Bubil: Some comments from our readers


Some online comments (and one hand-delivered letter) from readers that you may find of interest:


Story: "History for Sale — Estate on historic Cunliff Lane may contain one of Sarasota's first post offices" (operated by Charles Abbe, murdered in 1884 by the "Sarasota Vigilance Committee"


"Anyone truly interested in the facts of the Sarasota Vigilance Committee need to read (Karl) Grismer's 'The Story of Sarasota,' a factual account written shortly thereafter, told by locals who remembered the accounts, including judges, lawmen and other credible Sarasota citizens.

"The history of these homesteaders and their struggles with carpetbaggers and other scoundrels is an interesting story. These are the people who worked tirelessly to build this town and were acquitted, but that story doesn't sell newspapers or books.

"The sensationalized accounting of this event written by (Janet Snyder) Matthews and others are nothing short of pulp fiction based on gossip, rumors and lies." — MC

In response:

I have written several articles in the past few years about Grismer's and Matthews' accounts of the Abbe murder, including the trial of Alfred Bidwell and others, and such stories create tremendous reader interest.

Believe whatever story you want. But know this: Janet Snyder Matthews has a Ph.D. in history and has had a long and distinguished career in the field, specializing in Florida history and historic preservation. Her book "Edge of Wilderness" has 63 pages of footnotes and bibliography and took years to write. Grismer's 1946 book has no bibliography, and his account of what inspired the Abbe murder is attributed to a "woman, now nearly 80," he would not name.

Not to dismiss Grismer's book. I love it. It has been a valuable source for me, particularly on the 1920s real estate boom. He credits many important early Sarasotans with supplying him with information and checking his work. A master of the sensational sentence himself, he even thanks local newspaper publishers for granting him access to their files.

But for both authors, Matthews and Grismer, secondary sources were critically important. Grismer, though, did get to speak with primary sources, also known as witnesses and participants in historic events. As Snyder's 1983 book stopped at around 1890, no such luck for her.

P.S. They weren't acquitted.

Comment: "Another real estate 'ad' for one of Bubil's pals. I wonder what Harold pocketed for this one."

— Fred

In response:

Dear "Fred," Some pal I am. During my interview with the owner and Realtor, both strangers to me, I mentioned that the Realtor works for Michael Saunders & Co. In fact, she works for Premier Sotheby's.

And I had to double-check the spelling of her name and the owner's about six times before going to print


Story: "What we build on the water" (my column on the new public beach restroom pavilions)


"We will be receiving a toilet-room building that will cost the taxpayers $279,757 just to have the county employees' input and construction management. That is 42 percent of the project cost. Does anyone see a problem?

"Normally, the construction management fee would be about 5 percent and be part of the (architect's) quoted price.

"The idea that county-employee time ... is required to design a toilet-room building could only come out the phantasy world that only a government agency could devise."

— Charles Stender, retired attorney, Sarasota, by letter


"I work for the government and can see why people complain about our wasteful spending. If the architecture is so important, let entities like the SAF (Sarasota Architectural Foundation) put up the funds instead of taxpayers footing the bill."

— Expensive Toilet Maker

In response:

Better yet, perhaps we should make the architects pay the county for the opportunity to put "their" art on "our" beaches.

Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: March 29, 2013
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