October 24 - 30, 2011

October 24 - 30, 2011
John Hamilton Gillespie Celebration Week

The week-long party
celebrating the Father of Sarasota…and golf was a big success! From O'Leary's Kick-off Party, Jeff LaHurd's New Book, Jacobites Bagpipers, Trolley Tours, Kiwanis Golf Tournament, and Hartman Gallery Photography Exhibition, to the Palm Avenue Street Party, The Macallan VIP Scotch Tasting, Lunch in Rosemary Cemetery, and Walking Tour of the Gillespie Park Neighborhood - every special event was a wonderful way to honor Sarasota's history.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The El Vernona Hotel: Spanish Architecture at its Finest

The building of the El Vernona Hotel in1925 brought national fame for Owen Burns. The fanciful, six-story, 150 room hotel was touted as the purest example of Spanish architecture in Florida. It was designed to look as if it had been standing for centuries and the details were exquisite: the rough honey brown stucco walls showed snatches of brick; antique barrel roof tiles were imported from Seville; and colorful, hand-painted tiles from Europe decorated stair risers, walls, fountains and footpaths.

The El Vernona Hotel on Sarasota Bay

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Owen Burns's Pineapple Apartment Building

NEW Event Added: On Sunday November 14, 2010 there will be a second floor apartment tour in the Pineapple Apartment Building, 540 S. Orange Avenue at the intersection of Orange and Pineapple Avenues. It is interesting to note that the intersection park was officially named Owen Burns Square in 2000. See the Event Calendar page for more details.

"On a humorous note, It may have been a daring venture to build that building where twice daily the steam locomotive came by belching black coal smoke into the open windows. And where was the clothesline for the lady of the house to dry the family's clothing?" — Pete Esthus

Pineapple Apartment Building 1960

Monday, September 27, 2010

El Vernona Hotel Opened in 1926

Owen Burns built the El Vernona Hotel in Sarasota, Florida that Dwight James Baum designed. It opened with a grand ball December 31, 1926. The hotel was later sold to John Ringling and renamed the John Ringling Hotel.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Laurel Park

Owen Burns was instrumental in the development of Laurel Park in Sarasota, Florida. He purchased considerable holdings of land in the area from John Hamilton Gillespie and developed Washington Park and the Owen Burns Subdivisions. The Burns & McAlpin Company laid most of the brick streets throughout the neighborhood. 

Laurel Park was awarded National Register distinction in February 2008.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Burns and Baum - 1920's Design Build Team

In 1925 Burns built the El Vernona Hotel, naming it after his wife, Vernona Hill Freeman Burns. He and architect Dwight James Baum designed and built some of Sarasota's most important buildings in the 1920's including Cà d'Zan, the home of John and Mable Ringling.

Owen Burns, left, and architect Dwight James Baum in the courtyard of the Burns Office Building.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Join the Celebration!

The Owen Burns Celebration is one week for our community's residents and businesses to pay tribute to the man who changed Sarasota. Owen Burns is responsible for creating the unique city we live in today. 100 years ago he moved to Sarasota, became a welcome civic leader and the town's most prolific developer. The Owen Burns Celebration Committee encourages businesses, retailers and restauranteurs to take advantage of the celebration week by decorating storefronts in his honor, offering special menu items, even planning an Owen Burns Sale!

Join us in celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of one of our city's most significant civic leaders and developers.

Owen and Vernona

Vernona and Owen Burns on their honeymoon cruise to Europe 1912

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Burns Court

Burns Court was developed by Owen Burns in the 1920's and designated on March 22, 1984 as a U.S. historic district. The district runs from 400 through 446 Burns Court and 418, 426, and 446 South Pineapple Avenue. It contains 24 historic buildings.


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