A lovely day for a walk in the past

A walk along the beach is always wonderful. Exploring downtown can be very rewarding (and stopping for a bite and sip every 40 feet or so is always an option). Our parks are beautiful. And so many neighborhoods are as well. So get out into our beautiful winter weather and treat yourself to a walk in the past!

Explore Laurel Park

Click to visit the Laurel Park web site.

Here’s the Laurel Neighborhood Walking Tour PDF. Print it out, lace up your walking shoes, and enjoy this lovely neighborhood!

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.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Map of Sarasota, 1925

This October 1925 map of downtown Sarasota is from, we believe, the newspaper.

Dwell Real Estate has a blog entry with lots of fun Sarasota-in-the-past photos. Credit given: Photos and information courtesy of Yesterday’s Sarasota by Del Marth.

Take a look!

For actual copies of the Sarasota papers from 1925 on, visit here.

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.


Saturday, Novmeber 15, 2014

9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Crocker Memorial Church

1260 12th Street  (Pioneer Park)

One block east of N. Tamiami Trail at 12th Street


Presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota County in cooperation with area interior designers who have donated specialty items from their galleries and inventory.

Come and find custom toss pillows, lamps, occasional furniture, extraordinary designer fabric and wallpaper, tabletop sculpture, framed paintings and prints, mirrors, garden ornaments, silk flower and foliage arrangements and a special holiday section with gift items for the season.  Proceeds help maintain the historic Bidwell-Wood House (1882) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901).

Shop for fun, amazing and gorgeous designer bargains and help support historic preservation in our town.  It only happens every other year so don’t miss out!

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!

Sounds of the Holidays Tuesday Dec 3

sharon scottSOUNDS OF THE HOLIDAYS, featuring inspirational music, carols and spirituals will fill the historic Crocker Memorial Church on Tuesday, Dec. 3rd at 7:00 P.M.

This FREE concert for historic music lovers is open to the public and features internationally known voices including:  Sharon E. Scott, Sarasota’s own Mahalia Jackson, Bill Schustik – America’s Troubadour, Tyrone Aiken, whose stage credits include The Voice of Audrey 2 in  “Little Shop of Horrors TYRONE HEAD SHOT 112313National Tour” and Ozanda Gray, Jr. recently seen in the Asolo’s Artist Series, “Sounds of Christmas Concerts”  and currently working with the West Coast Black Theater Troupe.

The New York Times wrote of Sharon…”she is a performer of size and vocal quality that overwhelms the stage…and is a pyrotechnic personality with all the dazzle of a Fourth of July fireworks display.”

bill s cropBill Schustik has performed worldwide and even enjoyed singing for three Presidents at the White House.

A “Love Donation” will be greatly appreciated by this talented gathering of voices.

The Historical Society feels extremely lucky to have them assemble under our historic church roof. For more information, please call the Historical Society at 941-364-9076.

What type of pirate will you dress up as?

  • Be a Pirate for the evening or for the day or for both! at the Historical Society of Sarasota County's Pirates & Pioners Day November 16 (and the evening before, adults only)We’re SO looking forward to the adults-only Pirates Eve on Friday evening, November 15 (tales and tasty libations for the over-21 group) to the family-oriented Pirates and Pioneers Day on Saturday November 16 (admission, a few canned goods for the Mayors Feed the Hungry Campaign) at the Historical Society of Sarasota County… for the fun, yes, but also because

who doesn’t want to dress up as a pirate?

Inspiration from cheap and cheerful to “too sexy for my hook” ideas here, from Pinterest.

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

Join us in honoring tradition at our Annual Meeting

dinner on the groundsOnce a year, the Historical Society has a pot-luck “dinner on the grounds,” just as our forebears did. At the same time, we come together to elect our public servants, as did our grandparents and great-grandparents.

And so we Continue reading

History, health, and heat. Sounds like a great combo to us!

Here’s the history:

Warm Mineral Springs is the only warm water mineral spring in the State of Florida, and is the largest warm water mineral spring in the world. The surface area of the spring is a round pond, it is 1.4-acre in circumference and reaches depths of nearly 250 feet deep in the center. The cenote dates from 20,000 years ago.

Here’s the health:

There are over 51 different minerals found Continue reading

From Renaissance to Ragtime: Concert in the Crocker Church

          The Historical Society of Sarasota County will host a concert performed by members of the Sarasota Earlye Musicke Consort, a group that performs music from Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque eras in the Crocker Memorial Church, located in Pioneer Park, at 1260 12th Street, on Tuesday, April 10th at 7:00 PM.

         The Program will include music from the 1500’s, Glen Miller’s era, as well as Glen Shannon’s timeframe, performed on recorders, viol and harpsichord.  This musical group, under the direction of Charlotte Trautwein, has been filling the church with their delightful music, every Tuesday during their rehearsals.  The concert is free and open to the public.  Donations are always greatly appreciated, of course.

         There will be guided tours of the Bidwell House (1882) and the Crocker Church (1901) at 6:00 PM, and the Gift Shop, filled with hand-crafted works by our local artisans, will also open at 6:00 PM. The historical complex is on 12th Street, between N. Trail and Cocoanut Ave.

Thank you to all our supporters!

What an incredible outpouring of support for our community!

Almost 11,000 donors to 107 nonprofits including the Historical Society of Sarasota County!

In 36 hours, almost 11,000 donors participated!

In 36 hours on March 27 and March 28, keyboards clicked and smartphones did whatever they do… and almost 11,000 responded to the 36-Hour Challenge. We were honored to be Continue reading