History coming to City Hall

Sarasota in the late 189s, looking from Five Points down Main Street to the bay. Photo courtesy of the Sarasota County History Center

A permanent display about Sarasota’s history will soon be on view in the city commission chambers of City Hall. Thirty framed photographs will highlight the story of Sarasota from the late 19th century to 1960.

City Planner and Historian Clifford Smith received a surprise when he came to the Downtown Improvement District meeting Tuesday, May 29, to ask for $250 for the “Walk Through Time” project.

“Historic Main Street is today’s Business Improvement District,” said Smith.

“Nobody asks government for $250 anymore,” said DID member Mark Kaufman. “I recommend we give $1,000.” The motion passed 3-2.

The money was icing on the cake to Smith, who said the project was already fully funded with $10,000 from the Historic Preservation Board. They money comes from the fees paid to obtain demolition permits in the city. The preservation board met on May 8.

Smith said the photographs will be printed on archival paper, matted and framed for display around the city commission chambers. The display will also feature what he called “a panoramic view” of the city in 1926.

The photos come from the Sarasota County History Center. Smith worked with Jeff LaHurd at the center to select and copy the images. Smith said the display will be accompanied by a bronze plaque and will list the DID as a sponsor.

Final approval for the expenditure of the funds for the display is expected to come in June during a Sarasota City Commission meeting.

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