Florida… audibly!

Back in the day (this photo is from the 1920′s) buying a radio was important enough to be transacted in a showroom complete with Oriental rugs.

Miami radio shop, 1920's, from floridamemory.comMusic is more accessible to us today. It’s in our cars, our pockets, and on our phones. And thanks to Continue reading

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Siesta Beach, July 4 1923

How hot were the sands of Siesta on July 4 1923?

112 mph, that’s how hot!

Mr. O’Neal came within 3 MPH of breaking the world’s motorcycle speed record as he roared down Sarasota (Siesta) Key Beach on his Harley Davidson at 112 MPH. This was the feature event in the American Legion’s July 4th Carnival.
– from Yesterday’s Sarasota by J. Whitcomb Rylee in conjunction with The Historical Society of Sarasota County

Harley-Davidson motorcycle almost beat the world record on Siesta Beach in 1923 ---HSoSC.com

Photo from antiquemotorcycle.org

More on the Independence Day celebrations in Sarasota on The Journals of Yesteryear at sarasotahistoryalive.com

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See how our gardens grow at HSoSC

The land surrounding the Bidwell-Wood House (1882) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901) started out as barren park land. But with the help, donations, and labor of our members and supporters, our garden is growing!

Below: Bleeding Heart is the vine that is climbing up the west side of the front porch at the Bidwell Wood House. Like most of the other plants in the garden, it was donated. A landscape committee tends the garden, but friends who find satisfaction (and exercise) in pulling weeds, pruning and planting are always welcome to join in.

Bleeding Heart is the vine that is climbing up the west side of the front porch at the Bidwell Wood House. Like most of the other plants in the garden, it was donated. A landscape committee tends the garden, but friends who find satisfaction (and exercise) in pulling weeds, pruning and planting are always welcome to join in.

Below: Bright red pentas line the brick path leading from parking area to the front porch of the Bidwell-Wood House in Pioneer Park, the home of the Historical Society. The landscape committee chose red flowers to reference the red front door of the Crocker Memorial Church. Pentas love full sun, can get by with minimal watering and are hardy.

 Bright red pentas line the brick path leading from parking area to the front porch of the Bidwell-Wood House in Pioneer Park, the home of the Historical Society. The landscape committee chose red flowers to reference the red front door of the Crocker Memorial Church. Pentas love full sun, can get by with minimal watering and are hardy.

Below: Currently,we have one hibiscus bush in the members garden at the Historical Society. It’s on the east side of the Bidwell-Wood House near the front porch. This bush was donated to the garden by a member. That’s how we get most of our plants, so if you have a cutting or a plant that is Florida friendly and needs a home, bring it to Pioneer Park and add to the botanical history that is growing strong.

 Currently,we have one hibiscus bush in the members garden at the Historical Society. It's on the east side of the Bidwell-Wood House near the front porch. This bush was donated to the garden by a member. That's how we get most of our plants, so if you have a cutting or a plant that is Florida friendly and needs a home, bring it to Pioneer Park and add to the botanical history that is growing strong.

Below: Perhaps you’ve noticed the brick walkways in our garden. You can be a part of the garden with your sponsorship of a brick, in your name, your family;s or friend’s name, or as a memorial tribute to someone you loved who loved history and Sarasota. Click to learn more.

Bricks at Bidwell-Wood House

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The Florida-Friendly Gardens at the Historical Society

We have a very dedicated crew of gardeners here on our campus in Pioneer Park. If you are interested in native plants, Florida-friendly gardens, or just messing around in the dirt, we’d love to have you join us!

HSoSC vice-president Marsha Fottler sent along these photos of our garden to tempt you into visiting and enjoying the Historical Society:

Below: The rain lilies in our members garden at the Historical Society were a gift from past president Viola Goldberg. They mingle with gerbera daisies, pentas, and a crape myrtle. Members who want to donate plants to the garden should call Marsha Fottler at 371-8593. It’s how our garden grows.

Rain lilies in the Florida-friendly gardens at the Historical Society of Sarasota County at 1260 12th Street, Sarasota FL, in Pioneer Park

Below: We have two pineapple plants in our HSOSC garden. They were planted by a member, Phil Stevens. The local squirrels are watching them as closely as Linda, our site manager. Last year those clever thieves got to enjoy a pineapple before we could harvest it. Pineapples are easy to grow. Cut off the top, let it dry out for a day and then plant it. Slowly, over the next year or so, a pineapple will emerge.

Pineapples in Sarasota, at the Historical Society of Sarasota County, 12th St & Tamiami Trail, in Pioneer Park

Below: Around the pine trees at Pioneer Park, the landscape committee has installed bromeliads and dwarf heliconias. They are hardy, need little water or care and reward us with wonderful color and texture. All of these plants were donated to the HSOSC members garden by friends of the Bidwell-Wood House and the Crocker Memorial Church. We strive to keep the garden Florida-friendly.

 Around the pine trees at Pioneer Park, the landscape committee has installed bromeliads and dwarf heliconias. They are hardy, need little water or care and reward us with wonderful color and texture. All of these plants were donated to the HSOSC members garden by friends of the Bidwell-Wood House and the Crocker Memorial Church. We strive to keep the garden Florida-friendly.

Below: Perhaps you’ve noticed the brick walkways in our garden. You can be a part of the garden with your sponsorship of a brick, in your name, your family;s or friend’s name, or as a memorial tribute to someone you loved who loved history and Sarasota. Click to learn more.

Bricks at Bidwell-Wood House

Stay tuned! More information on the gardens at the Historical Society of Sarasota County coming soon…. and meanwhile, drop by Pioneer Park anytime to see what’s growing!

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Doings around the Historical Society

It's been exciting around the Historical Society of Sarasota County!

It’s been a thrilling springtime around the Historical Society, planning for our next year.

The 2014 Giving Challenge this month was such a thrill and raised much needed funds. Our portion of the over $3 million raised was Continue reading

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The Colonel marries his “darling little Bright Eyes”

140523 Blanche_wedding day 1905

Blanche, referred to by her husband as “Bright Eyes”

On this date in 1905, Col. John Hamilton Gillespie married his second wife, Judge McDaniels’s daughter Blanche, in Sarasota. They honeymooned in Scotland. — Entry in Yesterday’s Sarasota calendar by J. Whitcomb Rylee

Read our very own Sue Blue‘s article about Col. Gillespie for Scene Sarasota.

See the Gillespie home, before and after Blanche had a greenhouse added.

The photo is from http://www.owenburns.com/, who honored Col. Gillespie in 2011 with merriment and golf.

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The trial of the century in Sarasota

1885: Members of the

Sarasota Vigilante Committee

went on trial for the murder of Postmaster Abbe. Abbe had

Sarasota Postmaster Charles Abbe

Charles E. Abbe. Click to read about the buildings HSoSC preserves and protects

been involved with some of the “land barons” who had misused the laws to acquire holdings in the area. The Vigilantes killed Abbe over the scheme.

– From J. Whitcombe Rylee, Yesterday’s Sarasota, a 1993 Calendar in conjunction with the Historical Society of Sarasota County.

Photo from the Manatee County Library web site

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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!

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A penny postcard to the future

A fictitious postcard from Ethel Wood, Sarasota FLLittle could Ethel Wood imagine that she would indeed become an influential woman in Sarasota until her death, still living in what we now know as the Bidwell-Wood House, decades later. For more on the House as well as the Crocker Memorial Church, click over to our Museum booklet.

Note: This is a totally fictitious postcard “To The Future”, presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota County as part of its fund-raising activities. The House needs a new period-authentic roof to protect and preserve the oldest residence in Sarasota County, and you can help! Use the “Donate” button in our sidebar, or stop by with a check anytime, Mon-Fri 10 to 2. Our Site Manager, Linda Garcia, will be delighted!

The postcard background is from Fuzzimo.com
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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, Continue reading

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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: Continue reading

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Ken Thompson and the Making of Modern Sarasota: Conversation at the Crocker

Anyone intrigued by the recent and turbulent history of Sarasota will want to be in the audience at the Crocker Memorial Church on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 when historian Jeff LaHurd and real estate/architecture expert Harold Bubil engage one another in a lively conversation about Ken Thompson, Sarasota’s longest-serving city manager and the man responsible for moving Sarasota into the modern era.

This non-elected public servant had an unorthodox style achieving progress and it will all be revealed at this Conversation at The Crocker which starts at 7 p.m. The event is free to members of the Historical Society and $10 for guests.

“Ken Thompson was appointed city manager in 1950 and guided the community for the next 38 years,”

said LaHurd, whose latest book is about Thompson and his influence on the development of Sarasota. “It would be difficult to find anyone in Sarasota’s history who exerted such an influence on this community. Waldo Profit called him the architect of modern Sarasota and Bruce Franklin, president of the ADP Group once remarked when Thompson was city manager, it did not take 10 years to get a project completed.”

LaHurd’s research found Thompson to be a man of integrity and above reproach in all his business dealings. “He was a brilliant Renaissance man who enjoyed flying, sailing, and creating art,” continued LaHurd. “With Ken Thompson, the buck stopped on his desk and he was capable of making far reaching decisions. At a time when segregation was the “law” of the land, Thompson de-segregated the public library and Bobby Jones Golf Course with a telephone call to the manager of each. As an important person in Sarasota’s history I rank Ken Thompson with John Hamilton Gillespie, Owen Burns, Bertha Palmer and John Ringling.” You’ll want to know more, so be in the audience on Tuesday, April 8 at the Crocker Memorial Church. Bring your questions and any memories you have of Ken Thompson to share.

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). The Crocker Memorial Church is located at 1260 12th Street in Pioneer Park, Sarasota, one block off North Tamiami Trail at 12th Street. Chairs of Conversations at The Crocker are Lynn Harding and Marsha Fottler. Docent-led tours of the two buildings are available and the gift shop is open before each Conversation event. For more information call  364-9076.

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Nothing like an Earlye Musicke Consort

Sarasota Earlye Musicke Consort to serenade us in the Crocker Church Tuesday April 1 at 7pm

Nothing like an Earlye Musicke Consort to start off the beautiful month of April!

An early musical instrument

This is a viol de gamba!

The Sarasota Earlye Musicke Consort is a group of musicians which have been in existence since 1993. The musicians gather to practice in the Crocker Memorial Church and praise its fine acoustics.

Members of the Consort are seniors who have many years of experience playing all the different sizes of recorders. Also included in the group, is a viol de gamba player.

The Consort has graciously invited us to attend a melodious, costumed thank-you concert for the members of the Historical Society on Tuesday, April 1, at 7pm and hope all can come!

The literature played represents music from the 1300s to music currently being composed for recorder groups. Charlotte Trautwein is the music director and is a retired music professor from North Dakota State University.

Programs presented by the Consort are varied and descriptions of the instruments and commentary about the music played are shared at each performance. This year’s theme is “Exploring 800 years of Music.” The Consort will be wearing Renaissance costumes to enhance the presentation.

Please come to this thank-you concert for the members of the Historical Society on Tuesday, April 1, at 7pm. Members free; $5 donation requested of guests.

For more information about the Consort, contact Charlotte Trautwein at jnctrautwein@verizon.net.

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Springing Forward: Did you?

Did you remember to spring forward today? Just a friendly, vintage reminder!

Write your Congressman, 1918 versionThe best reason to love DST in Sarasota? Enough time to get to the beach and watch the sunset!

To read more about the history of Daylight Savings time, click here.

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Batter Up: How & Why Sarasota Became a Baseball Town

Baseball fever has gripped the Sarasota area for years, beginning around 1923.  Baseball has helped to shape Sarasota’s identity as a spring-training tourist destination and has had a significant impact on growth, politics, real estate and culture of both the city and county.

1923 Baseball Magazine

Image courtesy of legendaryauctions.com

Come learn how and why we became linked with professional baseball when three baseball experts gather for a lively Conversation at The Crocker on Tuesday, March 11, starting at 7 p.m. at the Crocker Memorial Church.

The Conversation features journalist and baseball fan Charlie Huisking; Sarasota Herald-Tribune sports writer Doug Fernandes; and author and baseball historian Ray Sinibaldi. This event is free to Historical Society members and $10 for guests.

Everyone is encouraged to wear a baseball-theme shirt or team logo cap. Bring your own memories of baseball in Sarasota and share photos. There will be baseball snacks for all and after the panel discussion, Ray Sinibaldi will be signing copies of his book,  Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota.

Batter Up is part of a series of community dialogues called Conversations at The Crocker. Organized by the Historical Society of Sarasota County and sponsored by SARASOTA Magazine, these events highlight specific aspects of Sarasota’s past and examine pivotal events and people.
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). Chairs of Conversations at The Crocker are Lynn Harding and Marsha Fottler. Docent-led tours of the two buildings are available and the gift shop is open before each Conversation event. For additional information, contact Linda Garcia, Site Manager, M-F 10am til 2pm at 364-9076.
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