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Sarasota is Special

What Makes Sarasota So Very Special? Story 4 of 12

| Christine Baer |

We’re highlighting some very interesting historical places including Sarasota’s Civic Center and Theatre Arts District. We all love Sarasota, no doubt; now, learning about the fascinating architecture and landmarks will make our piece of paradise even more special. Check-in next week for more history! We hope you enjoy the tour!

These wonderful snippets were given to us by Paul Thorpe (Mr. Downtown) who died in the summer of 2017. He left an amazing legacy of love for family, friends and his beloved Sarasota home and we miss him.

Dr. Jack Halton Residence

Dr. Halton was Sarasota’s first surgeon. He was born in England and immigrated to Bowling Green, Ohio. Later, he relocated to Sarasota and built this house in 1909. It is known for its Transitional Queen Anne style: asymmetrical façade, second-story porch, and classical columns. It is made of pressed-stone blocks, a new concrete building material pioneered by Joseph Maus from Minneapolis. In Sarasota, Louis Houle built the first concrete block plant in 1905. This building material became widely used and can be seen throughout the city. Fire gutted the building in the 1970’s but it was restored a few years later and now home to a law firm.

First National Trust

This rare surviving example of Neo-Classical Revival architecture in Sarasota was originally the headquarters of the First National Trust Company of Sarasota, which specialized in insurance, bonds, and mortgage loans – millions of dollars contributed to the development of Sarasota during the 1920’s Land Boom. In the 1930’s, the 1586 Main building became a hardware store, contributing in a different way – provision of raw building materials – to a later phase of local development. Today, the building once again specializes in banking as the Canandaigua National Trust.

El Vernona Apartments

Built between 1925 and 1926 by developer Owen Burns. Designed by renowned architect Dwight James Baum, the furnished apartment building was named after Mr. Burns’ wife, Vernona. It is a good example of Mediterranean Revival architecture utilizing a hollow-tile block with concrete reinforcement. There were 19 deluxe furnished apartments. The total cost in 1926 was $250,000. Baum was also the architect of the Ca d’Zan Ringling home, the Sarasota County courthouse, and the Sarasota Times Building. Today it is commonly known as “The Belle Haven” and – until recently – was used as business offices.

Photos courtesy of and Sarasota History Alive website.

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