1920s Sarasota















I’M JUST BACK from Florida’s Gulf Coast, where I attended Sarasota Mod, a conference aimed at educating the public (and hopefully saving) the city’s stock of innovative post-WWII housing and public buildings. But before I delve into all that — and delve I will, on this blog and in a piece for Architectural Record — I couldn’t resist a post about another, earlier love: 1920s Mediterranean Revival-style cottages. Sarasota developers built them to meet the needs of people beginning to discover the charms of what had been wilderness a few decades before.

Top, not a cottage — that’s Ca’ D’Zan, an over-the-top Venetian-style palazzo built for circus impresario John Ringling and his wife Mable in 1926, now restored and re-furnished down to the original china and silver. We were treated to dinner on the terrace there, below, sunset included.


One lunch hour, I strolled the back streets of Sarasota’s business district and found, in the shadows of condos and parking garages, a few 1920s buildings that have survived the relentless march of commerce. Can you spot one in the photo below?

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What fun it was to come across Burns Court, below, a rare, intact street of stucco cottages, each painted and decorated with Florida flair. Built in 1926 by developer Owen Burns (who also built Ca’ D’Zan), Burns Court is on the National Register of Historic Places.


Just east of Orange Avenue, in the streets around Laurel Park, there’s a whole neighborhood of wood-frame 1920s bungalowsBelow, a small apartment complex in that red-tile-roof, arched-windows ersatz Spanish style so beloved in the Twenties. Most, though not all, of the homes in the Laurel Park area are well-maintained, with landscaping that is beyond lush, sometimes obscuring the houses from the street.



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Must add this guy to my mailbox archive:



About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
This entry was posted in ARCHITECTURE, COTTAGE LIVING, FLORIDA, HISTORIC PRESERVATION, TRAVEL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to 1920s Sarasota

  1. Judy kahn says:

    cara, great article!! Loved the photos of the old bungalows. This city is on my bucket list! Thx

  2. Nancy Mclain says:

    I lived on Anna Maria Island,in a wooden conch house ,circa 1930, for 23 year’s.I know & love Sarasota. & the place’s you showed .Especially the Art Theater at Burn’s Court,thank’s for the memorie’s !

  3. Cara, you have outdone yourself. What a great post. Of course, I love the bungalows too. I think I need a paint job!

    Can’t wait to see the piece in Architectural Record. It will be a beauty!

  4. Beautiful, Cara. Thanks for coming to Sarasota!

  5. BSPANTON@aol.com says:

    reminds me of that area in West Palm Beach

  6. Mary-Liz says:

    I just love all those bungalows and what people have done with them! So creative and individualistic! Makes me want to move right in!! Looking forward to reading your Architectural Record article.

  7. Jenny M says:

    Thanks for sharing these photos….the houses are so different from the homes in Australia. I can’t believe the colours that they have been painted!

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