The Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation is presenting the 23rd annual Historic Home Tour from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, in the Indian Beach neighborhood. The public is invited to tour five homes and two school buildings to celebrate Sarasota’s architectural heritage.
Visitors will learn about the history of each home as they stroll through the Indian Beach neighborhood. Also on the tour is Bay Haven School and the Keating Center, formerly the Bay Haven Hotel, at Ringling College of Art and Design. Free parking is available at the Ringling lot, and guided trolley tours will take tour-goers to each of the tour stops. Sarasota County History Center Manager Lorrie Muldowney will present the history of the Indian Beach neighborhood during the trolley ride.
2324 Hickory Ave.
Home value in 1925: $4,275
Square footage: 1,600
Current homeowners: James and Amber Lynch
The bungalow home sits on narrow Hickory Avenue. Bungalows, such as this one, were once featured in the Sears catalog as a Sears, Roebuck and Co. Chicago bungalow home. The front porch contains black-and-white checkered tiles, and the home still boasts the original fireplace from 1925. Built-ins, original windows and picture-rail moldings still adorn the home. Homeowners James and Amber Lynch say when they first moved in there was drywall covering a beautiful wooden beam that supports the structure of the house. The Lynchs moved in 2010 to Sarasota from Boston and wanted a home that contained character. At first, they were surprised by the amount of cookie-cutter homes in Sarasota. The Hickory home offered something different.
“We fell in love with the eclectic neighborhood and the history of the neighborhood, itself,” Amber Lynch says.
2704 Bay Shore Road
Square footage: 3,800
Current homeowner: Pat Taylor
Stepping into this Mediterranean Revival home is like stepping back into the late-1920s. Beautiful chandeliers adorn the ceilings, and period lamps light the way through the home. Homeowner Pat Taylor started collecting antiques in second-hand shops in Alabama where she once lived with her husband. She restored hundreds of pieces throughout the years to make the home not only unique on the outside but on the inside, as well. Taylor discovered the house while on a bike ride with her children more than 40 years ago. She fell instantly in love with it.
The real-estate agent didn’t think Taylor would get the home because her bid was lower than the other two offers. But, the sellers ultimately sold it to Taylor because they saw how much she would enjoy the house and make it a home.
“You can’t put a price on this house,” Taylor says. “Appraisers have come and said, ‘This house can’t be duplicated because they don’t have the materials anymore.’”
The house is made of concrete blocks. When Taylor moved in 38 years ago she still had radiant heat. She discovered the roof was copper and that her porch had a stenciled ceiling. The house still has a bell-pull system in the kitchen, which maids used to identify which doorbell was ringing.
“I love sharing this home because it is a jewel on the bayfront, and it is very special to me,” Taylor says.
3007 Bay Shore Road
Home’s value in 1940: $25,000
Square footage: 2,788
Current homeowner: Art Day
A white picket fence surrounds 3007 Bay Shore Road, and large trees shadow the property. This New England-style home was built in 1940 and fits in perfectly with the eclectic Indian Beach neighborhood. The pitched roofs were designed for the snow to slide off in winter months in New England. The house even has a mudroom that has been converted into a laundry room. Traditionally, residents would come through the mudroom to clean off their shoes on a cement block before proceeding into the house. The closet in the mudroom contains stairs leading up to a trap door in what was once the maids’ corridor.
“They don’t build them like they used to,” says homeowner Art Day, of Day Hagan Asset Management.
The walls are solid, the floors are hardwood, and, despite, having the bay in the backyard, the house has never flooded. Day has done a lot of renovation work since in 1998, when he moved into the home, but he made sure the integrity of the house wasn’t compromised. The house had no air conditioning and contained cast-iron plumbing when Day moved in. He made sure any new renovations would look like they belonged to the original structure.
“When you walked into the house, you could have felt you were walking into a time machine,” Day says.
2445 Alameda Ave.
Square footage: 2,565
Current Homeowners: Pat Ball
Benjamin F. McCall constructed this 1925 home in an American four-square style. He was a wealthy merchant and carpentry foreman in the construction of the Panama Canal. The house has symmetrical rooms with a central dividing hallway and a sun porch off to the side. The windows, doors, plaster interior and pine floors are all original to the home. The house contains built-ins that are located in the living room and are original to the home. The Balls added on a back porch; enlarged the kitchen; and built on an upstairs master bath and sleeping porch off the children’s room.
When they purchased the home, the Balls consulted original owner McCall’s 83-year-old daughter-in-law, who’d spent time in the home, to restore it to its original look. The porch was caved in when the Balls first arrived, so they had to use the back door. During renovations, Pat Ball discovered McCall had used California redwood to build the home.
2325 Hickory Ave.
Square footage: about 2,400
Current Homeowners: Egon and Urte Tuerpe
A stone home is hidden behind a stone wall and through a wooden door. The Tuerpes’ home was built in puebla style in 1925. Since then, they have added 1,200 square feet for a chef’s kitchen, dining room and master bedroom on the ground floor.
Stepping onto this property feels like stepping into a tropical retreat. Exotic flora, such as powder puff mimosas, oleanders and topiary trees, surround the tiled pool area. Inside, caged birds chirp songs, and tropical paintings line the halls. Urte Tuerpe and her husband, Egon, moved into the home in 2003. She fell in love with its quirkiness.
“It was quirky because it had a little living room, contrary to what other people have, and it made me laugh and happy that the proportions were funny,” she says, smiling. “It was an intimate feeling as opposed to an open space, which is like a hotel lobby to me.” The home is made out of a terracotta brick, keeping the inside temperature cooler in the Florida heat.
IF YOU GO
Tickets can be purchased for $20 at any of the homes on the day of the tour or before at any of the following locations:
• Sarasota County Historical Society, 1260 12th St.
• Sarasota Architectural Salvage, 1093 Central Ave.
• Sarasota County Visitor Information Center, 701 N. Tamiami Trail
• Main Street Traders, 1468 Main St.
• Gateway Bank, 1100 S. Tamiami Trail
• Davidson Drugs, 1281 S. Tamiami Trail; 5124 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key; and 6595 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key
• Historic Spanish Point, 337 N. Tamiami Trail, Osprey
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Daylight Saving Time starts 2 a.m. Sunday, so be sure to set your alarm accordingly.