A contributing property is a building, structure, object, or site within the boundaries of the district that adds to the historic associations, historic architectural qualities, or archaeological values for which the historic district is significant. A contributing property must also retain its “integrity.” In other words, the property must retain enough of its historic physical features to convey its significance as part of the district. Alterations can damage a property’s historic appearance and its integrity. National Register Historic Q&A. S. Carolina Department of Archives and History.
270 buildings contribute to the Laurel Park district. Twenty of those are locally designated historic and two are nationally designated.
The John Early House – 1841 Oak Street
This two story Dutch colonial was moved to its present location from 17th Street in 1933 by then owner John Early. Mr. Early was a Sarasota attorney, served as mayor of the city and as Sarasota’s first municipal judge.
The Pump House
The City of Sarasota’s population was 8,398 in 1930. By 1950 it had more than doubled to 18,896. Sarasota was experiencing the rapid growth the entire nation was challenged with on the heels of WWII. Seeing this emerging growth pattern, the city fathers reacted in the progressive manor of the decade by planning for and constructing modern infrastructure. A wastewater plant was constructed on 12th street by 1951 and with it a series of pump houses were built throughout the city to improve and expand service.
The pump houses or lift station buildings were a masonry vernacular style popular in the 1950’s. The architecture allowed the buildings to blend well into their surroundings attractively concealing the equipment used to move our sewage. Each was built of concrete block, steel casement windows and clay barrel tile roofing, giving a slight industrial appearance but offering protection from Florida’s severe storms. These small buildings can be found in Cherokee Park, Siesta Key, Indian Shores, Central Cocoanut, Lime Avenue and in Laurel Park.
Today the City is once again planning to further modernize and improve our wastewater system. While we are all supportive of maintaining and improving our city‘s infrastructure, a visual reminder of Sarasota’s “progressive” growth for more than 50 years will disappear from our landscape. Only photographs and a written record that they ever existed will remain. The pump house is slated for demolition in June 2010.
© Deborah Dart 2015