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.
3 Bed • 4 Bath • 2,855 Sf
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...View Listing
4 Bed • 5 Bath • 4,289 Sf
436 Pheasant Way, Sarasota
European Elegance On Bird Key! Privacy And Elegance Await You Behind The Gates That Open To A Courtyard Infused With Magnificent Colors Of Blooming...View Listing
4 Bed • 4 Bath • 3,800 Sf
440 Pheasant Dr, Sarasota
Impeccable Craftsmanship In Highly Desirable Sarasota’s Bird Key. This Beautiful And Immaculate 4 Bedroom, 3.5 Bath, 3,800 Sf Home Was Extensively ...View Listing
4 Bed • 4 Bath • 3,444 Sf
616 Mourning Dove Dr, Sarasota
Welcome To Villa Fortaleza, A Name That Reflects The Strength And Character Of This Elegant Residence Located On One Of The Most Desirable Streets ...View Listing
4 Bed • 3 Bath • 2,487 Sf
646 Mourning Dove Dr, Sarasota
Paradise On Bird Key. This Newly Renovated Charming Ranch Is Ideally Situated On A Corner Lot On The Most Desired Street On Bird Key. Backing Up To...View Listing
For more information about Sarasota & Her Islands, please contact Louis Wery.
1 Response to "Bird Key's Romantic History"
Leave a Comment
All listing information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified through personal inspection by appropriate professionals. Listings displayed on this website may be subject to prior sale or removal from sale; availability of any listing should always be independently verified.
Listing information is provided for consumer personal, non-commercial use, solely to identify potential properties for potential purchase; all other use is strictly prohibited and may violate relevant federal and state law.
Listing data comes from My Florida Regional MLS.
Listing information last updated on February 19th, 2019 at 9:46am EST.