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.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Scotland and Sarasota: World's Apart

125 years ago, Sarasota was quite a contrast to John Hamilton Gillespie's home town of Moffat, Scotland. It must have been difficult to say the least, coming from a refined and thriving European town and settling in Florida's rustic pioneer colony. When 33 year old Gillespie and his wife Mary arrived in Tampa for the last leg of their transatlantic journey they even had a hard time finding anyone who knew where Sarasota was. He finally arranged steamer passage to Manatee and from there came to Sarasota by way of horse and buggy.

Moffat, Scotland
Moffat, Scotland - High Street

Moffat, Scotland - Well Street
Gillespie wasted no time in putting into place the infrastructure required of a bona fide town. Schooners arrived bringing building material and workers. The streets were grubbed and cleared. The Sarasota House, a two story boarding house, was built at Five Points and housed the influx of workers who also lived on boats, in tents and other temporary shelters while the community began to take shape.

Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota, Florida - Downtown 1887

Sarasota, Florida - Main Street and Pineapple Avenue looking south, 1909


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