular destination for weddings and other celebratory events. The Historical Society considers the Crocker a model of adaptive use. Since 1901 it has been in constant use, first as a house of worship and now as a place that HSOSC and the Sarasota community use for a variety of programs and events. The Crocker has been preserved by being useful over a long span of time.

Funding for these chairs provided by the Frances T. Bourne Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

 

Historic Treasures Lost and Preserved by Jeff LaHurd: Conversation at the Crocker

One of the threads that ties old Sarasota County to the new is the continuing struggle concerning which historical buildings and properties should be preserved and which ones demolished as a necessary sacrifice to progress, modernization and growth. Award-winning author and historian Jeff LaHurd considers both sides of the issue when he Continue reading

Miakka? Myakka? Learn which when and why at Conversation at the Crocker.

Conversations at The Crocker Opens 4th Season With the Story of the Myakka River

150928 lake myakka blog
The Miakka, the Myakka. It’s more than a river as Historical Society members and guests will discover during the season opener of Conversations at The Crocker on Tuesday, October 13 starting at 7 p.m. at the Crocker Memorial Church.
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Retired New College director of environmental sciences Jono Miller will lead a conversation on the topic “Myakka, More Than a River,” as he engages in conversation experts John McCarthy, Paula Benshoff and Chris Oliver. In addition, the 14-minute film “Moods of the Miakka” will be shown and discussed.
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Conversations are free to all HSOSC members and students. Guests, $10, payable at the door. There will be a members-only reception prior to the Conversation on the back porch of the Bidwell-Wood House starting at 5:30 p.m.  For more information, contact Linda Garcia, Site Manager, (941) 364-9076.
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This season’s Conversations. Save the dates!

Tuesday, October 13Myakka, More Than A River. Jono Miller, John McCarthy, Chris Oliver and Paula Benshoff. Also the 14-minute film “Moods of Miakka.”
Tuesday, November 10Sarasota Treasures Lost & Preserved. Jeff LaHurd.
Tuesday, January 12A Fantastic Flock, the history of birds and birding on the Gulf Coast. Presentation by Jean Dubi of Audubon Society.
Tuesday, February 9The Great Developers Past & Present. Harold Bubil.
Tuesday, March 8Fascinating Florida. Janet Snyder Mathews and Marion Almay.
Tuesday, April 12Historical Perspectives Through Local MuseumsCurators from small specialty museums talk about the challenges and joys of preserving the history, culture and artifacts of past times.

Our complete Calendar of Events.

Photo Credit: B. Paul Patterson on http://www.sarasota.wateratlas.usf.edu/

How and Why Sarasota Became a Place for Jazz

Jazz history expert and two musicians tell the tale in words and jazz tunes

In our March 10 Conversation at the Crocker, you’ll hear, in words and music, the reasons why there are upwards of 200 active professional jazz musicians living in the Manatee-Sarasota area.

Did you know this area supports more than a dozen places in Bradenton, Sarasota and Venice offering jazz music any night of the week?

 

 

Join the Jazz Club’s Gordon Garrett when he leads a Conversation at The Crocker, on Tuesday, March 10, starting at 7 p.m. at the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street (Pioneer Park), Sarasota. He will be joined on stage by Continue reading

Good news and fun photos in the latest issue of the newsletter!

Marsha Fottler, VP, Historical Society of Sarasota County

Marsha Fottler is one of the most active and involved members of HSoSC, and serves as vice president.

As an Historical Society, we still produce a real, hard-copy newsletter for our members and to hand out to folks interested in learning about us, joining us in membership, attending some of our many events and exploring whether we are worth financial support small or large.

Amongst myriad other tasks, our Vice President, Marsha Fottler, writes, edits, produces, and even drives to the printer, our newsletter. Be sure to thank her, next time you see her!

Here’s our Newsletter Page where you can view, download, even print out the electronic version of our current newsletter, and explore past issues as well

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What the built future of Sarasota could look like.

An imaginary future city.Are There More Modern Buildings in Our Future?

Four young turks of architecture think so. Come and hear what they have to say and what the built future of Sarasota could look like.

No matter how you feel about modern architecture, you’ll want to be in the audience on the evening of Tuesday, February 10, at 7 p.m. when Sarasota Herald-Tribune real estate editor and architecture lecturer Harold Bubil leads a conversation with four ambitious and highly talented young architects who discuss how future of Sarasota will look if they have any influence. And they do, since they’re all working on important projects in town. Joining Bubil on stage at the Crocker Memorial Church are: Tatiana White, Chris Leader, Leonardo Lunardi and Damien Blumetti. A power point presentation narrated by Harold Bubil will place the modern movement in context with Sarasota’s past styles of residential, commercial and municipal architecture.

If you’re a newcomer to town, seasonal visitor or tax paying full-time resident, you’re bound to learn a lot about buildings and homes you see everyday around town. But, you’ll also see what could be down the road for Sarasota in terms of the homes we live in and the buildings we shop in, bank in and places where we receive medical care. Are we clinging to Mediterranean revival and cottage styles or committing to leading-edge modern design based on principles of the Sarasota School of Architecture that reigned in post-war years through the 1960s? Find out and then express your own views.

Now in its third year and presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota County (HSOSC), Conversations at The Crocker is a series of interactive monthly discussions that highlight aspects of Sarasota’s history and looks at past events and people who have influenced today’s Sarasota. All Conversations take place at the historic Crocker Memorial Church in Pioneer Park, 1260 12th Street, Sarasota. Community welcome. 7 p.m. Free to HSOSC members and students; $10, guests.

The futuristic rendering appears here.

Conversation at the Crocker: Ringling’s Private Rail Car

PullDavid Duncan working on the Wisconsin, John Ringling's private Pullman car. Hear Mr. Duncan speak at Conversation at the Crocker, January 13. For more info see http://HSoSC.comman car historian and restorer of John Ringling’s private railroad car, the Wisconsin car in Sarasota talks about rail travel of the Gilded Age and how John and Mable Ringling traveled in luxury aboard a fabulous custom car.

“It is rare for a
private railroad car
to be restored with
such care, attention to detail and respect to the historic fabric”

Ride the rails into the past with Pullman Railroad car expert and the restorer of the famed Wisconsin custom railroad car with David W. Duncan when he leads a Conversation at The Crocker, on Tuesday, January 13, starting at 7 p.m. at the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street (Pioneer Park), Sarasota.

David W. Duncan is a Pullman Railroad car historian and he has been the consultant on the Wisconsin for The Ringling Museum. His hands-on work and expertise have been instrumental in the restoration process of this historic railroad car. Duncan will be joined on stage by Ron McCarty, Curator of Ca’d’Zan at The Ringling Museum.

A Pullman Car was a standard of luxury in the early part of the 20th century and John Ringling wanted one. Having established a relationship with the Pullman firm by buying second-hand cars for use by the circus, Ringling commissioned Pullman to build a private car for his personal use in 1904. The name Wisconsin was chosen to honor the state that was home to the Ringling brothers and their circus.

On March 16, 1905, Ringling took delivery of the Wisconsin from Pullman’s Calumet Shop. He used the car as a place to stylishly entertain and impress friends, family, business associates and politicians. And the car enabled him to conduct circus business as he traveled across the country. Ringling’s first trip aboard the car was to Baraboo, Wisconsin, the family’s hometown. Later that year, John Ringling and Mable Burton were married in Hoboken, New Jersey.

“It is rare for a private railroad car to be restored with such care, attention to detail and respect to the historic fabric,” says Ron McCarty about Duncan’s work on the Wisconsin. “Now at the museum, visitors to Sarasota can glimpse a means of transportation that only a few ever experienced. This restored jewel of the Gilded Age tells the story of a bygone era and the community can learn all about it at the Conversation at The Crocker on the evening of January 13.” All aboard !

Organized and presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota County and sponsored by SARASOTA Magazine, this public conversation (accompanied by rare photos) is free to Historical Society members and students. Guests, $10. Proceeds help maintain the two historic properties at Pioneer Park, The Bidwell-Wood House (1882, Sarasota’s oldest private residence) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901).

25th Historical LeBarge Cruise

The Historical Society celebrated its 25th Historical LeBarge Cruise early in November, and were delighted to offer commentary courtesy of famed local historian John McCarthy.

If you couldn’t make the November tour with us, make plans now to join us in March! Email Linda Garcia, our Site Manager, at hsosc1@gmail.com for your reservations now.

Historical Bay Cruise by the Historical Society of Sarasota County

Our newest board member Virginia Hoffman (second from left) enjoyed her birthday celebration on the cruise with other board members (l. to r.) BrendaLee Hickman , Bill Kleber, and Meade Ferguson.

Funds raised help the private non-profit Society preserve and protect two of the oldest historic buildings in Sarasota County. Visit the Bidwell-Wood House (1882) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901) Monday-Friday 10am to 2pm, or during any of our special events on our Calendar of Events.  Pioneer Park is located just east of 41 at 12th Street.

Black Bottom, Overtown, Newtown, Rosemary District: What, where, when.

History of Newtown is the subject of a Conversation at the Crocker event. 

James  Brown of Sarasota FL will lead the Conversation at the Crocker on October 14 2014.

James Brown, educator, historian and a man born and raised in Newtown, leads a discussion on the History of Newtown, on Tuesday, October 14 starting at 7 p.m. at the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street, Sarasota. Historical Society members and students free. Guests $10. 364-9076 for more information.

Educators, business leaders, and the Mayor of Sarasota will gather on the stage of the Crocker Memorial Church on Tuesday, October 14, to talk among themselves and with the audience about the History of Newtown, Sarasota’s African-American community.  The conversationists will also talk about the two communities that preceded Newtown, called Black Bottom and Overtown. Those neighborhoods were in the area now called the Rosemary District.

An inter-active discussion hosted by the Historical Society and open to the public. Come and ask questions and be heard. It’s part of our history!

This lively and informative discussion (with visuals to set everything into context) is open to the public and begins at 7 p.m. Historical Society members and students are admitted free. Guests, $10.

Participating in this Conversation will be: educator James Brown (Conversation leader), Mayor Willie Shaw, educator Dorothye Smith and Newtown businessmen Henry Battie and Jetson Grimes.

The Crocker Memorial Church is the headquarters for the Historical Society and is located in Pioneer Park at 1260 12th Street.

Organized by the Historical Society of Sarasota County and sponsored by SARASOTA Magazine, Conversations at The Crocker events highlight specific aspects of Sarasota’s past and examines pivotal events and people who have influenced today’s Sarasota.

Conversations take place at The Crocker Memorial Church and proceeds help to maintain the Bidwell-Wood House (1882, Sarasota’s oldest private residence) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). Docent-led tours of the two buildings are available before each Conversation event. For more information, call the Historical Society’s office, Mon-Fri, 10a to 2p, at 941-364-9076

What makes a community, a community? Lessons from 100+ years

Ever since 1882 (the year Alfred Bidwell built his home in Sarasota, now known as the Bidwell-Wood House, the oldest remaining residence in Sarasota County) and 1901, when Peter Crocker built the Crocker Church for his Bee Ridge community, our two preserved buildings have been places to gather, to meet and help neighbors, and to celebrate the many aspects of life.Read the history of our two buildings in our Museum Booklet.

When the Historical Society moved the house and the church to its campus in Pioneer Park, this tradition of community events gained speed and depth.

Recently, hundreds of people have joined the Society for its Conversations at the Crocker, a monthly get-together from October to April featuring panel/ audience dialogs on everything from historic neighborhoods to government to baseball. The parlor, dining room and Back Porch of the house have been venues for classes on topics ranging from mosaics to watercolor, pine needle basket weaving to… iPhones (hey, just ’cause we’re historical doesn’t mean we’re not up-to-date!)!

We’ve had the honor of providing community space for events ranging from the Cinderella Project (high-schoolers from the community can choose, from an elegant “pop-up boutique”, their prom attire) to the history-educational History Fair. We’ve also been the chosen venue for teas, weddings, book clubs, art classes, musical rehearsals and recitals, art exhibits and crafts demonstrations, Florida-friendly gardening, luncheon groups and antique car destinations. We’ve even had a baptism!

We also love participating in community outreach such as the Holiday Wreath event at Westfield Sarasota Square, providing hosts for the historical homes tours during season, and showcasing our gardens with Florida-Friendly plantings.

But… all this community involvement is in danger.

We are the caretakers of the two buildings, and as such, we must pay every penny of their upkeep. If you’ve ever lived in an historic home, you know what’s involved there! Right now, we are looking at over $50,000 in work that must be done asap… just to keep the buildings dry and protected from the Florida climate. The Church roof needs coating (done! thanks to an Arts and Cultural Award) , and the beautiful wooden shakes of the House roof need complete replacement. (done! thanks to the Selby Foundation)

Update December 2019: The Crocker Memorial Church is needing community support now. Our lovely climate is not so lovely to old wooden buildings, and we are now facing the considerable expense of replacing a major support beam to keep the Church bright and beautiful. Read what’s happening and how you can help keep this Sarasota icon in pristine shape. Details are here.

If you think that this historic treasure, which has served as a community-gathering space for over 100 years, deserves to continue to make Sarasota a true community, won’t you  help? A modest $25 or $50 donation, multiplied by the thousands of folks who love vintage buildings and the peaceful ambiance of Pioneer Park, can do it! You can donate today with your credit card or e-check by clicking the “Donate” button here on our right sidebar, or you can do the “old-fashioned thing” of dropping by our beautiful buildings in Pioneer Park, any M-F 10a to 2p, with a check. Heck, you could even put a check in the mail!

Thanks for being a part of the Sarasota community!