Historic Homes Tour is Sunday in Sarasota


On the cover: The Walter Baldwin home in Laurel Park is among the buildings featured on the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation's 25th Historic Homes Tour on Sunday, March 1, on the south side of downtown Sarasota. Courtesy photo.


It took the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation five years to figure out that a tour of historic homes might be a good idea to raise funds and awareness.

Now in its 30th year, the alliance will hold its 25th Historic Homes Tour from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at 10 houses and two historic apartment buildings in Laurel Park, on the south side of downtown Sarasota.

If that sounds familiar, it is. The 2014 tour was held in Laurel Park, too. But as the neighborhood, established in 1925, is so rich in historic buildings, the alliance sees no risk in going back to the well.

“Tour-goers will learn about the unique history of each home, with one structure designed by award-winning New York architect, Dwight James Baum,” states the alliance’s website, historicSarasota.org.

Baum designed the John and Mable Ringling mansion, Cà d’Zan, at the Ringling Museum, and the Sarasota County Courthouse.

The Spanish Oaks apartments in Laurel Park, Sarasota. Courtesy photo.

The Spanish Oaks apartments in Laurel Park, Sarasota. Courtesy photo.

Tour-goers will visit two Mediterranean Revival apartment complexes — the Pineapple Apartments and Spanish Oaks Apartments, dating from the boom year of 1925. These building were vitally important to the economy of the city, as housing — any housing — was in high demand during the boom. Often, real estate salesmen — the famed “knickerbocker boys” — would collapse in these expensive apartments following hard days of hawking property binders to northerners as they got off the trains, hoping to get rich quick.

They did get rich quick. They got poor quick, too, when the boom went bust in 1926. Soon there were plenty of vacancies at those apartments as the knickerbocker boys headed back north.

The tour also includes a three-story LEED Gold-certified modern infill house, “scaled to the historic community,” states the alliance. “We also have a 1925 cottage that has been reconfigured inside and updated to a LEED-Platinum certification."

The walking tour is self-guided, while docents will staff each property. Antique cars, provided by the Model “A” Restorers Club/Antique Automobile Club of America, will be on display, reflecting the period of the homes. Free parking will be available at the Senior Friendship Center, 1899 Brother Geenen Way; Crissy Galleries, 640 S. Washington Blvd.; and the Woman’s Exchange, 539 S. Orange Ave.

Tickets are $20 online (www.historicSarasota.org) or on site the day of the tour in the parking lot at the Woman’s Exchange.

Tickets also are available at:

-- Davidson Drugs, 1281 S. Tamiami Trail, 5124 Ocean Blvd. and 6595 Midnight Pass Road.

-- Sarasota Architectural Salvage, 1093 Central Ave.

-- Main Street Traders, 1468 Main St.

-- Sarasota County Historical Society, 1260 12th St.

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: February 25, 2015
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published without permissions. Links are encouraged.