Thursday, March 02, 2006


The Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation is proud to present the 16th Annual Historic Homes Tour on Sunday March 5 from 11 AM to 5 PM.

The five homes featured on the tour are located in historic Laurel Park. Laurel Park, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city of Sarasota, is pursuing National Historic Designation and has been working closely with the Alliance for support in their efforts to maintain the streetscape and original character of their neighborhood.

“At the Alliance, we felt the timing was right to support their efforts and bring the communities attention to the value of this colorful neighborhood.” says Alliance President, David Jennings, of the decision to showcase only Laurel Park homes on this years tour.

1841 Oak Street
This two story Dutch colonial was moved to its present location from 17th Street in 1933 by then owner John Early. Early was a longtime Sarasota attorney who over the course of his career served as mayor of the city of Sarasota and as Sarasota’s first municipal judge. The home has been beautifully restored by the current owners.

642 Ohio Place
Owned by Michele Mancini, a well know designer and purveyor of vintage fabrics marketed under the company name of “Full Swing Textiles”. Mancini’s work has been featured in Metropolitan Home, Elle and the New York Times. She has recently co-authored a book entitled Fabulous Fabrics of the 50’s. Samples of her work will be on display in this charming 1920’s bungalow.

1716 Oak Street
This craftsman style bungalow has been historically designated as the Ella Dula Westermann Tenant house. A two story garage addition has recently been completed. It illustrates how infill construction can be done with sensitivity to an existing historic resource.

1675 Oak Street
Another historically designated home, the Jerome K. Martin House was named after the man who built it. Martin, one of three sons of well known Sarasota architect Thomas Reed Martin, was associated with his father for many years as a supervising architect.

1637 Oak Street
Historically designated in the 1980’s, the boom time, Mediterranean Revival style Spanish Oaks Apartments were historically known as Katahdin Court, presumably deriving its name from the mountain peak in Maine. Two apartments at Spanish Oaks will be open for viewing.

The $20 tickets can be purchase in advance at Davidson Drugs, Main Books, The Sarasota County History Center, Sarasota Architectural Salvage and Historic Spanish Point. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the tour at any of the tour homes.

The mission of the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation is to preserve and enhance our historic places. We invite you to celebrate Sarasota’s rich architectural heritage and diversity by visiting these beautiful homes in Laurel Park. For more information, call the Alliance at 953-8727.

Bonus Tour

Concurrent with the tour sponsored by the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation, some hardworking residents of the neighborhood are planning to conduct a walking tour of some additional historic properties in Laurel Park.

Walking tour houses will all be marked by balloons and roped off from the Sidewalk, so that people don't get confused about which houses are open.

About 400 copies of the tour itinerary will be printed. Chilled water available for sale and t-shirts for donations (look for this at the park or Melody's Day Spa).

Tables and chairs will be set up in the park for those who want to rest or picnic.

Special thanks go to Jolie McInnis, Jude Levy, and Deb Dart for their efforts!

Properties to be includes in this walking tour are:

1840 Oak Street: 1939 frame vernacular. This house was a duplicate of the demonstration home in the 1940 New York World’s Fair Town of Tomorrow. French windows and doors, double hung windows, and two porches give the house an open feel. The house also has an open floor plan, considered very innovative at the time.

1876 Oak Street: Dr. Walter C. Kennedy house, c. 1926 Mediterranean revival. This is the only house listed on the National Historic Register (34 others qualify for such designation). The house was designed by noted New York and Sarasota architect Dwight James Baum who came to Sarasota to design the Ringling’s mansion, Ca' d' Zan, and was built by Owen Burns as part of his Washington Park subdivision. It has hollow clay tile walls, Spanish Mission tile and asphalt roof, and pecky cypress throughout.

527 Madison Court: 1925 Mediterranean revival. One of four duplexes built by Woods & Schneider Contractors for R.R. Rhodes and Dr. Wallace Barr of Bowling Green, Kentucky (two on either side of the street). They all had the same interior layout but with slightly different street facades. All but 527 a re now single family homes. Note the brick peeking through the asphalt on this street.

1927 Laurel Street: Katie Hale home, c. 1926 frame vernacular. The first owner of this house was Katie Mae Hale, the wife of local builder/developer Henry Hale. They lived at 326 Ohio, also on the walking tour. She sold this house in 1937. Note the decorative milled sunburst motif at the gable peak of the porch roof. This motif is derived from the late 19th Century English Arts and Crafts movement.

1936 Morrill Street: The Kimmel-Chapman house, c.1925 bungalow. The first known resident was J.G. Kimmel, a civil engineer for the Palmer Corporation, who worked on the Sarasota-Fruitville and Hyde Park drainage projects. The Chapmans owned the house for 61 years. The columns and porch were added in 2000, a sensitive - neighborhood friendly - addition.

320-326 Ohio Place: c. 1925 bungalow and Mediterranean revival. Homes of developers/contractors Bernard Rhodes (320) and Henry Hale (326), who built numerous other buildings in the neighborhood, including the Mediterranean revival style apartments across the street at 325 Ohio Place, 404 S. Osprey, 1759 Morrill, and 1685 Laurel Street (now remodeled.)

542 Ohio Place: c. 1941 frame vernacular. This is the Laurel Park house most recently designated with the City of Sarasota as historically significant. Sixteen other houses are locally designated and 75 are eligible. A typical World War II era cottage, its distinctive architectural features include the corner windows and hip roof design. Two additions to the residence were made in the 50s to accommodate a growing family and to create the look of the latest style in home building--the ranch house.

1702 Laurel Street: 1926 Mediterranean revival. Built by the original congregation of the Seventh Day Adventist using architectural plans that many other churches across the state also used. Preserved as a private home in 2003.

1677 Laurel Street: c. 1890 folk Victorian. Local lore has it that this home was built on Gulfstream Avenue facing the bayfront and moved to this site in the 1920s to make room for a large boom time era home. At some point in the 20s, the house belonged to a tombstone carver who left a selection of unclaimed markers under the house. The current owners, as children, were certain the house was built on a cemetery.

1630 Laurel Street: c. 1925 craftsman bungalow. Note the massive boxed columns, casement windows, and wide eaves with exposed rafter ends. The Cuban Laurel is estimated to be over 100 years old. (The interior still has the original wood floors and fireplace.) The adjacent street, Rawls Avenue, is brick below the asphalt. We hope to see these streets return to their original brick in the future.

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