Sarasota Historical Buildings Tour, Sarasota

Sarasota Historical Buildings Tour (Self Guided), Sarasota

Many of the historical buildings in Sarasota are located in the downtown area and most of them are in the Mediterranean revival style. Some of these buildings were designed by the well-known local architect Thomas Reed Martin. Martin designed some 500 residential and public buildings in Sarasota and had a huge impact on the area's architectural style in the early 20th century.

Following this self-guided walking tour, you'll get to see some of the finest historical buildings in downtown Sarasota.
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Sarasota Historical Buildings Tour Map

Guide Name: Sarasota Historical Buildings Tour
Guide Location: USA » Sarasota (See other walking tours in Sarasota)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Author: brian
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • U.S. Post Office - Federal Building
  • Roth Cigar Factory
  • American National Bank Building
  • Florida Studio Theatre
  • Frances-Carlton Apartments
  • F. A. DeCanizares Residence
  • L. D. Reagin House
  • Sarasota Times Building
  • The Gompertz Theatre
  • Sarasota Opera House
  • Dr. Joseph Halton House
  • Chidsey Library
  • Municipal Auditorium
U.S. Post Office - Federal Building

1) U.S. Post Office - Federal Building

Located on South Orange Avenue, the U.S. Post Office was built in 1934. The building was designed by Louis A. Simon and George Albee Freeman and is in the Classical Revival style with two floors. It was the last building to be designed by Freeman. The building was added to the National Register in 1984.
Roth Cigar Factory

2) Roth Cigar Factory

The Roth Cigar Factory is a historic site in Sarasota, Florida located at 30 Mira Mar Court. The building operated as a cigar factory for Edward and Michael Roth from 1923 to 1938. On March 22, 1984, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Cigar making in Sarasota began in 1911 with the founding of Sarasota Cigar Company. By 1913, a second cigar company, Roth Cigar Factory, was established in the city. The company was owned and operated by two brothers: Edward and Michael Roth. The brothers began their cigar production at a factory and newsstand located at 220 Main Street.

In 1920, Edward Roth acquired land for a separate cigar factory. The building was constructed in 1922 and completed the following year—the same time as the nearby Mira Mar Apartments (DeMarcay Hotel) and Mira Mar Hotel, buildings that were all designed by Thomas Reed Martin. Cigars were produced at the factory and then sold at the main store nearby, located at 214 Main Street. The building was used until 1938 when it was vacated and the cigar company relocated to Pineapple Avenue nearby.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
American National Bank Building

3) American National Bank Building

The American National Bank building was opened in 1925 and was actively used during the next twenty years. Also known as Orange Blossom Hotel, it was designed by Francis Palmer and is in the Classical Revival style with a stucco and concrete building.
Florida Studio Theatre

4) Florida Studio Theatre

Florida Studio Theater or FST was initially the clubhouse of The Women's Club of Sarasota. It was opened in 1915 and is part of a small group of Sarasota Tudor structures. In '79 the club moved out of the building which then housed the Florida Studio Theater. The building is in the traditional Mediterranean Revival style. It is a non-profit theater that produces contemporary plays, with 25,000 subscribers a year, more than any theatre its size in the country. It has been in operation since 1973 and currently serves over 160,000 attendees per year. Its major programs include the Mainstage Series, the Cabaret Series, Stage III, New Play Development, and WRITE A PLAY.

The FST campus is a village of theatres and performances spaces. These spaces include the historic Keating and Gompertz Theatres, the Parisian-style Goldstein Cabaret, the John C. Court Cabaret and The Green Room café and bar. FST’s education program offers over 20 classes weekly for both children and adults. Classes are offered each week in theatre, dance and music. FST also provides community outreach programs for the financially disadvantaged, physically and mentally challenged youth and nursing home residents. Florida Studio Theatre provides a Children and Adult Scholarship Program for about 15 percent of all participants with full or partial tuition waivers.

The Florida Studio Theatre Cabaret series opened in 1996 and now houses both musical and improvisation performances. The program focuses on celebrating the lyric poets of our time, as well as presenting social and political satire. The Cabaret caters to the creation of new work and has produced 40 world premieres.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Frances-Carlton Apartments

5) Frances-Carlton Apartments

The Frances-Carlton Apartments were built in 1920 by Alex Browning, a Scottish colonist. The building was designed by architect Francis James and is in the Classical Revival style. It is named after Browning's wife and son.
F. A. DeCanizares Residence

6) F. A. DeCanizares Residence

The F. A. De Canizares Residence started as a wooden structure. Later on, in 1925, it was moved to 1215 North Palm Avenue and was redesigned by Thomas Reed Martin. It features a Mediterranean Revival style.
L. D. Reagin House

7) L. D. Reagin House

The L.D. Reagin House is a historic house in Sarasota. It is located on North Palm Avenue. On October 25, 1984, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It was built by prominent local architect, Thomas Reed Martin.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Sarasota Times Building

8) Sarasota Times Building

The Sarasota Times Building is a historic site in Sarasota, located at 1214-1216 1st Street. On March 22, 1984, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The three-story asymmetrically-massed, stucco and cast stone facade, Mediterranean Revival structure was designed by architect Dwight James Baum. It is significant to Sarasota's heritage for its role as a newspaper established in 1899, and also for its architectural merits.

The design of the Times Building is one of Mr. Baum's most successful; the variety of architectural elements, including the use of three different door types and enframements on the ground floor elevation of the Times Building is particularly effective on a relatively small-scaled building. Following the crash of the land prices and the onset of the Depression, the Sarasota Times newspaper went into receivership. The Times Building was subsequently used as the office of the "Tree-Ripe Citrus Products, Inc. which was owned and operated by Mr. Owen Burns.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
The Gompertz Theatre

9) The Gompertz Theatre

The Gompertz is located on First Street and was built in 1920. Initially the building housed the Park-Seventh Movie House. During the Depression the building was closed. Over the years, it housed a number of different businesses like The Playhouse and Asolo Theater. At present, the Florida Studio Theater uses the building for its shows.
Sarasota Opera House

10) Sarasota Opera House

Your evenings in Sarasota can be as spectacular as your days. To experience pure elegance in the heart of downtown Sarasota, catch an opera or a live concert at the Sarasota Opera House. Have dinner in a nearby restaurant, walk to the opera house, and enjoy a wonderful evening. You can also have drinks in the outdoor courtyard.

The Opera House, previously known as the Edwards Theatre, opened to the public in 1926. The place became a popular entertainment venue with famous performers of the day, such as the vaudeville performer and actor Will Rogers and Ziegfeld Follies Broadway shows. Elvis Presley performed a concert there in 1956. Over the years, it changed management, and it finally closed in 1973.

By the late 1970s, however, opera started to take off in Sarasota. And in 1979, the Asolo Opera Guild decided to purchase Edwards Theatre, renovate it, and rename it the Sarasota Opera House.

Today, the Opera House seats 1,119 in an intimate setting. The Sarasota Opera has performed all of Giuseppe Verdi’s operas, the works of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini and French composer Georges Bizet. And for visitors worried about not understanding Italian or French opera, there are English subtitles above the stage.

Besides opera, you can also watch ballet performances, rock concerts, or orchestra renditions.
Dr. Joseph Halton House

11) Dr. Joseph Halton House

Dr. Joseph Halton House is located on Coconut Avenue and was built in 1910 by Joseph S. Maus. It boasts a Transitional Queen Anne style with two floors and an artificial stone front. It is a good example of the earliest houses to make heavy use of artificial stone.
Chidsey Library

12) Chidsey Library

The Chidsey Library or Chidsey Building is a historic building located in Sarasota. The building was home to the city's first public library from 1941 to 1976.

The library's design was done by Martin Studio of Architecture consisting of Thomas Reed Martin and Frank C. Martin. The Chidsey Library opened in May 1941 as the City of Sarasota's first public library building. The building was dedicated to John and Ida Chidsey in November 1941 as they made the building possible by helping pay for the majority of the cost for the project which was approximately $25,000, equivalent to $344,000 in 2020.

In 1974, Sarasota County assumed responsibility of all public libraries throughout the county. The building was used as a library until 1976, when library operations moved to Selby Library at 1001 Boulevard of the Arts. At the same time, Sarasota County Historical Resources moved into a portion of the Chidsey Library. The county's Historical Resources fully occupied the Chidsey Building in 1998, when library operations moved to its current location at Selby Public Library.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Municipal Auditorium

13) Municipal Auditorium

The Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, listed in the National Register as Municipal Auditorium-Recreation Club, is a historic multi-purpose facility built in 1938. It is located at 801 Tamiami Trail North and owned/operated by the municipal government of Sarasota, Florida. The auditorium has 10,000 square feet (930 m2) of exhibit space on its main floor and also contains an Art Deco style stage measuring 1,500 square feet (140 m2).

The structure contains a generous amount of glass block in its eastern elevation that provides natural lighting for the interior of the large building, especially needed because of lighting issues related to a vault structure. Typically, the design of the auditorium is described as Modrene and Art Deco, but elements of the design also suggest the International Style that is associated with the Bauhaus.

The auditorium has been used for many community functions and recreational activities. It has also been known as the Sarasota Exhibition Hall and the Sarasota Civic Center Exhibition Hall. The auditorium is located on a large parcel of public land that is reserved for civic, government uses. On February 24, 1995, the complex was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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