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!

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Memorial Bricks Dedication on November 15, 2014

You still have time to order a brick for the front walkway in time for the dedication inlay for this year on Saturday November 15, 2014.  This is the day for the Tag Sale in the Crocker Memorial Church and the Historical Trolley Tour with Sue Blue that morning….returning in time for the dedication.

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.

Bricks at Bidwell-Wood HouseYou can honor anyone including yourself, or an event (marriage? Birth? Anniversary? Memorial?)  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 in November to honor those who support Sarasota history with a dedicated brick in the walkway.

To have a brick etched for you, your family, or a loved one, simply contact Linda Garcia, our Site Manger, via phone at 941-364-9076 Mon-Fri 10 to 2, or 24/7 via email at hsosc1@gmail.com. Mastercard and Visa accepted, as are those old-fashioned things, checks in the mail! You’ll receive a personal invitation to our ceremony on our campus at 1260 12th Street (1/2 block east of Tamiami Trail), Sarasota, in Pioneer Park on Saturday November 15.

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One Month til 25th Historical LeBarge Cruise !!


The Historical Society of Sarasota County (HSOSC) is hosting its 25th Historical Cruise and Tour of Sarasota Bay on the LeBarge tour boat on Sunday, November 2, 2014 from 11am to 1pm. The cruise will feature narration by popular local historian John McCarthy.  Guests can expect a complimentary continental breakfast and a cash bar at noon.

John McCarthy - Norma Kwenski

Norma Kwenski, Volunteer Extraordinaire, grabs the catbird seat on LeBarge, next to our commentator, always-captivating John McCarthy, one of Sarasota’s leading historians.

This specialty cruise tour has been a favorite with residents and tourists alike who want to learn more about the bygone people and places that have impacted the development of Sarasota County. Guests cruise along the shoreline of Sarasota Bay and enjoy the sunshine and refreshments while John McCarthy paints a picture of the formative years in Sarasota’s growth.

Tickets are $40 per person. A VIP pass is available for $50 which provides early boarding and a complimentary beverage from the bar (limited to beer, wine and soda).  Reservations are a MUST.

All the details are here. 

Historical Cruise Guests should be at the LeBarge slip, south of Marina Jack in Sarasota’s Bayfront Park by 10:15am, rain or shine. Proceeds benefit preservation projects and community outreach programs at the Historical Society of Sarasota County.

To reserve your seats, contact Linda Garcia at HSOSC Monday-Friday from 10a – 2p at 941-364-9076 or anytime by email:  hsosc1@gmail.com

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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

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Yup, it WAS “the good old days”

Nowadays it takes 5 fishermen and a boat to catch a kingfish.

Kingfish trophyBut back in the day…

Sept 30 1913: For easy fishing, stay at the Bay Island Hotel. On the first day of kingfish season, a 4′, 27-pound beauty, complete with a mullet in its mouth, jumped 10 feet from the bay, over the seawall, and onto the lawn where it was corralled by a guest. Mr. Faubel, the manager, quickly pointed out the fine fishing on his lawn. — Entry in Yesterday’s Sarasota calendar by J. Whitcomb Rylee

Photo from http://www.insideflorida.com/

More on the Bay Island Hotel from Sarasota History Alive.

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JDeal Pump Organ – Returns in Top Shape!

Photo from Pump Organ Before Repair July 2014Before repair pump organPump Organ Inspection by Robert SensemanRobert Senseman and Son haul it offThe pump organ repairman angel arrived this summer!!

Mr. Robert Senseman visited the Bidwell-Wood House in June when his mother Lois Ann Senseman arrived to film her Ordinary Historian video. Her grandfather, his great grandfather, was the yacht captain for John and Mabel Ringling. While touring the house we mentioned that the JDeal pump organ in the parlor was in need of a strap repair on one of the pedals.

Mr. Senseman offered to do the repair. Amazingly he took the organ and did a full refurbishment and repair and brought it back better than ever. We cannot thank him enough.

The early 1800′s organ was donated to the  Historical Society of Sarasota County by Mike Lesnick of Bradenton.

See the pump organ in action in the MySuncoast tv coverage of our building. Linda has hidden talents!

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JoRita Stevens – Congratulations to our Recording Secretary!

Congratulations to our recording secretary, JoRita Stevens, for being selected as a “Goodwill Ambassador” of the year.

There’s truth in Continue reading

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Voting, Then & Now

You didn’t have to register to vote. You did have to be a member of the militia. And there was no such thing as Sarasota County… heck, there wasn’t even a Manatee County.

Here’s what political districting looked like in 1843 when Florida voted to become a State in the United States of America.
Florida map, 1853(Click the map, which is courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, to enlarge)

Read Florida Memory’s article on voting then & now.

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From the Office: 2014 Summer Interns

Linda Garcia, our invaluable Site Manager, writes about the wonders of our summer interns:

open quoteWe were contacted last winter by a 2nd year New College History student, Joy Feagan, to see if we would be interested in a summer intern. We had never had that opportunity in the past so we Continue reading

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Today in History: A Mother’s Gentle Nudge

On August 18, 1920, Tennessee passed the proposed 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by a one-vote margin, becoming the 36th state to ratify the measure and clearing the way for its official adoption eight days later.

Can you imagine NOT "giving the vote" to a woman like this?

Can you imagine NOT “giving the vote” to a woman like this?

Incredibly, women’s suffrage in the United States ultimately hinged on an 11th-hour change of heart by a young state legislator with a very powerful mother.

“I know that a mother’s advice is always safest for her boy to follow,” he explained, “and my mother wanted me to vote for ratification.” Read about it.

(Thanks to this family web site for the image of a strong woman c. 1920.)

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113 years of hard sitting is coming to an end….

When the Crocker Memorial Church was just 12 years old, in 1913, 63 of Sarasota’s women came together and formed The Woman’s Club of Sarasota. Their service to our community can be summed up by this quote on their brochure:

The good works of life consist of many small units.

We are delighted to announce that The Woman’s Club has taken on a “small unit” for the Crocker Church: they are Continue reading

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A two-fer of History in Pioneer Park!

The Whitaker Cemetery, from 1879, is next door to the Historical Society's Pioneer Park campus at 1260 12th Street, just east of Tamiami Trail.

Photo courtesy of our neighbor, the DAR.

The Bidwell-Wood House (1882) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901) might seem reason enough to visit Pioneer Park, but did you know that next door is the The Pioneer Whitaker Cemetery?

It is the first cemetery in Sarasota , and the burial site of the first white settlers in the County. The Whitaker Pioneer Cemetery continues to be the burial site for the Whitaker family. More on the Whitaker Cemetery.

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Planning the 2014-2015 events at HSoSC

Souvenir of Sarasota FLYour board and interested members are currently planning the upcoming season’s events. Be sure to sign up for email notification of our blog posts (top of the right-hand column on this page, where it says “Get us by email”) so you stay abreast of all the great talks, gatherings, events and openings they have planned for you!

Here’s some tentative plans, in addition to the wonderful roster of Conversations at the Crocker that we present the second Tuesday of each month, from October 2014 through April 2015. Topics and participants will be announced as soon as all our wonderful speakers commit!

UPDATE 9-10-14 Here’s our complete Calendar of Events for the 2014-2015 season. Mark your calendars, and call us at 941-364-9076 Mon-Fri 10a to 2p or email hsosc1@gmail.com to reserve your seats (if required for your chosen events)

Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014  11a – 1p. Narrated Historic Sarasota Bay Annual Le Barge Cruise narrated by John McCarthy, noted Sarasota Historian. $40.00 per person.  $50.00 VIP Reservations a must! (Again in March for your visitors)

Saturday, Nov. 15th Our very popular Designer Tag Sale!  Donated items from local designers available for purchase in the Crocker Memorial Church from 10a – 3p. (And of course, we’ll be looking for donations to this sale from members and supporters, so start your pile of donations now! Here’s what we can and cannot use, from our last sale.)

Sunday, Jan. 11th   2-4p.  High Tea & Paintings Off Easel – Plein Air Artists will be painting outside while we sip tea inside. Artwork may be purchased off the walls or “off the easel” directly from the artist. Reservations a Must !!  $25

Tuesday, January 20, 2015Private Tour of Ca’d’Zan with Ron McCarty.  Available to HSOSC members only – $75 includes lunch at Treviso. This is always a sell-out, so be sure to get your reservations in early.

BROWN BAG BOOK LUNCHES – New this season – bring your lunch and enjoy local authors on Wednesdays from 11a – 2p  December  17 – Bea Hartman,  January 21 – Charles Sobchzak,  February 18 – Liz Coursen,  March 18 – Henry Duggan

Sue Blue’s HISTORIC TROLLEY TOURS, Two hour Saturday Downtown Historic Tour 10a – Noon  Depart from the Crocker Memorial Church.  Reservations Required. Tours offered on Oct 25th, Nov 15th, Dec 6th, and in 2015: Jan 3rd, Jan 24th, Feb 14th, Mar 7th, Mar 28th and Apr 18th  $25 Per Person

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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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