HISTORY & PRESERVATION COALITION OF SARASOTA COUNTY ANNOUNCES THE 2021 SIX TO SAVE
Spotlighting the most threatened historic properties, archaeological sites, and cultural resources in Sarasota County!
The History & Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County announces the 2nd annual Sarasota’s Six to Save program. Similar to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” and the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Florida’s 11 to Save”, the preservation community in Sarasota County wants to bring awareness to historical resources at risk. Everything from development to climate change can render a historic property in peril. The goal is to highlight six resources per year that are in most danger. The program is designed to increase the public’s awareness of the urgent need to save Sarasota County’s historic resources. Inclusion on the list is only a starting point for advocacy and education, and is intended to be part of a collaborative effort to identify solutions for each.
By recognizing the annual Six to Save, the Coalition encourages local preservation groups and community leaders to collaborate and identify solutions for each property. This list represents a variety of historical resources located throughout Sarasota County, and are not in any order of importance.
SOUTH GATE COMMUNITY CENTER
The South Gate development broke ground in 1955 in orange groves, planted by Bertha Palmer and managed by Minute Maid. In January of 1956, the developers Rolland King and Frank Smith, called a meeting to establish a community association. Notable Sarasota School Architect, Victor Lundy was hired to design the hall which is sited beautifully in relation to the pool and the Phillippi Creek on the 5 acre parcel. The Hall and the pool (the oldest continually run public pool in Sarasota) are locally designated historic structures on the County Register. Beloved by South Gate residents for mid-summer splashing, dog walking, picnics and a frequent venue for picturesque weddings and ceremonies, the Community Center lends definition and a much-needed social hub to this desirable central Sarasota neighborhood. Due to a lack of continuous funding for maintenance and repairs, the Community Association has placed the Hall for sale and is exploring the option of acquisition by the County. The future of this beautiful example of Lundy’s work remains uncertain due to rising land values and the strong arm of developers demolishing notable architecture on a regular basis.
ARLINGTON PARK NEIGHBORHOOD
The Arlington Park Neighborhood is located within the City of Sarasota and features a variety of historically significant residential structures built between 1920 and 1970. Sections of the neighborhood have been identified as eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places as well as the City of Sarasota’s Local Historic Register. Today, while retaining its rich history the Arlington Park Neighborhood is also identified as an affordable place to live. The unique character of the Arlington Park Neighborhood is at risk from investors and homebuilders who are demolishing older homes with small footprints and building large, post-Modern structures. This increase in density is making the neighborhood cost prohibitive for lower- and middle-income residents of the city while also changing the look of the neighborhood as modest homes and native habitat are replaced by concrete.
Recently a proposal for high density housing has been submitted to the City of Sarasota which would add 250 – 280 housing units on 6 acres of property in the neighborhood, a fivefold density increase over the present pattern of single-family homes on lots which average 50 feet wide by 100 feet deep.
HERALD SQUARE BUILDING
The Herald Square neighborhood was developed in the mid-1920s, and named after the original Sarasota Herald building, now the Women’s Exchange. Wedged between Pineapple Street and Orange Avenue is the Historic Pineapple Apartments, now known as the Historic Herald Square Building. Designed by Dwight James Baum in the Mediterranean Revival style, the Pineapple Apartments were built in 1926 by Owen Burns, who also developed nearby Burns Court. In 1950, an addition was built to the north of the original building. Though there has been speculation that this addition was designed by Paul Rudolph, no documentation has been found to confirm this suggestion.
Though the building has been well maintained and preserved, the historic Pineapple Apartments building is currently on the market for $3.3M. Considering the intense level of development activity occurring in the central core of the City of Sarasota, this important building is at risk of demolition.
LAMPP MOUND HOUSE
The Lampp Mound House is the site a mostly intact Native American mound in southern Sarasota County. Atop the mound sits the home of Jesse Alston Lampp, built in 1942. The Lampp family was one of the first American settlers to the Englewood region. Jesse would go on to serve as president of the Englewood Builders Association and the Englewood Cemetery Board. The mound was first recorded in 1953 and has been intact since the first disturbance which was building the house. Minor archaeological work has revealed the potential for burial sites in the mound.
Today, the Lampp Mound House is at risk from park development. Sarasota County has an interest in the property and the possible usage could be as a dog park. With the potential for significant archaeological finds at this location, any active recreational activity could accidentally disturb the site.
PHILLIPPI CREST COMMUNITY CENTER
The Phillippi Crest Community Center was constructed in 1923 as a focal point for social activities in the then newly formed Maine Colony. Now a National Historic District, the Maine Colony is a 24-acre residential neighborhood in south central Sarasota bounded by Phillippi Creek. The Community Center, a frame vernacular building clad in drop siding, features a corbelled brick chimney and a wide front porch. Inside are a large gathering space and a kitchen. The clubhouse was built just east of the Creek to take full advantage of its recreational potential, and has been the site of numerous suppers, dances, and parties for the seasonal and permanent residents who with their shared Mainer heritage, proved that Sarasota had truly grown from a small fishing village into a bustling resort town.
Due to its age, the need for maintenance and repairs has overwhelmed the volunteer base acting as stewards, and a roof replacement is needed soon. The clubhouse has continuously served the community in its recreational capacity and to this day is the social heart of this historic neighborhood.
The Caples Estate was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 as part of the Caples–Ringling Estates Historic District. It is significant for both its architecture and association with Ralph Caples, who was instrumental in bringing reliable railroad service to Sarasota and encouraging the Ringlings to relocate here. The property has been vacant and underutilized for several years. It is suffering from benign neglect. An adaptive re-use plan needs to be developed and funding sources need to be identified. New College Facilities Planning and Construction commissioned a professional report that analyzed the condition of the building in 2017. Action needs to be taken as quickly as possible to halt further deterioration.
MCCLELLAN PARK SCHOOL
This is the original clubhouse for the McClellan Park subdivision built in 1916. It was constructed on Native American mounds. Later it was adaptively reused to serve as the McClellan Park School. The building has sat vacant for over 10 years. Presently the site is not secured or maintained. HPCSC Member, Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation, featured the exterior of the building on a historic homes tour within the last ten years. As part of that undertaking, the SAHP reached out to the property owner and offered their assistance.
Old Miakka today, embodies the rural pioneer spirit that founded this county. Many of the people living in Miakka have families that lived there for generations. It is a heritage with respect of nature, self-reliance, and satisfying hard work. However, it is the last of its kind in Sarasota County—a rural community on the fringe of growing suburbanization. The area is currently at risk from a Comprehensive Plan Amendment looking to increase the density of housing allowable in half of Old Miakka. The Miakka Community Club is currently in the process of filing their own Comprehensive Plan Amendment to preserve a low-density zoning for the whole community.
Built in 1926, the Nickell Building is a contributing, but altered structure in the John Nolen Plan of Venice National Register Historic District. It was one of the original commercial buildings during the development of Venice by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. Typical of the 1920s, there were retail businesses on the first floor and residential apartments on the second floor. The building has been deteriorating due to demolition by neglect. The City of Venice Architectural Review Board has delayed demolition, pending design of a replacement building.
NONA SPRING SITE
The Nona Spring Archaeological Complex currently has no protection in place for the ecological, archaeological, and cemetery components known to be contained in the property. During nearly 14,000 years, humans have lived, loved, died, and buried their loved ones in this location. Some of the unmarked cemeteries contain hundreds of burials. The lack of a historical resources archive or a cultural resources survey has led to these archaeological sites and burial grounds being impacted by development. The site is also at risk from damage due to heavy equipment operating in the area. Although archaeological groups have expressed an interest in managing easements on the property, it will take the intervention of environmental stewardship groups to acquire the property to secure its protection.
WALTER FARLEY HOUSE
The house was designed by architect Ralph Twitchell in the Sarasota School of Architecture style for Walter Farley, famed author of the Black Stallion books. Walter and his wife Rosemary were instrumental in establishing the original Venice Public Library, now part of the Sarasota County Libraries. A commemoration of the author, the Walter Farley Literary Landmark, is exhibited in the lobby of the William H. Jervey, Jr. Venice Public Library. Ralph Twitchell was founder of the architectural style known as the Sarasota School (1941 - 1966), a regional modern American architectural style. The house is currently for sale and at risk of being demolished, as it is listed as both a house for sale and empty lot for sale. Concerned groups held an initial meeting to discuss possible ways to save this home, but there has been no follow up since.
424 ALBEE ROAD
This house is a fine example of the Tudor Revival style of architecture, which is uncommon in Florida. Built in the first half of the 20th Century, its size and scale dominates the landscape of more modern homes surrounding it. This property is also currently for sale, listed as both house for sale and empty lot for sale, with seller provided plans to build condominiums. 424 Albee Road in Nokomis is given honorable mention, as there is still much unknown about the property. The Coalition will continue to monitor the house and find more information on it in case it is added to the list next year.