What day is it?

Want to Claim Your Day to Save the Day at the Historical Society, but you’re too selfless to choose your birthday or your anniversary?

How about one of these notable Sarasota County dates?

* If you choose November 6, you just LOVE phone calls. That’s the day, in 1899, that Harry Higel received Sarasota’s first phone call via wires strung up on pine trees. We assume it wasn’t a robocall.

Cool old telephone, probably not in Sarasota though.

We doubt Harry’s phone looked like this, but this was just way too cool to pass up.

* Grab October 28 if you love baseball and Payne Park. That’s the day Lew Brudette, the hero of the 1957 World Series, came home to a motorcade to the park and was feted with a key to the city and a 16′ cabin cruiser.

Lew Brudette in Sarasota. Got a cabin cruiser out of it.

The man, the myth, the cabin cruiser.

* Then there’s Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where you or your kids might have been born? It opened November 1 1925 with 32 beds. It actually opened on November 2, but that day’s been Claimed by an HSoSC supporter, so we’ll use November 1, if you want to make someone’s Sarasota debut your day!

Sarasota Memorial Hospital the early days.

To exit the hospital through those sturdy columns? You were a true Sarasotan!

* One of my personal faves? Royalty arrives in Sarasota, Nov 30 1910. Bertha Palmer’s niece and nephew-in-law, Princess and Prince Cantacuzene, come to see what this whole real estate venture of Aunt Bertha is all about. They stayed at the Belle Haven.

Bertha Palmer in Sarasota

The Princess wasn’t along on this tromp through the wilds of Sarasota.

* Prefer to remain low-key but still help HSoSC survive the pandemic? Just tell Linda, note on your PayPal donation, or drop an email letting us choose a day to dedicate to YOU (Hint: My birthday is July 18.)

Oh no I forGOT!!!

Wonderful response from members and supporters on the 2014 Giving Challenge on May 6-7. Our biggest thanks to you all, as well as to those who preferred to use our “Donate” button here on our site, on the right margin.

But I’ve heard from several generous folk that they forgot, were busy, got distracted by the beautiful weather. Here’s how I imagine some of our supporters looking:

A young lady, just now realizing that she forgot to participate in the 3014 Gicing Challeng on behalf of the Historical Society of Sarasota County.So if this young lady reminds you of yourself, rest assured that you can donate securely with our Donate button, or you can donate this Saturday in person at our

Annual Meeting and Members Potluck

which starts at 11am and features yummy food, our annual election, and a peaceful friendly wrap up of the season at the Historical Society. I’m bringing two new dishes, so wish me luck in the kitchen, or I may look like that lady up there on Saturday! See you soon!

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!

Old time-y receipts are fun to look at but….

Here at the Historical Society of Sarasota County, we love to see old receipts. Here’s one from a Bradentown (that’s what it was called in 1911) grocer:
H. A. Fuller Grocery billWouldn’t it be wonderful to have a monthly grocery bill of $19.13? Even if it didn’t include such modern wonders as microwave popcorn…


Put your Historical Society “on the map”

If you’d like to give a no-money-involved gift to the Historical Society of Sarasota County (although, of course, financial contributions are always welcome!) please consider writing a review and/or adding a photo or two to these web resources. The more mention we have on the Internet, the more residents, winter Floridians, and visitors will find us!

So if you have five minutes, and think the history of Sarasota County is worth preserving, see what you can add to:

Sarasota FL map from an automobile club, 1919.

Sarasota FL map from an automobile atlas 1919. Click to enlarge.

You can “share” not only our website with friends, but this from visitsarasota.org And of course, you can refer your online friends, folks coming to town, and so on, to our Facebook page and our Twitter feed.

Don’t want to fiddle with writing reviews? Sit back, relax, and enjoy some old-timey photos of Sarasota. We appreciate your interest!

Giving Challenge, Giving Partner, GuideStar… what’s going on?

The big hullabaloo (now, there’s an historic term!) in Sarasota/Manatee Counties this week is The Giving Challenge, an online promotion whose wonderful motto is

Unleash your inner generosity!

Several of our most fervent supporters have asked me to explain what’s going on, and I defer to this concise definition Continue reading

Look what we “found” for the Designer Tag Sale!

We’re received some great donations so far for the November 17 event: a trifecta of sales, headlined by the Designer Tag Sale with back-up by the Olde Bookseller Sale and the Back Porch Bonanza of Bargains! It’s going to be a great sale, so

Save the Date!

First up, Ringling Hotel Continue reading

Turn your gently-used treasures into shingles!

Bidwell-Wood House in WinterThe Bidwell-Wood House, our county’s oldest residence, is in danger from the challenging Florida climate. Without a new roof, we could lose this 1882 home, built when this area was a sandy wilderness. The Historical Society of Sarasota County, located in Pioneer Park at 1260 12th Street (between Tamiami Trail and Cocoanut Avenue), curates and protects both the Crocker Memorial Church and the House, two of Sarasota’s most historic buildings.
One of our fund-raisers that is easy to support is our upcoming

Designer Tag Sale on Saturday Nov. 17, starting at 8am.

This sale, held in Continue reading




MATTRESS 4’ X 5’ …………………………… $??? ____


VACUUM CLEANER…………………………… $150.00 ____


WIRELESS MICROPHONE………………….. $300.00 ____

PEW CUSHIONS………………………………. $ ???? ____





 Send checks: HSOSC – PO Box 1632 – Sarasota, FL 34230



HSOSC.COM / 941-364-9076/ hsosc@yahoo.com

For the Mother who has Everything – a BRICK!!

Brick Grid at Bidwell-Wood HouseMother’s Day (or any other gift-giving occasion) is always a conundrum: she seems to have everything and need nothing (but your love and devotion of course). But fortunately, the Historical Society of Sarasota County has the perfect solution to your gift-giving problem: a brick!

That’s right! Whether Mom lives in, loves, or simply enjoys visiting Sarasota County, you can commemorate her affection with something that will last for decades, even centuries. And this is no ordinary brick, just like Mom’s no ordinary mother.

How about a historic brick from Sarasota’s Seaboard Airline Railroad!!!

Bricks at Bidwell-Wood House

Nothing says loving like a brick.

The Historical Society of Sarasota County salvaged the bricks from Main Street and Lemon Avenue when the station depot was being demolished.  We have them laid as the walkway into the 1882 Bidwell-Wood House, Sarasota County’s oldest surviving residence, for a lasting memorial.  Each year the new etched bricks are laid on Pioneer Day with a celebration for new brick owners.

You can honor anyone including yourself with an etched historic brick.  A donation of $100 or more creates a permanent reminder of your loved one and participation in Sarasota History.  Each year the new etched bricks are laid on Pioneer Day to honor those who support Sarasota history with a dedicated brick in the walkway.

To honor your mother in front of this historic home, or to inscribe a brick for yourself, your loved ones, or a special occasion, simply print out this form and send it in: Brick Reservation Form. Prefer to do it by phone? Call Linda, Site Manager, any weekday between 10 and 2 at 941-364-9076 or email us at hsosc1@gmail.com


FAQs: How can my donation work hardest for HSOSC?

Confused about the 36-Hour Challenge, which starts Tuesday March 27 at 6am and goes through Wednesday at 6pm? Wondering what all the hype is about? And how you can help HSOSC?

Frequently-Asked Questions

What’s it all about? The 36-Hour Giving Challenge is an online giving event inspiring donors and citizen philanthropists to learn more about the nonprofits and causes in Southwest Florida they care about most.

How was HSOSC chosen Continue reading

Wow! They are really psyched!

Wow! They are really psyched!

(Can you say that about the avid supporters of our historic Sarasota museum? Sure!)

There is a pot of gold, and we need your help finding it

There is a pot of gold, and we need your help finding it

After Tuesday night’s monthly meeting (thanks, gentlemen, terrific panel discussion on Sarasota architecture!) dozens of future philanthropists, both members of the Historical Society and visitors who enjoyed our free event, told us they were

excited to be able to make their donations go further with the upcoming Giving Partners Challenge, a awareness-raising event to introduce The Giving Partner, an online tool that will provide in-depth information about local nonprofits to help leverage philanthropy in our community. As a partnership between the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, The Patterson Foundation and Manatee Community Foundation, the Historical Society of Sarasota County has been selected as only one of three history-oriented nonprofits in the entire area to participate!

Just think… we could double the value of our generous donations, win a $250-an-hour prize… or even win $20,000

JUST for asking ALL our friends to visit our profile on the Giving Partners site. Learn about this once-in-a-lifetime event, mark your calendar for March 27 and 28, and help us find the pot of gold that will help

preserve and protect

the Oldest Residence in Sarasota County, and the Crocker Church, with its original glass and hand-hewn pews!

Read more about this unprecedented event.

Stay tuned for more info (subscribe to this site up there in the right column),

& TELL YOUR FRIENDS (see the sharing buttons under this post? Click ’em!)