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

 

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

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Here It Is! Yes - An Affordable Bird Key Canal Home! Lowest Priced Canal Home On The Island. Boater's Dream! This 4/3 Home Offers All That Makes Bi...

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547 Blue Jay Pl, Sarasota

Welcome To Paradise! A Stunning Home Located On Desirable Bird Key! This Elegant 3 Bedroom, 3 Bathroom Property Boasts Vaulted Ceilings And And An ...

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4 Bed • 4 Bath • 2,638 Sf

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343 Bob White Way, Sarasota

Beautiful Home Situated On A Corner Spacious Lot In Bird Key. This Open Floor Plan Home Has Been Recently Remodeled With Gary Porcelain Tile In The...

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Reduced 1%

3 Bed • 3 Bath • 2,199 Sf

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605 Wild Turkey Ln, Sarasota

Bird Key - Furnished.this Is Your Opportunity To Move Into An Impeccably Updated Garden Home. The Three-bedroom Residence Rests On An Approximately...

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Reduced 2%

3 Bed • 2 Bath • 2,044 Sf

$812,000

600 Wild Turkey Ln, Sarasota

This Is The One! Located On Beautiful Bird Key On An Over-sized Corner Lot, You’ll Love This Impeccably Clean And Charming Garden Home. Once You St...

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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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