Sarasota Historical Buildings Tour, Sarasota

Sarasota Historical Buildings Tour (Self Guided), Sarasota

Most of the historic buildings in Sarasota are located in the Downtown area. They are in the Mediterranean revival style with similar design. Some of them have been designed by the famous local architect Thomas Reed Martin who has had a huge impact on architecture and style. In the following tour you'll get to see some of the first constructions in Sarasota and their initial functions.
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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: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Author: brian
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Municipal Auditorium
  • Sarasota Times Building
  • The Gompertz
  • Florida Studio Theatre
  • Frances-Carlton Apartments
  • Sarasota Opera House
  • American National Bank Building
  • Roth Cigar Factory
  • U.S. Post Office - Federal Building
  • Sarasota County Courthouse
Municipal Auditorium

1) 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.
Sarasota Times Building

2) 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

3) The Gompertz

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.
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 2012-2013 classes include Play Reading Club, Playwriting Workshop, Sketch Comedy, Adult Acting, Acting for the Camera, Spoken Word and Improvisation. 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.
Sarasota Opera House

6) Sarasota Opera House (must see)

The Sarasota Opera House (originally the Edwards Theatre) is a historic theater, now opera house, located in Sarasota, Florida. The vision of a local man and the first major of the town, A. B. Edwards, it originally opened on April 10, 1926, with an elaborate three-story entrance and an orchestral pipe organ in the theater's auditorium. The house quickly became a popular entertainment venue with major performers of the day, such as Will Rogers (in 1927) and the Ziegfeld Follies (1928), and Elvis Presley (1956), appearing there. Also, it became a movie theatre when it presented the world premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth (which had been filmed in Sarasota) attended by its stars Charlton Heston and Dorothy Lamour.
The theater is now the home of the Sarasota Opera Association.

Why You Should Visit:
Recently renovated, Sarasota Opera House went through some important changes such as the restoration of decorative details, increase of the orchestra pit, expansion and enhancement of the public areas and amenities, and other improvements. All these restored the theatre’s original glory while creating a 21st-century venue for opera Combined with top-notch costumes and amazing performances make it a must see, especially if you are in Sarasota from October to March.

The season is October through March.
Although there are no ‘bad seats’, opt for balcony seating options.
A formal dress-code might be appropriate when visiting the shows and events.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 10am-5pm, during shows and events
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
American National Bank Building

7) 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.
Roth Cigar Factory

8) Roth Cigar Factory

The Roth Cigar Factory was built in 1923 by Thomas Reed Martin, a famous local architect. It features two floors in the Mission Revival style. The factory was specifically designed to mix well with the surrounding buildings.
U.S. Post Office - Federal Building

9) 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.
Sarasota County Courthouse

10) Sarasota County Courthouse

Sarasota County Courthouse was built in 1926 by architect Dwight James Baum. It is in the Mediterranean Revival style with Rococo and Baroque elements, two levels, two wings and a central multi-floor section. The building was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

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