Sarasota Historical Buildings Tour, Sarasota

Sarasota Historical Buildings Tour (Self Guided), Sarasota

Sarasota, Florida, has no shortage of historical buildings, many of which are found downtown. Some of these properties were designed by the well-known local architect Thomas Reed Martin, who created some 500 residential and public buildings in Sarasota and had a huge impact on the area's architectural style in the early 20th century. Today, these structures serve as both landmarks and living testaments to Sarasota's development over the years.

The US Post Office - Federal Building, constructed in the Neoclassical style in the 1930s, stands as a symbol of government presence in the region, exuding elegance with its grand columns.

The American National Bank Building, a historic skyscraper, represents the city's financial heritage. Its towering presence and Classical Revival appearance make it an iconic edifice in the heart of Sarasota.

The Florida Studio Theatre, founded in 1973, is housed in a charming historic building. It has become a hub for performing arts and cultural enrichment, offering a wide range of theatrical productions.

The Frances-Carlton Apartments showcase Mediterranean Revival architecture, characterized by a highly symmetrical design with arches, low-pitched, red-tiled roof, and a stucco façade.

The FA DeCanizares Residence, LD Reagin House, Doctor Joseph Halton House, and Sarasota Times Building all contribute to the city's architectural heritage, each with its own unique charm and historical significance.

The Gompertz Theatre and Sarasota Opera House further enrich the cultural landscape. These venues have played a pivotal role in Sarasota's artistic and social life, hosting numerous performances and events.

Finally, the Chidsey Library stands as a beacon of knowledge and education, while the Municipal Auditorium has hosted countless community gatherings and events throughout the years.

These historical buildings collectively form a vital part of Sarasota's identity, preserving its past and shaping its future. We therefore encourage you to take this self-guided walk and explore Sarasota's unique historical and cultural legacy firsthand.
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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: 12
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
  • 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.
American National Bank Building

2) 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

3) Florida Studio Theatre

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is a premier non-profit theater company. Founded in 1973 by Jon Spelman, it has since grown to become a prominent institution for the performing arts in Florida.

FST's architecture is unique and has become an iconic feature of the theater. The building itself is a collection of five historic buildings that have been renovated and connected to create a unified space for the theater's performances and programs.

The main entrance to the theater is through the Hegner Theatre Wing, a large, modern structure that houses the 173-seat Gompertz Theatre and the 109-seat John C. Court Cabaret. The Hegner Theatre Wing is a contemporary addition to the historic buildings that make up the rest of the complex. Its sleek, angular design stands in contrast to the traditional architecture of the surrounding buildings.

The historic buildings that make up the rest of the FST complex include the Keating Theatre, the Goldstein Cabaret, and the renovated Woman's Club building. These buildings have been restored to their original grandeur and have been adapted to serve the theater's needs.

The Keating Theatre is a converted church that seats 237 people. It has a traditional proscenium stage and is used for larger productions. The Goldstein Cabaret is a smaller, more intimate space that seats 109 people. It has a flexible stage that can be adapted to different types of performances, from cabaret to musicals to plays.

The Woman's Club building, which was originally built in 1916, has been renovated to serve as FST's administrative headquarters. The building also houses rehearsal spaces and a costume shop.

Overall, the architecture of FST is a blend of traditional and modern elements. The historic buildings that make up the majority of the complex provide a sense of history and character, while the Hegner Theatre Wing adds a contemporary edge to the overall design. The result is a unique and dynamic space that has become an important cultural hub in the Sarasota community.
Frances-Carlton Apartments

4) 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

5) 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

6) 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

7) Sarasota Times Building

The Sarasota Times Building is a significant historical site that was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on March 22, 1984. The three-story, Mediterranean Revival structure was designed by architect Dwight James Baum and is known for its architectural merits as well as its role as the headquarters of the Sarasota Times newspaper, which was established in 1899. The newspaper was later purchased by L.D. Reagin in March 1924 and the new plant and offices were constructed at the current site, indicative of the shift in commercial development away from lower Main Street.

The Sarasota Times Building is significant for its architectural style, which is in keeping with other Baum-designed projects under construction or planned for the Broadway area, including the Burns Realty Company, the El Vernona Hotel (later called John Ringling Towers, now demolished), and the El Vernona Apartment (currently called Belle Haven Apartments).

Baum was responsible for many of the most significant buildings constructed in Sarasota in the 1920s, including John Ringling's palatial home, the Ca da'Zan, the Sarasota County Courthouse, and the four Mediterranean Revival Style buildings in the Broadway area.

The Times Building features a variety of architectural elements, including the use of three different door types and enframements on the ground floor elevation, which is particularly effective on a relatively small-scaled building. Following the crash of land prices and the onset of the Depression, the Sarasota Times newspaper went into receivership, and 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.

In 2014, Ataraxia LLC, a Nokomis company managed by Sharon Carole, purchased the historic downtown building and began renovations for the new restaurant that opened in 2019, "Sage." The restaurant aims to bring a global culinary experience to the artsy town of Sarasota using the highest quality and freshest ingredients as possible. The chef at Sage, Christopher Covelli, is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City and specializes in Classic French, Italian, and Spanish cuisine as well as American Haute Cuisine.

The Sarasota Times Building was locally designated by the City of Sarasota in 1985 and continues to be an important historical and architectural landmark in the area.
The Gompertz Theatre

8) 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

9) 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

10) 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

11) Chidsey Library

The Chidsey Library, also known as the Chidsey Building, is a historic landmark in Sarasota, that was home to the city's first public library from 1941 to 1976. Designed by Martin Studio of Architecture and dedicated to John and Ida Chidsey, the library opened its doors in May 1941 and was made possible by the Chidseys' contribution of the majority of the project's cost. Although the library ceased operations in 1976, the building remains an important part of Sarasota's history.
Municipal Auditorium

12) Municipal Auditorium

Located in the heart of downtown Sarasota's cultural district, the Municipal Auditorium is a historic and iconic event space that has been a beloved community gathering place since it was built in 1938.

With 10,000 square feet of unobstructed floor space, excellent acoustics, and a beautiful Art Deco-style stage, the auditorium is a popular venue for a wide range of events, from elegant galas and business meetings to private parties, seminars, and tradeshows.

The auditorium's solid hardwood maple floor adds to the atmosphere, acoustics, and comfort for all attending events, dances, and concerts, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Each year, more than 100,000 visitors come to the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium to attend a variety of events, including banquets, concerts, political forums, training seminars, and weddings.

In addition, the venue hosts educational programs, exhibits, and shows, including antique sales, art exhibits, auctions, coin shows, conventions, flea markets, flower and gardening shows, gem and jewelry shows, seminars, and stamp collection and sales exhibits. With its rich history and vibrant energy, the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium is a true gem of the Sarasota community.

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