In response to a local business owner’s efforts to donate a Corinthian column to the city, a man involved in procuring the pillar that sits near the Five Points roundabout has stepped forward to provide some more information about the item’s history.
Bill Wallace, a member of the Sister Cities Association of Sarasota, wanted to reach out to City Manager Tom Barwin about the column’s background. He had seen that Chris Brown, owner of the property in front of which the column sits, had submitted a donation application that sought to relocate the pillar, potentially at Five Points Park. In Wallace’s eyes, the column isn’t Brown’s to donate.
“Actually, the city already owns it, as it was a gift to the city of Sarasota from the city of Glasgow, from where the original Scottish settlers came, and was given to Sarasota on the occasion of our centennial celebration in 1985,” Wallace wrote in an email to Barwin.
Wallace served as a member of the centennial committee leading up to that celebration. He also was a member of the Caledonian Club of Florida West, a Scottish group, which led to his traveling to Glasgow to seek a gift from the city’s Lord Provost for Sarasota’s 100th birthday.
A few months after making the request, he said he got word that a church in Glasgow was being torn down so a shopping center could be built, and the city wanted to donate stonework from the building to Sarasota. After making arrangements for the column, in three different pieces, to be shipped from Scotland to Tampa and then Sarasota, the centennial committee was then tasked with assembling and placing the pillar.
Jack Imperatore, the property owner at 1400 Main St. allowed the column to be displayed at the corner where it sits today, Wallace said. With assistance from Imperatore’s architects, the column was built and in place in time for the centennial celebration – which included dignitaries from the city that originally donated the pillar.
“It was finally ready for the opening ceremony, and the Lord Provost and his wife did come and participate in all activities for almost a week, wearing for the first time in his 60-some years, a kilt,” Wallace stated.
Contact David Conway at [email protected].