Orange Avenue after 1908

orange av

This is a terrific view of Orange Avenue looking south from Ringling Boulevard.  The street immediately on the right is Cross Street.  The street further down on the left is Morrill.  At the corner of Orange and Morrill stands the Church of the Redeemer.  It was moved to the site in 1908 and remained there until 1944.  Today’s Laurel Park is off to the left beyond the Church of the Redeemer.

The map below may help to orient you to the view.


Coming to Sarasota……….

Sarasota’s bayfront would have greeted you with this landscape 127 years ago……


It was 1887 and John Hamilton Gillespie was beginning to revamp a fishing village on the west coast of Florida called Sara Sota into “the prettiest place on the coast of America”.  In the distance you get a peek at the town’s new hotel, The DeSoto.


The hotel was sold in 1902 and reopened with a new name – The Belle Haven Inn.  Almost a decade would pass before the demand for rooms was greater than what were available.

belle haven inn$(KGrHqN,!k0FD4Q1jDDNBR!D0BgeK!~~60_57

A new wing was added to the rear of the hotel in 1911, a year after Owen Burns arrived to make Sarasota his home.  Mr Burns’s vision and drive would ultimately transform Sarasota beginning with improvements to the bay front including a seawall.



The Belle Haven Inn sat on land that is today the location of The Orange Blossom  Condominium at the corner of Main Street and Palm Avenue. And yes, The Orange Blossom was originally a hotel – one of many that lined Main Street and Palm as Sarasota grew into a sought after winter resort destination.

The Hotel Orange Blossom Sarasota

Happy Birthday Owen Burns!

145 years ago today the man who truly transformed Sarasota from a sleeping fishing village was born – Owen Burns.  He arrived in Sarasota in 1910 for a visit and stayed for the rest of his life. At one time he was the largest landowner in Sarasota having acquired the immense holdings of the Florida Mortgage and Investment Company.Owen Burns Jeff LaHurd’s book “Owen Burns, The Man Who Bought and Built Sarasota” is a wonderful read filed with photos and a terrific map of Sarasota marking the locations of the significant improvements Mr. Burns was responsible for.

Burns and family 2Owen and Vernona Burns and family on the porch of their home which was located at the corner of Gulfstream Avenue and Tamiami Trail.

Below is the Herald Square Building Mr. Burns built opposite his Burns Court Bungalows along Pineapple Avenue just outside the Laurel Park district.

herald sq

Much of today’s Laurel Park was platted by Mr. Burns in the 1920′s.  Portions of the neighborhood, including Washington Park were also developed by him.

Owen Burns ad 1924

For more information visit:  or on Facebook at: Owen Burns Celebration.  If you are looking for a copy of Mr. LaHurd’s book on Owen Burns try Bookstore 1 on lower Main Street in downtown Sarasota.

Happy, Happy Birthday to a very special man!

New Homes in Laurel Park………

Take a walk through the historic district.  Progress has been made on the development of the Laurel Park property between Devonshire and Alderman to the east of Rawls.


A brick street has been laid and in no time we should see the construction of the first new homes to be built in the district in some time.  Architects, DSDG have updated their post on Facebook –  The Homes of Laurel Park.  Check it out.  There are a number of renderings of the homes posted.

Around the district………

The Burns Court Neighborhood Association has published a spectacular guide for visitors to its National Register of Historic Places District and surrounds.   The neighborhood is a mecca for those who shop local artisans and independents!  The streets are filled with one of a kind merchants, restaurants, cafes and businesses housed in some of Sarasota’s most treasured historically designated architecture.


You can read more about the history of the district at - More Districts

And here is the wonderfully, spectacular guide:

(Click anywhere on the map to enlarge)