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From the archives: Holt house withstood test of time before demolition

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  • | 4:00 a.m. July 10, 2013
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The house survived hurricanes and stayed virtually unchanged as the Key developed around it.

But July 15, 2008, the home of longtime Longboat Key postmistress Helen Holt was demolished.

Built around 1914, before the days of building codes, the home had been in the Holt family since 1941. Holt obtained the home after the death of her parents and occupied it until the late 1990s. The house had remained vacant since then.

At the time, town building official Randy Fowler said that the house was built from coquina block, which is difficult to bring up to code. He estimated engineering costs, not including renovations, would total thousands of dollars.

Holt’s family had researched the possibility of getting a grant to restore the historic home but wasn’t able to find one that met the home’s needs.

Holt died in 2009 at age 88.

+ Commissioners wary of gang violence
That’s what the Longboat Key Town Commission was worried about, according to the July 16, 1998, issue of the Longboat Observer.

The Anna Maria City Commission considered a plan to institute a curfew for minors to curtail vandalism and alleged gang activity. Anna Maria commissioners had heard a report about a group of five teenage boys who referred to themselves as the Anna Maria Thugs, and, although they weren’t sure the report was true, they said the city had experienced possible gang-related crimes, such as breaking and entering and thefts, along with a couple of drug-related arrests.

Longboat Key commissioners worried that the proposed 11 p.m. curfew on Anna Maria could push gang activity onto the Key after hours.

Fifteen years later, gang violence doesn’t appear to be a major concern on the Key.

+ Signs from above received exemption
Town codes dictate everything from the size to how many colors you can have on a sign. But a few signs answer to an authority even higher than town code.

The Longboat Key Town Commission voted to exempt religious symbols from the town’s sign ordinance, according to the July 14, 1983, issue of the Longboat Observer.

The exemption paved the way for the approval of a carillon with crucifix, which the newly completed All Angels by the Sea Episcopal Church had proposed.

Town officials initially declared the carillon a sign and, therefore, in violation of town ordinances.

+ Classic Cops Corner
7/13/89 — 8:16 p.m. Toilet paper set on fire, 4100 block of GMD. May have been deliberately set.


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