Bird Key's Romantic History

Posted by Louis Wery on Saturday, June 9th, 2012 at 11:05am.

 

For all you history buffs out there, I assure you that Sarasota culture dates back to forever. I enjoy discovering the backstory for places that I find intriguing, and I found a story about Bird Key that mimics the love story behind the Taj Mahal. It all happened an exclusive island nestled between Downtown Sarasota and St Armands Circle.

In the early 1900s, a 12-acre island named Bird Key peeked a few feet above the shallows of Sarasota Bay. Thomas Martin Worcester, purchased the island in 1906, and he and his Scottish wife, Davie Lindsay Worcester, wintered in Sarasota.

In 1911, Worcester began work to build a mansion on the island, a first for Southwest Florida. He dredged a channel through grass flats and used dredged material to create a foundation for his vision — an island estate named New Edzell Castle after his wife's ancestral home. Sadly, Davie Worcester died before her palace was completed. However, Davie wrote a letter from Sarasota describing in detail the birds, fish and vegetation that could be seen on the approach to Bird Key.

A couple of years after Davie's death, her husband opened New Edzell Castle with a formal reception and visitors exclaimed about the electric and gas lighting, steam heat and hot & cold water.

Soon Thomas Worcester left Sarasota. John Ringling, the circus magnate who envisioned so much of what became Sarasota, bought Bird Key, Otter Key, Wolf Key and other mangrove islands to own all the keys west of the City of Sarasota. The mid-1920s charted the Florida Land Boom and John Ringling dived right in. The circus impresario wanted to turn New Edzell Castle into the summer White House for then-President Warren Harding, who died before his friend could make that happen. Instead the mansion was where Ida Ringling North, John Ringling's sister, lived until she died in 1950.

John Ringling built the first bridges and roads from downtown Sarasota to St Armands Key and began developing Ringling Estates, which opened in 1926 just as the Florida Boom ended.

By 1936, John Ringling had died, and it took 10 years for his estate to clear probate. During that year, Bird Key remained undeveloped. Finally in 1959, Arvida Realty began developing Bird Key as the jewel set in the waters of Sarasota Bay.

Photo courtesy of the Sarasota History Center

 

Find Your Romantic Place on Bird Key

For your private tour of residences available on Bird Key, please contact Louis Wery.

7 – 12 of 26 Listings
Price, High to Low

4 Bed • 5 Bath • 3,880 Sf

$2,269,850

647 Owl Way, Sarasota

Pre-construction. To Be Built. This Pre-construction Bird Key Home Is Infused With An Atmosphere Of Sophistication And Refinement. The Award-winnin...

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4 Bed • 4 Bath • 3,926 Sf

$2,195,000

453 E Royal Flamingo Dr, Sarasota

Just Three Homes In From Sarasota Bay, This Updated And Meticulously Maintained Waterfront Residence In Bird Key Is A Wonderful Gem. Boating Enthus...

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4 Bed • 5 Bath • 3,880 Sf

$2,172,100

637 S Owl Dr, Sarasota

Under Construction....in The Beautiful, Pristine Waterfront Community Of Bird Key! St. John Two Story With 4 Bedrooms, 4.5 Baths, Wide Open Floor ...

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Reduced 9%

5 Bed • 7 Bath • 4,255 Sf

$1,999,500

110 N Warbler Ln, Sarasota

This Opulent And Spacious Bird Key Home Offers Abundant Space, Crystalline Water Views, Boat Access, And A Second-to-none Location Close To The Hea...

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3 Bed • 3 Bath • 2,963 Sf

$1,950,000

634 S Owl Dr, Sarasota

It’s All About The Tropical Lifestyle In This Spectacular Bird Key Estate. This Boating Paradise Sits Just Three Homes In From Sarasota Bay, On Tar...

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3 Bed • 4 Bath • 2,855 Sf

$1,899,183

335 Bob White Way, Sarasota

Under Construction. Gracious Bird Key Retreat Being Built By Award-winning Allegra Homes With Quality And Perfection Throughout. Every Detail Was C...

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For more information about Sarasota & Her Islands, please contact Louis Wery.




1 Response to "Bird Key's Romantic History"

Siesta Key Drum Circle celebrates the circle of life wrote: [...][...]

Posted on Monday, June 25th, 2012 at 9:24pm.

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