Lost: The Bispham-Wilson Home stood until recently near the corner of Tamiami Trail and Proctor Road. The Bispham Dairy served the Sarasota area for 65 years. Razed 2014-2015. More.
Lost: El Vernona Hotel> John Ringling Hotel> John Ringling Towers. Built in the 1920s as the El Vernona Hotel by Owens Burns, and named after his wife, Vernona, the hotel was the center of glamour and activity in Sarasota. Razed 1998. More.
Saved: The Bidwell-Wood House was built in 1882. It is now revitalized as the centerpiece of the Historical Society of Sarasota County, located in its new home in Pioneer Park at 1260 12th Street, Sarasota.
Saved: Crocker Memorial Church, whose predecessor was built in 1901 as a place of worship and gathering spot, continues into the 21st century repurposed as a community amenity next to the Bidwell-Wood House in Pioneer Park.
You too can #BeTheOne to help preserve our county history, by participating in the upcoming Giving Challenge 2016.
Photo credits: Bispham-Wilson Historic District, By Ebyabe – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11911031
El Vernona Hotel> John Ringling Hotel> John Ringling Towers, as seen on SarasotaHistoryAlive.com
Bidwell-Wood House, Greg Wilson Photography
Crocker Memorial Church, Historical Society Archive
A $5,000 grant has been received to help fund improvements to the interior of the historic Crocker Memorial Church (1901). The grant comes from the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation.
“This grant will help bring Crocker Church back to what it looked like in 1901 when Peter Crocker built it as a community gathering place and for worship,” said Howard Rosenthal, President of the Historical Society.
“Preservation architects Greg Hall and Linda Stevenson did an analysis of the Crocker interior and suggested ways that we could improve and stabilize the building. We are following those recommendations with the Alliance grant.
“One of the best things about this grant is that it demonstrates how the Alliance fulfills its mission to preserve historic structures in Sarasota County and it certainly furthers our mission as we curate the Crocker Memorial Church building and the Bidwell-Wood House (1882) for educational outreach and as gathering places for community events that celebrate history.”
Events are held in both buildings on the Historical Society’s campus in Pioneer Park. Civic meetings, book clubs, theatrical performances, monthly history-oriented programs organized by HSOSC, art shows and much more keep our locale active and engaging. Both buildings were moved from other locations to Pioneer Park by the City of Sarasota in 2006 and placed under the protection of the Historical Society of Sarasota County, a 450-member organization.
Over the past few years the Crocker Memorial Church has become a destination for small country weddings with the reception on the front and back porches of the Bidwell-Wood House. With the structural improvements made possible by the Alliance grant of $5,000, the Crocker Church building (which was decommissioned as a church in 2006) will become even more accessible to the community.
On Tuesday March 22, 2016 the Sarasota Earlye Musicke Consort will be performing for the 4th season in a row for members and guests of the Historical Society of Sarasota County. The program will be presented at the Crocker Memorial Church in Pioneer Park, 1260 12th Street (between US41 and Cocoanut Avenue) beginning at 7pm.
The members of this consort, performing in period costume, play music dating from the 14th century to the 21st century on recorders and viols. This concert is free for HSOSC members; a $10 donation is requested from guests. The group is led by Charlotte Trautwein.
The Sarasota Earlye Musicke Consort was recently awarded a 15 year certificate by the National American Recorder Society, recognizing the ensemble’s contribution to Sarasota and the surrounding communities. The Sarasota chapter of ARS recently hosted the national board meetings for ARS at the Crocker Memorial Church, where they gather for class and group playing for intermediate and advanced players every week.
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.”
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.
People are invited to bring their treasures and have them appraised by certified professionals. The cost is Continue reading
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
We’re so excited to present this FUN and FUND-RAISING event on our Pioneer Park campus. Gather up your personal pieces of history: four expert companies are donating the talents of their appraisers to assist us in this enjoyable way to raise funds for the oldest residence in Sarasota County and the Crocker Memorial Church. Every dollar goes directly to the Historical Society.
Admire treasures, collect some up for the future, and enjoy the natural ambiance of one of the prettiest parks in the county. You can even take a Trolley Tour of Historic Downtown Sarasota!* And don’t miss the Back Porch Treasure Trove, where collectibles old and new can become yours!
HSOSC is very excited to bring you our first Antiques, Art & Collectible Fair on Saturday November 14 from 10a to 4p.
Appraisers available from 11a to 2p courtesy of Appraisals and Sales by Julie McClure, Crissy Galleries, Elder’s Fine Art and Antiques, Garth’s Auctioneers & Appraisers. Appraisals are $10 each or 3 for $25.
*An optional Historic Downtown Sarasota Trolley Tour, leaving at 10a and returning to the festivities at noon, is available, with advance reservations a must since seating is limited. Contact Linda, our Site Manager, at 941-364-9076 between 10a and 2p, Mondays thru Fridays.
Crafters and collectibles welcome you in the yard and food and drink will be available for purchase. Demonstrations and deals on the porches.
At noon, we honor those who have donated a brick to our walk, with the annual historic brick dedications ceremony. Pass the word and join us for the festivities!!!
A timely award of a $4,000 grant from the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County to the Historical Society of Sarasota County has gone immediately to a project to stabilize and preserve the metal roof on the 1901 Crocker Memorial Church building at Pioneer Park in Sarasota. The heritage building, which is under the protection of the Historical Society, is the headquarters for the Historical Society and is used almost daily by the community for weddings, civic and cultural club meetings, music recitals, theater rehearsals, history book club, and for monthly membership meetings of the Historical Society as well as for Historical Society sponsored educational programs (including docent-led tours) that are open to the public.
The grant money from the John Ringling Towers Fund at the Arts and Cultural Alliance has been combined with member and community donations from the Historical Society’s annual appeal to make critical repairs to the Crocker roof. We thank the Alliance and our members and supporters for helping us keep a Sarasota landmark dry and safe!
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.
Author, editor, and publisher Elizabeth H. Coursen will be featured at this month’s Brown Bag Book Lunch at the Historical Society of Sarasota County on Wed. Feb. 18, in the historic Crocker Memorial Church. She will be speaking on Continue reading
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
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.
Pullman 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.
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).
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 email@example.com for your reservations now.
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.