Sarasota County History
Parks Centennial Timeline
Planning & Development Services StoryMap
Photos From The Past
Centennial Kick-Off March 23, 2021
100 Years of Sarasota County Residents
Centennial Celebration Park Highlights
Sarasota County Through the Decades
100 Things to Do
100 Things to Learn
Tour the Historical Resources Department
Unloading Circus Elephants
A typical elephant gingerly negotiates a train ramp from its traveling “Greatest Show on Earth” boxcar accommodations for some R & R at the Circus Winter Quarters in Venice.
Englewood Bait House
So much of life in Sarasota County has been lived by the water, and life in Englewood has been no different. Bait houses and boat launches like the Englewood Bait House granted people access to the rich waters surrounding our communities.
Fruitville Air Strip
For many of us, the rural origins of Sarasota County can be difficult to imagine, but early access to areas like Fruitville often relied on horses, hiking, or through small airplanes that landed on small air strips cut into the grass.
Golden Gate Point
Even some of the most densely developed areas of Sarasota County have expanded in recent years. Spoil lands like Golden Gate Point have allowed greater access to life on the water for many visitors and residents since their creation in the first decades of Sarasota County’s existence.
Once an example of simple Florida architecture, the Hermitage now serves as a place of inspiration for artists in residence. Capturing the natural beauty of Sarasota County may be impossible, but generations of artists have flocked to our beautiful county to give it their best shot.
Much of our earliest community projects were born from the many women’s clubs throughout Sarasota County. As centers for community-minded women, these early clubs have and continue to contribute greatly to our quality of life in Sarasota County.
So much of the historic preservation work in Sarasota County starts with grassroots activists and impassioned community members. The restoration of the Miakka School House is no different. Through the hard work and determination of community members, Sarasota County remains home to a variety of stunning historic sites and structures. Image courtesy of the Becky Ayech Collection, Sarasota County Historical Resources.
North Port Warm Mineral Springs Motel
Iconic architecture styles are found throughout Sarasota County, but one of the most beloved examples of Victor Lundy’s work is found in North Port at the Warm Mineral Springs Motel. An example of groundbreaking pre-cast concrete construction techniques, the hotel’s architecture seems to defy gravity and time.
North Port Warm Mineral Springs
Much of Sarasota County’s history dates back thousands of years. One prime example is Warm Mineral Springs. Not only was it a site for the first Floridians, but it also continues to be a beloved recreation area for residents of all ages.
The natural beauty of Sarasota County has drawn thousands of visitors and new residents to our shores for generations. The same indescribable beauty of Osprey drew the famous Bertha Honore Palmer to Sarasota County and led to her enduring legacy as one of our finest residents.
Sarasota - Payne Park
The role of spring training in Sarasota County’s history cannot be underestimated. From its early days drawing crowds to our humble ball parks to the establishment of Payne Park as a spring training hotspot, baseball is not only America’s pastime – it is Sarasota County’s prime time.
The everchanging coastlines of Florida continue to be some of Sarasota County’s favorite gathering places. Rich with history, areas like Venice’s North Jetty continue to be hubs of activity for residents and visitors.
Gillespie Block Building
Getting the mail delivered in a four-oxen buckboard in patron parking at the Sarasota Post Office in the Gillespie Block Building, circa 1900.
A 1930s Ford Town Sedan Model A patiently awaits the return of its beachcombing driver and passengers on beautiful Sarasota Beach, later renamed Siesta Beach.
Paranormal Sarasota - Mary’s Chapel and Cemetery at Spanish Point
Mary’s Chapel is tucked beside the Old Pioneer Cemetery beneath the tropical trees of Historic Spanish Point in Osprey. Haunting church bells chime among the mounds and middens of Aboriginal Natives as the dusk draws misty sightings of early settlers.
Paranormal Sarasota - Old North Port Library
North Port Library has a history of mysterious brief appearances by a woman materializing in a long Victorian dress in the print room of the old and new North Port Library. One glance at you and then, poof, she vanishes!