Thursday, March 01, 2007

17TH ANNUAL SARASOTA HISTORIC HOMES TOUR

The Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation is proud to present the 17th Annual Historic Homes Tour on Sunday, March 4th from 11 AM to 5 PM.

This year’s tour will feature five delightful residences within their neighborhood context. Neighborhoods are an important part of Sarasota’s historical setting and help to define our city’s character, beauty and unique identity. Two homes are located in the Avondale Neighborhood, south of Hudson Bayou, and another three in the Grove Heights neighborhood.

“Teardown of historic homes has plagued the nation’s urban areas and affects us in Sarasota as well” states Alliance President, Christopher Wenzel on the decision to emphasize the neighborhood theme. “One by one, teardowns and larger scale replacements take an individual pearl from our string of pearls.”

1905 Alta Vista Street
The William and Bessie Pearsall House is a two story Mediterranean Style residence. Designed and built by local prominent architect Thomas Reed Martin in 1925, the home reflects the style and living standard of the time. It also embodies the history of economic expansion in the city of Sarasota. In 1928, the Pearsalls lost the home to foreclosure. The home was then sold to William and Emma Geiger and Bessie Pearsall transferred the furnishings of the house to the Geigers for $700.

1124 Brewer Place
This two story bungalow design features Moorish and Italianate influences – most notably the large square tower and parapet of the front fa├žade. The building is thought to have been constructed for utility purposes, serving either as a pump house or fire station in the 1930’s and 40’s. An early plat map of the Avondale Subdivision shows the undersized lot between adjacent corner lots on the block adding to the theory it was not originally intended as a residence.

1828 Grove Street
The Edward H. Knight Residence is a one story wood frame bungalow with detached garage. Possibly moved to the property, the residence appears on the 1936 tax rolls when the property ownership was transferred from Ella Cobb to Edward Knight. Ella Cobb is thought to have been the wife of real estate developer, J. Paul Cobb, brother of the illustrious baseball player, Ty Cobb. An interesting feature of the home is beneath the trap door in the rear hallway. It leads to a small concrete room that was once a cistern for the collection of rainwater.

1936 Grove Street
This 1925 one story bungalow with detached garage, known as the Westmore Tenant house and Smith brewer Home, a Spanish eclectic style residence incorporates qualities of Spanish, Colonial, Byzantine, Moorish, Mission and Italianate styles. It represents the American democratic ideal of the emerging middle class, providing quality low-cost housing with excellent craftsmanship.

1919 Grove Street
The Ryan Garner Residence, a one story cross gabled Spanish bungalow, represents typical home construction during the Florida Land Boom. The home was purchased in 1926, following the October hurricane, by the family of Dan Ryan, a mortgage broker from Cleveland, Ohio. Other prominent local owners of the property include Frank Binz, Jr. of Binz and Lambert Construction and Edgar Allen Garner, who served as Chief of Police for the City of Sarasota from 1933 to 1949. Interior furnishings are exquisite and the home was recently featured in “Romantic Living” magazine.

The $20 tickets can be purchased in advance at Davidson Drugs, Main Books, Sarasota News and 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 their historic neighborhoods. For more information, call the Alliance at 941-953-8727.

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