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The Belle Haven Inn

The Belle Haven Inn underwent construction (as the DeSoto Hotel) between 1886-1887, and was opened to the public in 1887. Colonel Gillespie opened the DeSoto and hosted a Grand Ball. The hotel was bounded by Gulfstream Avenue, Main Street, and South Palm Avenue. In 1908 The Belle Haven Inn had been thoroughly renovated and was under new management when newlyweds Marie and William Selby visited Sarasota for the first time and stayed at the old Belle Haven Hotel.

The hotel had tennis and croquet courts, free row boats for the guests, private sulphur baths, and large spacious verandas overlooking beautiful Sarasota Bay. Rates by the day were $2.50 to $3.50. They also advertised special rates by the week and for families. Chickens roamed free on the grounds.

The Belle Haven Inn was torn down in 1925 with the reason that it wasn't modern enough.

In 1925 a three-story, "L" - shaped Mediterranean Revival building, designed by Dwight James Baum was built at 133 Fourth Street in Sarasota, and named "The Broadway" or El Vernona Apartments. Today it is known as the Belle Haven, and is a nationally designated historic site. In 1984, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. By March 1926 the twenty furnished apartments were ready for occupancy at a total cost of $250,000. In addition to the Broadway building, the architect Dwight James Baum designed the Ca d'Zan for John Ringling, and the Sarasota County Courthouse.

"Belle Haven Inn, Sarasota, Fla." Post Card
Published by the Curt Teich Company in 1914. Photo by T.F. Arnold.

Other photos courtesy of Sarasota History Center

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