What Makes Sarasota So Very Special? Story 11 of 12
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 Sarasota 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.
The Worth Building
The Worth Building, Sarasota’s oldest surviving brick building, was built by William Worth in 1912 as a grocery store and has had many colorful uses in the last century. The railroad station, built in 1920, was right across the street. In the mid 1920’s it was owned by the Taylor Grocery Company and later became a “speakeasy,” a place where you could get a REAL drink. The second floor housed a notorious brothel. The Madame’s caged booth at the top of the stairs has been preserved. With all this funny business going on, the town fold just looked the other way. The building was totally renovated in 1988 and now is The Gator Club, a popular nightspot.
The Federal Building
The Federal Building is a significant example of the neo-classical Revival style and WPA-funded architecture in Depression-era Sarasota. Constructed in 1932, the Federal Building – like the Municipal Auditorium – was a WPA project that represents a fourth phase in local development: post-Boom growth that was heralded by the arrival of the S.E. Kress Company in 1931. The Federal Building was originally constructed as a U.S. Post Office site, using the then-innovative materials aluminum and marble. At the time of construction, it was lauded by the press for its state-of-the-art modern plumbing, heating and ventilation.
Visit us at our Visitor Center on Main Street. Once a Firestone garage, this historic building now holds a wealth of visitor information. In this space they were open six days a week and can help you find things to do as well as places to eat and stay. The Visitor Center is now located in our local Chamber of Commerce building: 1945 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota, FL 34236. Check their website for hours of operation.
Photos courtesy Sarasota History Alive