The Historical Society of Sarasota County

Creating an awareness of the rich historical heritage of Sarasota County, Florida

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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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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.

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!

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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 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!

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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

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Designer Tag Sale, here we come!

It takes DAYS to get all the wonderful donations for the Designer Tag Sale, the Bargain Bonanza, and the Book Sale ready for its day in the sun on Saturday Nov. 17 from 8-2. Here’s what happened today: Continue reading

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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