1910 - 1940





The first Federal Census of the town of Sarasota reports 840 men, women and children live in the town.

Passage of Sarasota's first Curfew Law requiring all youths under 16 years of age to be home by 8 p.m. (April 5)

Mrs. C.V.S. Wilson (Rose) becomes publisher of the Sarasota Times upon the death of her husband

Street widening project on Main St. yields Indian bones, beads, pottery, and five skulls. (May 28)

Blackburn opens his three story cement block building. (July 1)

Electric power is turned on from dusk to midnight, but no lights on moonlit nights.

King George V of England becomes King after the death of his father King Edward VII.

A "new nationalism" speech by former president Roosevelt advocates control of trusts, graduated income tax, labor protection, conservation and a strong military.

Black musicians write, promote and perform ragtime, blues, and the new "jass."

NAACP is formed for universal political and civil equality.

Haley's comet returns.

England first sees some paintings of the French Post-Impressionists.


Celery is important agricultural crop. Refrigerated railroad cars are loaded at Bee Ridge Rd.

Citizens Bank of Sarasota is organized. (March 7).

Town voters approve $20,000 bond issue for building water works and sewage system.

Board of Trade is organized in Sarasota with Owen Burns elected president.

An early train wreck - the Seaboard train from Venice strikes several cows as it enters the corporate limits of town, suffering derailment. (October 27) Similar one happens in 1916. See photo of Seaboard train.

Sarasota Cigar Company opens on Fifth Street (5th St. is now called Golf Street).

Revolution in China, emperor is deposed, Yat-sen establishes a republic.

U.S. renews its commercial treaty with Japan.

First model of atomic structure is made in Britain by Ernest Rutherford.

Standard Oil loses Supreme Court antitrust suit.

1912 John Ringlings buy the C.N.Thompson home at Shell Beach from Ralph Caples.

Tonnelier Bldg. is built. Three stories high, it houses the Palms Hotel & Theater. It is advertised as the town's first fireproof bldg.

Great Livestock Referendum--Citizens of Sarasota vote to expel livestock from roaming city streets. (August 28) View from over Main Street.

Phone lines are extended to Siesta Key.

Community of Bee Ridge gets its own post office. (August 29)

British ocean liner Titanic sinks. (April 14)

Maria Montessori of Italy pioneers new ideas about education, as does John Dewey.

Woodrow Wilson wins 3 party presidential election over Taft and Teddy Roosevelt.

New Mexico and Arizona become states.

The first train arrives in Key West.

1913 Sarasota High School opens on Main St. for 350 students.

Siesta Bathing Beach on north end of Siesta Key opens to the public for the first time. (July 24)

Charles Ringling buys property next to his brother's on Shell  Beach.

First airplane arrives in Sarasota from St. Petersburg. Pilot: Tony Jannus of Benoist Co. Flight takes 20 min. (April 9 ) See similar seaplane.

Public Works Day (November 6) creates park on S. Gulfstream.

Florida Legislature passes a special act to incorporate Sarasota as a city: it is to become effective January 1, 1914. 

The Armory Show opens in NYC and other towns introducing the US masses to Cubist and Expressionist artists (e.g. Picasso, Matisse and Duchamps) along with American artists such as Mary Cassat.

Income Tax (16th) Amendment) becomes law.

Diesel engines replace steam engines on many railroads.

The book, Pollyanna, is written by Eleanor H. Porter.

1914 See new Board of Trade  Brochure, Photo 2, Photo 3

Board of Trade publishes guide to hotels in Sarasota. (Photos Behrens Col.) Belle Haven Inn, Seaboard House, Hotel Weiden.

A.B. Edwards is elected first mayor of city.

See the Seaboard Air Line Railway Depot

Myakka School is built, the first school in county funded by local bond issue.

WWI starts with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria.

Henry Ford starts mass-production of the Model T car.

America is in a dance craze. The Castles introduce the fox trot and the Castle walk.

1915 Woman's Club is the center of Sarasota women's social and civic life. (Florida Studio Theater now.)

Fire burns Palm Hotel, Lord Building on Main St., and Tonnelier Building, as well as Palms Theater, Western Union office, a bakery, and Dr. Joseph Halton's office. (March 8)

Sarasota, Venice, and Osprey voters vote to issue $250,000 in bonds to pave roads to connect the three towns. (March 16)

First fire engine arrives. (April 27) See the firemen of Sarasota.

See a souvenir of Sarasota, Photo 2

Laurel Post Office officially opens. (July 5)

Siesta Key Post Office.

Bertha Palmer introduces the new idea of cattle dipping to prevent tick fever at her Meadowsweet Farm along Myakka River.

Sinking of the Lusitania. (May 7)

Birth control and family planning are advocated by Margaret Sanger.

Moving pictures "Birth of a Nation" (D.W. Griffith) and "the Tramp" (Charles Chaplin) each premier.

Popular song of the year is "I Did Not Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier."

A crowd of 25,000 women march in NYC demanding the right to vote.

1916 Genevieve Higel is crowned first queen of Sara DeSoto Carnival. (March 24) See the Parade - Photo1 - Photo 2

Sarasota Ice and Power Co. initiates the first day-time electrical service by turning on daytime power for four hours, two mornings a week, thus making home ironing possible during the day. (June 9)

Edson Keith home built on Phillippi Creek. Later becomes county-owned Phillippi Estate Park.

Bertha Palmer builds Eagle Point as a winter hunting and fishing camp on Roberts Bay.

Jeanette Rankin is first woman elected to Congress.

Norman Rockwell's first cover appears on "The Saturday Evening Post" magazine.

Easter Rebellion in Ireland fails to gain independence from Britain.

Wilson wins narrow presidential victory.

U.S. National Park Service created.

1917 Siesta Key Bridge officially opens. (May 1)

Third Division Battalion Florida Naval Militia trains here. These men were from Sarasota. They left in April to join the war. Pictured in front of Armory (Sarasota Automobile and Yacht Club on N. Gulfstream Ave.)

Naval Newspaper Article. Hard to read - try this version.

Congress votes to declare War on Germany. (April 6)

Florida is scene of training for World War I fighting men, particularly aviators, as weather permits year-round activity. Carlstrom Field in Arcadia is one of the training fields used.

Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, under Lenin, begins first communist state.

1918 Sarasota's first airstrip is built near Fruitville Road. It is built to be an emergency landing strip for the Army pilots training at Carlstrom Field in Arcadia.(January 3)

Manatee County men are required to register for the draft.

Bertha Palmer dies at her home in Osprey.

Public functions, schools, churches, and theaters close as influenza epidemic infects hundreds of people. Three die in Sarasota. (October 17)

Woodmere, a company town, is established around the Manasota Lumber Company sawmill, south of Venice.

After campaign by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, Sarasota votes 58 to 21 to approve the 18th Amendment, aimed at National Prohibition. (November 4)

Newspaper error prompts Sarasota to celebrate the end of WWI pre-maturely. (November 8) See picture of Armistice celebration.

Sedition Act forbids speech against America or war. High anti-German fervor with book burning and bond sales.

World-wide influenza epidemic starts--eventually claiming 22 million people.

Carl Sandburg wins Pulitzer Prize in poetry with "Corn Huskers."

Babe Ruth wins two World Series games for Boston.

Armistice signed, ending WWI. (November 11)

1919 Great Florida Land Boom begins.

The Board of  Trade reorganizes as the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

Housed in the Badger Pharmacy building, the telephone company lays over 100 miles of new line to replace old type of grounded lines. Two were strung to Osprey, one to Venice, and one to Manasota, a lumber camp south of Venice.

Formation of the League of Nations, an international congress to promote peace. Later called the United Nations.

The first performance of the combined Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus--The Greatest Show on Earth is held at Madison Square Garden in NYC. (March 29.)

The Chicago White Sox lose the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds but with much controversy.

1920 The "Tin Can Tourists of the World"  visit Sarasota in the winter.

Dr. Fred Albee buys large tracts of land in Nokomis and Venice areas.

Some of the perils of traveling by car.

The city of Sarasota has a population of 2,149.

Women in the U. S. win the right to vote. Congress passes the 19th Amendment (June 4.)

Sacco and Vanzetti are arrested for payroll murders in Mass. (April 25)

Women vote for the first time in a national election, Harding wins.

Era of American free-verse and modernist poets: Robert Frost, Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot.

1921 Prominent citizen, Harry Higel, is murdered on Midnight Pass Road. (Jan.6)

Sarasota County separates from Manatee County. (July 1) Read Sarasota Times. See Telegram.

New Sarasota County residents celebrate with a parade.

Huge hurricane hits Sarasota removing old docks, wharves, and boathouses from bay front. (October 22)

Everett Bacon is elected Mayor of Sarasota. Serves 5 two-year terms.


Warren Harding inaugurated, his speech on radio.

Official formation of Charlotte County. (April 23)

National immigration quota system adopted. (May 19)

Taft is appointed Chief Justice, Supreme Court.

1922 Florida and Sarasota are packed with land speculators.

Read about Sarasota County - Land of Opportunities & Resources.  See the cover (front & back).

First locally-owned airplane arrives in Sarasota flown by John Browning, son of one of the original Scottish settlers. (July 29)

Builder Andrew McAnsh completes the Mira Mar Apartments after 60 days of 24 hour effort. (November 28)

See the picture of the "Laurel Colored School" with mothers and babies.

Albee's Pollyanna Inn opens in Nokomis.


Mahatma Ghandi is sentenced to 6 years for civil disobedience.

Oil is discovered in Venezuela.

Fascists under Mussolini seize power in Italy.

Gertrude Stein entertains Americans abroad such as Hemingway and William Carlos Williams  in her Paris home.

Harding orders U.S. troops home from Rhineland.

1923 Mira Mar Hotel is built next to the apartments.

Col. John Gillespie dies while on the golf course.
(September 7)

Public Works Day is called to create fairgrounds and prepare the ball diamond at Payne Park for the New York Giants' arrival. (Sept. 27)


First sound-on-film motion picture, "Phonofilm"; Rivoli Theatre, NYC.

Tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypt is discovered by Howard Carter.

Calvin Coolidge becomes president after the death of Warren Harding.

1924 New York Giants begin training in Sarasota.

Atlantic Coast Line initiates passenger service to Sarasota from Bradenton and points north.

The Out of Door School is founded on Siesta Key as a progressive day and resident school for boys and girls 3 to 16 years old.

Sarasota's first public hospital (temporary) opens with a capacity of six patients, located at the corner of Third and Goodrich. (December 4)

Florida land sales boom.

Congress approves giving citizenship to all Indians. (June 15)

Douglas Fairbanks stars in "The Thief of Bagdad."

Lenin dies, Stalin takes over.

J. Edgar Hoover is appointed head of F.B.I.

Best selling books are The Boston Cooking School Cookbook, Etiquette by Emily Post, and So Big by Edna Ferber.

1925 The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers purchases land from Dr. Fred Albee and hires city planner John Nolen to complete a design for the city of Venice.

Legislature approves plans to create the towns of Venice and Vamo. City of Sarasota area is expanded from 25 to 69 square miles. (November 21)

Dr. Fred Albee organizes the Venice-Nokomis Bank in Nokomis.

Formation of Jewish Community Center of Sarasota. (December 8)

Principal Emma E. Booker leads black students from the Knights of Pythias Building to the new Sarasota Grammar School on 7th St.

Sarasota Hospital on Hawthorne dedicated as Sarasota's first permanent hospital .

Sarasota Herald is founded by David B. Lindsay.

John Ringling starts to collect paintings.

Work begins on Nokomis Elementary School.

See Mr. Lowe's first Yellow Cab.

See view of Sarasota City Hall with pier.

Teacher John Scopes is tried in  Dayton, Tenn. for teaching the theory of evolution. 

Theories of quantum mechanics by Heisenberg and Schrodinger.

First Guggenheim Fellowship is awarded to American composer Aaron Copland.

The Charleston becomes the popular dance.

Female fashions feature straight dresses without waistlines, hemlines above the knee, cloche hats,  and bobbed hair.

US Golf Association Amateur championship won by Bobby Jones.

Solar eclipse in New York is first in 300 years.

Notre Dame defeats Stanford, 27-10, in Rose Bowl football game.

1926 Venice incorporates as a city; Edward L. Worthington is the first mayor.( See building Venice Ave.) Hotel Park View is built by The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.

Ringling Causeway, wood-planked bridge, is completed. Built by John Ringling to provide access to his real estate properties which include Bird Key, St. Armands, Lido and Longboat Keys.

Edwards Theatre opens on North Pineapple Ave.

John Ringling begins construction on never completed Ritz Carlton Hotel on the southern end of Longboat Key. (March 15) See this artist's rendering. View from never completed Ritz Carlton taken from the 1950's

Official opening of the Sarasota Terrace Hotel built by Charles Ringling; later becomes the Sarasota Motor Hotel, now the Sarasota County Terrace Building -- corner of Ringling Blvd. and N. Washington. (June 24)

Work begins on Bay Haven Elementary School.

Work begins on Sarasota High School on South Tamiami Trail.

Work begins on Southside Elementary School.

El Vernona Hotel (later John Ringling Hotel, then later called the John Ringling Towers) is built by Owen Burns and named for his wife.

Ca' d' Zan. is built by John Ringling at at cost of $1.5 million.
See construction photos - 1 - 2  Dwight Baum,  the architect, completes the Venetian style home in time for the holidays.


Ernest Hemingway publishes The Sun Also Rises.

First transatlantic phone call is made.

Gertrude Ederle swims the English Channel.

First liquid fuel rocket is demonstrated by Robert H. Goddard; Ashburn, MA. (March 16)

Sound motion pictures and television are demonstrated.

Silent screen star Rudolph Valentino dies; 100,000 attend his funeral.

Magician Harry Houdini dies.

Hirohito becomes Japanese Emperor.

Florida land boom collapses.

John Ringling purchases the Rubens cartoons in Germany and England.  See an invoice for painting restoration and freight from Lucerne Fine Art Co.

1927 John Ringling begins building a $2.5 million art museum to house his $16 million art collection. John H. Phillips is the architect of the Italian palazzo-style building.

The Sarasota Garden Club is founded "to create a more beautiful Sarasota."  Mrs. John Ringling is its first president.

Bobby Jones cuts the ribbon in dedication ceremonies for Sarasota's new municipal golf course. He plays the opening round on the course, scores the lowest score of the day (a 73). The course was later named after him.

First live radio broadcast from Sarasota, WDAE in Tampa. (February 14)

City council passes ordinance prohibiting moving pictures, plays, vaudeville acts, or other amusement on Sundays. (June 27)

Ringling starts drilling for oil in south Sarasota County.

The Salvation Army establishes a post in small room on Main.

John Ringling brings the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey  Circus to Sarasota for its winter quarters, northeast of the intersection of Beneva and Fruitville roads.

U.S. Golf Association Amateur championship is won by Bobby Jones.

Charles Lindbergh flies first solo nonstop flight from New York to Paris. (May 20-21)

"Talking pictures" begin with The Jazz Singer, NYC. (October 6)

Slow fox trot is the fashionable dance.

Babe Ruth hits 60 home runs for the New York Yankees.

Holland Tunnel linking New Jersey and New  York opens for car traffic.

Popular New York shows: Funny Face by George Gershwin, Showboat by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, A Connecticut Yankee by Richard Rodgers and   Lorenz Hart.  

1928 Tamiami Trail to Miami opens.

The American National Bank is the first in a string of bank failures.

Work begins on Englewood Elementary School.

Work begins on Laurel Elementary School.

WJBB, Sarasota's first radio station, owned and operated by the Chamber of Commerce, begins broadcasting from the Sarasota Terrace Hotel.  The Chamber sends citrus to people who hear the broadcast from the greatest distance.  Letters come from as far away as Saskatchewan and Hawaii. See  ad for radio station WJBB

The Plaza Restaurant on First Street opens and later becomes the gathering place for business people and artists and writers.

Read about the history of Blacks and the Ringling Circus. See the trains.

Amelia Earhart is first women to fly Atlantic.

Hoover wins presidential election.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead writes book about the Samoans.

1929 Skeleton believed to be 20,000 years old is discovered during excavation near Phillippi Creek. (May 4)

Palmer National Bank opens for business in the vacant America National Bank building and soon moves to its permanent location at Five Points.

P.T.A.was organized to benefit county students. Projects included getting heating systems for the schools, a county school nurse, and later, a milk fund and soup kitchen for needy children.

The Players, an amateur theatrical group, is born in an abandoned caddie house of the Siesta Key Gulf Club.

Palmer Experimental Farms after much study determines that celery is the best market crop for growing in the Fruitville area. See the muckmobile used in the fields.

Municipal Airport opens north of Fruitville and west of Beneva roads across from the circus winter quarters.


Saint Valentine's Day Massacre; Chicago, IL (February 14)

Mable Burton Ringling dies in NYC. (June 8)

Stock-market crash. (October 29)

Great Depression throughout the United States and world-wide economic crisis during the 1930s.

Penicillin is discovered by Alexander Fleming.

1930 Ringling Art  Museum opens. (March 30)

The Sarasota County population is 12,220.


Unemployment passes 4 million.

Haile Selassie becomes Emperor of Ethiopia.

Emergency Public Works Act provides $116 million.

John Ringling marries Emily Haag Buck in NJ.

Era of Jazz and Big Band; Duke Ellington, Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong

1931 Luke Wood Park is given to city of Sarasota  by Mr. Wood in lieu of back taxes.

John and Mable Ringling Junior College and School of Art is established in new Bay Haven Hotel.

British free Gandhi, on hunger strike and agree to discuss his demands.

Empire State Building opens in NYC.

National Geographic Magazine in its Oct. issue features the Ringling-Barnum show in the article "The Land of Sawdust and Spangles."

1932 Alex Browning, a Scottish colonist whose architectural style was reflected in early buildings here, dies. 

S.H. Kress building opens on Main St. in Sarasota.

Charles Lindbergh, Jr. is kidnapped.

Zuider Zee drainage project is finished in Holland. 

1933 Boston Red Sox chooses Sarasota for spring training.

Kentucky Military Institute opens its first winter semester in Venice, occupying the vacant Venice Hotel and San Marco Hotel.

Due to Depression, Sarasota Public Schools close except for tuition paying students.

Ringling Bank goes into voluntary liquidation; Edith Ringling (Charles' wife) pays off   $250,000 to depositors with her personal funds.

Dr. Fred Albee opens the Florida Medical Center in the former Park View Hotel in Venice.

See a Sarasota Visitor's Guide.

 All banks closed by order of President Roosevelt. ( March 6)

Special Congressional session passes New Deal measures to promote economic recovery.

Prohibition ends as 21st Amendment is ratified.

1934 State acquires 17,000 acres from Mrs. Potter Palmer's family to create Myakka River State Park. The Civilian Conservation Corps begins building the park.1, 2, 3

New neo-classical Sarasota Post Office is opened on South Orange Ave.

U.S. Gold Reserve Act authorizes the president to revalue the dollar.

Hitler and Mussolini meet in Venice, Italy.

1935 Ringling Junior College becomes Ringling School of Art. Read about its history written by Robert Perkins.

First class of seniors (four) graduates  from Booker High School.

Forty WPA workers are put to work cleaning Bobby Jones Golf Course.

Storm sweeping mid-section of Florida Keys claims 400 lives.

Social Security Act is passed by Congress.

C.F. Richter devises the scale for measuring earthquakes.

1936 Death of John Ringling (December2)

The Players  holds open house.

"Tin Can Tourists" camp out in Sarasota.

Bolder Dam is completed.

King George V of England dies and is succeeded by his son Edward the VIII.

1937 Poll Tax is abolished as prerequisite to voting.

National Airline begins first regular service to and from Sarasota.

Verman Kimbrough is elected mayor of Sarasota.

The Smack Restaurant is started at Osprey and Highway 41 (now Main St.)

Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan are lost.( July 2)

Nylon is patented.

First jet engine is built.

Insulin is used to control diabetes.

1938 Municipal Auditorium with Hazzard Fountain is opened (A WPA project.)

Sarasota Herald purchases the Sarasota Daily Tribune and the newspaper becomes known as Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

National Minimum Wage Law is passed.

Vitamin E is chemically identified.

1939 Lido Beach Casino is built.(A WPA project, Ralph Twitchell, Architect) Exterior View - With Teens - Interior View   New York World's Fair opens.
1940 Federal census 16,106.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens opens. See resident flamingos.

Work begins on Fruitville School.

U.S. sells "surplus" war material to Britain.

First peacetime draft is approved.