HISTORY & PRESERVATION COALITION OF SARASOTA COUNTY ANNOUNCES THE 2021 SIX TO SAVE
Spotlighting the most threatened historic properties, archaeological sites, and cultural resources in Sarasota County!
The History & Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County announces the 2nd annual Sarasota’s Six to Save program. Similar to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” and the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Florida’s 11 to Save”, the preservation community in Sarasota County wants to bring awareness to historical resources at risk. Everything from development to climate change can render a historic property in peril. The goal is to highlight six resources per year that are in most danger. The program is designed to increase the public’s awareness of the urgent need to save Sarasota County’s historic resources. Inclusion on the list is only a starting point for advocacy and education, and is intended to be part of a collaborative effort to identify solutions for each.
NOMINATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED. STAY TUNED FOR THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE 2021 SIX TO SAVE!
By recognizing these 2020 Six to Save, the Coalition encourages local preservation groups and community leaders to collaborate and identify solutions for each property. This list represents a variety of historical resources located throughout Sarasota County, and are not in any order of importance.
The Caples Estate was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 as part of the Caples–Ringling Estates Historic District. It is significant for both its architecture and association with Ralph Caples, who was instrumental in bringing reliable railroad service to Sarasota and encouraging the Ringlings to relocate here. The property has been vacant and underutilized for several years. It is suffering from benign neglect. An adaptive re-use plan needs to be developed and funding sources need to be identified. New College Facilities Planning and Construction commissioned a professional report that analyzed the condition of the building in 2017. Action needs to be taken as quickly as possible to halt further deterioration.
MCCLELLAN PARK SCHOOL
This is the original clubhouse for the McClellan Park subdivision built in 1916. It was constructed on Native American mounds. Later it was adaptively reused to serve as the McClellan Park School. The building has sat vacant for over 10 years. Presently the site is not secured or maintained. HPCSC Member, Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation, featured the exterior of the building on a historic homes tour within the last ten years. As part of that undertaking, the SAHP reached out to the property owner and offered their assistance.
Old Miakka today, embodies the rural pioneer spirit that founded this county. Many of the people living in Miakka have families that lived there for generations. It is a heritage with respect of nature, self-reliance, and satisfying hard work. However, it is the last of its kind in Sarasota County—a rural community on the fringe of growing suburbanization. The area is currently at risk from a Comprehensive Plan Amendment looking to increase the density of housing allowable in half of Old Miakka. The Miakka Community Club is currently in the process of filing their own Comprehensive Plan Amendment to preserve a low-density zoning for the whole community.
Built in 1926, the Nickell Building is a contributing, but altered structure in the John Nolen Plan of Venice National Register Historic District. It was one of the original commercial buildings during the development of Venice by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. Typical of the 1920s, there were retail businesses on the first floor and residential apartments on the second floor. The building has been deteriorating due to demolition by neglect. The City of Venice Architectural Review Board has delayed demolition, pending design of a replacement building.
NONA SPRING SITE
The Nona Spring Archaeological Complex currently has no protection in place for the ecological, archaeological, and cemetery components known to be contained in the property. During nearly 14,000 years, humans have lived, loved, died, and buried their loved ones in this location. Some of the unmarked cemeteries contain hundreds of burials. The lack of a historical resources archive or a cultural resources survey has led to these archaeological sites and burial grounds being impacted by development. The site is also at risk from damage due to heavy equipment operating in the area. Although archaeological groups have expressed an interest in managing easements on the property, it will take the intervention of environmental stewardship groups to acquire the property to secure its protection.
WALTER FARLEY HOUSE
The house was designed by architect Ralph Twitchell in the Sarasota School of Architecture style for Walter Farley, famed author of the Black Stallion books. Walter and his wife Rosemary were instrumental in establishing the original Venice Public Library, now part of the Sarasota County Libraries. A commemoration of the author, the Walter Farley Literary Landmark, is exhibited in the lobby of the William H. Jervey, Jr. Venice Public Library. Ralph Twitchell was founder of the architectural style known as the Sarasota School (1941 - 1966), a regional modern American architectural style. The house is currently for sale and at risk of being demolished, as it is listed as both a house for sale and empty lot for sale. Concerned groups held an initial meeting to discuss possible ways to save this home, but there has been no follow up since.
424 ALBEE ROAD
This house is a fine example of the Tudor Revival style of architecture, which is uncommon in Florida. Built in the first half of the 20th Century, its size and scale dominates the landscape of more modern homes surrounding it. This property is also currently for sale, listed as both house for sale and empty lot for sale, with seller provided plans to build condominiums. 424 Albee Road in Nokomis is given honorable mention, as there is still much unknown about the property. The Coalition will continue to monitor the house and find more information on it in case it is added to the list next year.