SARASOTA COUNTY HERITAGE AWARDS

The Coalition wishes to recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the preservation and understanding of Sarasota County’s prehistorical and historical resources. Besides honoring those who have devoted themselves to maintaining the integrity of our remaining architectural, archeological, and historical assets and educating the public to their importance, the Heritage Awards aim to raise the level of public support for governmental and citizen-based efforts to preserve our common past so future generations may learn from it.­

History & Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County Announces Awardees of the 2020 Sarasota County Heritage Awards

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LILLIAN BURNS INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT

Conferred upon an individual who has made profound contributions to the history and preservation movement in Sarasota County. Contributions may include scholarly research and publication, education, museology, history and preservation organizational leadership, and public advocacy for history and preservation. The Awards Committee will be most impressed with nominations that document sustained excellence and high achievement.

PAST AWARDEES

Julia Cousins Laning (2019)
Nathalie McCulloch (2019)
Betty Intagliata (2018)

2020 AWARDEE

Betty Dailey Nugent

Betty Dailey Nugent is this year’s recipient of the Lillian Burns Individual Achievement Award.  Lillian Burns was the daughter of Owen Burns, one of Sarasota’s most important early businessmen and leaders.  She became one of Sarasota’s most important local historians and preservationists.  The award is given for “profound contributions to the history and preservation movement in Sarasota County.”  Past winners have been Betty Intagliata and Julia Cousins Laning, both of Venice.

Like her predecessors, Betty Nugent has lived and breathed history over many years.  Indeed, she lives in a historical museum that at her invitation has now become the Englewood Historical Museum on Perry Avenue.  She is president of the museum’s board, one of its principal volunteers. For many years she lived in an historic district on the East Side of Milwaukee and worked as a nurse at Columbia Hospital.  In her 40s Betty broadened her interests by going into real estate and becoming the first woman president of the Salesman Club of Wisconsin.  In 1990 she moved to Florida and soon plunged into various historical organizations.  In 1995 she purchased the 1928 historic Lampp House, home of one of early Englewood’s prominent families, where she began a collection of vintage dresses that she featured at fashion shows.

By 2010 Betty had served as a board member or officer of so many historical organizations that they all cannot be mentioned here.  These include the Sarasota County Historical Commission's Historical Marker Committee, Sarasota County History & Preservation Coalition where she was vice chair, the Friends of the Sarasota County History Center, the Sarasota County Centennial 2021 Steering Committee, the Englewood Museum, Warm Mineral Springs/Little Salt Spring Archeological Society, and the Venice Area Historical Society.  Betty has always had an interest in organization and made each of these groups stronger and more efficient thanks to her organizational sense and leadership skills.  She is particularly good at recruiting members and finding competent leaders as well as organizing and publicizing historical association events.

For her years’ long dedication to the cause of history and preservation in Sarasota County, for her leadership of numerous historical groups, for her unique contributions to saving and displaying the material past of Englewood, and for her countless hours of volunteer work at historical sites throughout the county, the Heritage Awards Committee confers the 2020 Lillian Burns Individual Achievement award on Betty Jean Dailey Nugent.

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ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONSERVANCY

Recognizes outstanding efforts to preserve and document prehistoric sites and/or effective advocacy of archaeological conservation.

PAST AWARDEES

Dr. Uzi Baram (2019)
Dr. George Luer (2017)
Dr. Steven Koski (2018)

2020 AWARDEE

Friends of Little Salt Spring

The Friends of Little Salt Spring is chosen to receive this year’s Archeological Conservancy Award. This award recognizes outstanding efforts to preserve and document prehistorical sites and/or effective advocacy of archeological conservancy. The Friends of Little Salt Spring is a superb example of a dedicated, enthusiastic band of volunteers who have allied with professional archeologists to save and promote one of Florida’s most significant natural and archaeological sites. Little Salt Spring is part of a 112-acre site owned by the University of Miami, listed on the National Register of Historical Places. 7,000 years ago Florida’s earliest inhabitants buried their dead in peat fields around the spring. Recent investigations have found human and extinct animal remains, as well as tools and other artifacts. The spring is a time capsule of the lives of these early people and the world they inhabited. By studying the spring, scientists can reconstruct the record of subtropical climate change over 12,000 years.

The Friends mount educational programs on the geology, archaeology, paleontology, biology, and environment of the spring. They pick up trash and eradicate exotic vegetation that threatens the natural ecology of the spring and its surrounding area. They lobby local government to prevent new development from impinging directly or indirectly on the site. They have provided continuing educational training for teachers on archeology at local schools in cooperation with the Florida Archeological Network and coproduced an educational booklet on Little Salt Spring.

The Heritage Awards Committee makes special mention of retiring President, Lawry Reid and Recording Secretary Linda Ferrier-Reid. The Reids, who are retired academics, formed the Friends of Little Salt Spring as a not-for-profit organization in 2012. As the Friends only president, Lawry Reid facilitated the publication of a significant scientific article about the spring in the Florida Anthropologist. He also helped persuade the City of North Port to adopt the North Port Natural Corridor Initiative that preserved the land connection from Little Salt Spring to the Myakkahatchee Greenway. That victory helped sustain the natural ecology not only at Little Salt Spring, but in adjacent areas as well.

For its key role in preserving and publicizing Little Salt Spring and educating both children and adults as to the significance of the site, the Heritage Awards Committee confers the 2020 Archaeological Conservancy Award on the Friends of Little Salt Spring.

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ORGANIZATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT

Presented to a Sarasota County historical or preservation organization for outstanding success in historical preservation, historical education, and/or support of historical research.  The Awards Committee welcomes nominations of organizations that have successfully completed a project or a series of projects that have had a significant impact on preserving and understanding Sarasota’s history.

PAST AWARDEES

Lemon Bay Historical Society (2019)
Sarasota Architectural Foundation (2018)
Venice Main Street & Venice Heritage, Inc. (2017)

2020 AWARDEE

Historical Society of Sarasota County

The Historical Society of Sarasota County is selected to receive this year’s Organizational Achievement Award, an award that honors Sarasota County’s most successful and impactful organizations dedicated to preservation and historical education. Founded in 1959, the Society is one of the largest and oldest history and preservation organizations in the county. Over the years it has developed programs such as the Conversations at the Crocker series that explore important historical themes. In addition, the Society offers land and water tours to significant historical sites. Once a year the Society makes an award to a “Hero of History,” a county resident who has championed history and preservation causes. The list of those honored includes Jeff La Hurd, Sue Blue, John McCarthy, Howard Tibbels, Michael Sanders, and Jon Thaxton.

In 2006 as a result of an agreement between the Society and the City of Sarasota, two historically significant structures were moved to Pioneer Park along 12th street: the 1882 Bidwell-Wood House, one of the earliest structures from the settlement phase of development, and the 1901 Crocker Memorial Church. The Bidwell –Wood House was not only a fine example of early architecture in the area but also figured in the locally famous murder of postmaster Charles Abbe in 1884 as the site where the conspirators made their plans. The Bidwell-Wood house is open for tours and serves as the headquarters of the Society. The Crocker Memorial Church has been in almost constant use for more than a century and is now used for Society programs.

HSOSC has earned the thanks of all who cherish the county’s architectural inheritance. But maintaining these old wooden buildings continually challenges the members. Over $100,000 has been raised for repairs and upgrades, and many members have volunteered labor and expertise to keep the structure open. Recently a major structural problem in the church has been identified and the Society is once more raising funds.

The Heritage Awards Committee applauds the sustained, effective efforts of the Historical Society of Sarasota County to save these architectural treasures as well as for its robust educational programs.

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HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS PRESERVATION

Recognizes outstanding work in preserving, describing, and providing public access to historical collections located within Sarasota County. The award will be given to individuals or organizations that demonstrate the use of best practices in the field of archival management.

PAST AWARDEES

Deborah Walk (2018)
Michael Swain (2017)

2020 AWARDEE

Julia Cousins Laning and Dale Laning Archives & Research Center

The Heritage Awards Committee confers this year’s Historical Collections Preservation Award on the Julia Cousins Laning and Dale Laning Archives & Research Center in Venice, Florida. Without historical archives and research libraries, the work of researchers in explaining and interpreting the past would be impossible.

The City of Venice Archives, one of the most important archival repositories in Sarasota County, had long been housed in the Triangle Inn, a carefully restored building from the early years of the city’s history. By 2015 the archives had outgrown this facility and were split up among multiple locations. Besides affecting the accessibility of historical records, these scattered sites lacked proper environmental conditions for storage, thus threatening the safety of the materials. Fortunately, Venice cares about its history, and there are many citizens who belong to history and preservation groups and volunteer at historical sites. In this case, local resident Julia Cousins Laning stepped forward with a generous gift. The city then purchased and remodeled a house not far from the new Venice Library and the Venice Museum as the new home of the Venice archives. The Curator and Collections Manager, John Watson, with staff and citizen volunteers carefully laid out the organization of the new center and moved all the dispersed archives to the new site at 224 W. Milan Avenue. The city also honored Julia Laning and her deceased husband by naming the new facility the Julia Cousins Laning and Dale Laning Archives & Research Center.

The Center’s 23,000-item collections fill over 1,300 square feet. The holdings include records of Venice social and community organizations, high school yearbooks, newspapers, photographs, works of art, letters, maps, and much more. The once scattered resources now sit on modern compact shelving in a climate-controlled environment with proper security. There is a public reading room and strict rules regarding access to the materials.
City leaders and the Venice Division of Historical Resources deserve a great deal of credit for creating this excellent facility that has preserved priceless records and artifacts and brought the history of Venice closer to the city’s citizens and historical scholars. The Julia Cousins Laning and Dale Laning Archives & Research Center richly deserves the recognition of the Historical Collections Preservation Award for 2020.

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HISTORIC STRUCTURE PRESERVATION

Recognizes and celebrates the best preservation projects in Sarasota County. Nominated projects must have been completed within the last five years of the submission deadline. Nominations are judged for their success in preservation, rehabilitation, and/or restoration of our architectural heritage in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior standards as well as the impact of the project on the community.

PAST AWARDEES

Howard W. Davis (2018)

2020 AWARDEE

Sarasota Art Museum

The Sarasota Art Museum of the Ringling College of Art and Design is the recipient of this year’s Historic Structure Preservation Award for the adaptive reuse of the former Sarasota High School building located at 1001 South Tamiami Trail. Designed by Architect M. Leo Elliott and completed in 1926, the structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Architect Paul Rudolph’s 1960 addition to the school was placed on the National Register in 2012. In 1996 the school closed its doors. In its time the institution had educated tens of thousands of students and figured prominently in the Florida Land Boom and post-World War II eras of Sarasota history as well as the struggle for ending segregation.

By 2004 a serious community-wide effort was underway to find alternative uses for the old school. Called the Sarasota County High School New Life Initiative, the effort was funded by the Sarasota County School Board, Sarasota city and county governments, a federal agency, and local foundations. Architect Stuart Barger of BMK Architects of Sarasota was employed to act as a facilitator with a steering committee of fifteen citizens. Public forums identified many possible options that would preserve the building and benefit the community. Eventually the Ringling College of Art and Design was selected to establish an art museum in the original school building. Later a portion of Paul Rudolph’s building addition was added to the project. In December 2019 the Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College opened its doors.

The Heritage Awards Committee found the story of preserving this architectural treasure and transforming it into a dramatic new cultural asset for the city and county an inspiring example of how a community through cooperative planning could preserve its past while benefiting current and future generations. In making this award to the Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College, the committee is sensitive to the roles of government units, foundations, architects and designers, those who championed the idea of a modern art museum in Sarasota for years, and Sarasota High School alumni along with donors who raised the necessary funds to make this complicated preservation effort a success. As in any great enterprise of this sort, there are many who deserve individual recognition. We particularly note the contributions of Ringling College’s able President, Dr. Larry Thompson; the Director of the Sarasota Art Museum, Anne-Marie Russell; and the Lawson Group Architects together with K/R Architects who faced the challenge of saving the Sarasota High School while giving a distinctive identity to the new Sarasota Art Museum.

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HISTORICAL RESEARCH

Awarded for outstanding contributions through research and publication to increase knowledge of Sarasota County’s past.

2020 NO AWARDEE

PAST AWARDEES

Harold Bubil (2019)
Jeff Lahurd (2018)
Newtown Conservation Historic District (2017)