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- Address240 South Pineapple Avenue, 6th Floor, Sarasota, Florida, 34236
- Phone #941.364.2400
By the mid-1930's, the estate of John Ringling included land, oil wells, the John Ringling Towers Hotel, what is known as the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and, of course, the Ringling Brothers Circus. Following Ringling's death in 1936, Kirk-Pinkerton (still known as Williford and Kirk at the time) was retained by Ringling's nephew and Personal Representative, John Ringling North, to handle the estate. Ten years later, State of Florida officials finally accepted title to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Ringling Mansion, Ca'D'Zan, from the Ringling estate.
During the summer of 1926, Henry Williford was a well known Sarasota attorney. His most prominent client, John Ringling, was busy acquiring land and investing heavily in what would become the infrastructure of Sarasota. Mr. Williford (Henry L. Williford 1886-1942) hired James E. Kirk (1902-1983), then a young lawyer from Pennsylvania who had just received his law degree from Stetson University Law School in St. Petersburg. The two men opened the law office of Williford & Kirk in the prestigious new First Bank & Trust Company building at Five Points. For the next decade, the firm remained busy handling the legal affairs of Mr. Ringling and many others in the community. This work consisted primarily of real estate acquisitions and land development. Mr. Williford passed away in 1942. In 1946, John C. Pinkerton (1916-1997) joined the firm. Kirk-Pinkerton would later play an important role in the development of Sarasota and the surrounding area through representation of its clients in numerous real estate transactions. Many of these transactions resulted in the construction of Sarasota's most luxurious condominiums on Longboat Key and the bay front. Perhaps the firm's most high-profile real estate transaction was the 1959 acquisition by Arvida of the former Ringling holdings on Bird and Otter Keys and the southern portion of Longboat Key.