In 1843, a young adventurer named William Whittaker settled in the Sarasota area, and gradually the area was built up by hardy colonists, including a ship of settlers from Scotland. Among these was a man named John Hamilton Gillespie - who later introduced golf to Sarasota, building Florida's first golf course.
An influx of wealthy socialites settled the area starting in 1910, setting the tone for Sarasota as a winter location for the cultured crowd which continues year-round to this day. In fact, the performing and visual arts in Sarasota had been established before most Florida cities even had post offices.
During a real estate boom in the '20s, circus magnate John Ringling and his wife Mable constructed their magnificent winter residence "Ca'd'Zan" ("House of John"), and a museum to house their extensive art collection. The mansion, modeled after the Dode's Palace in Venice reflects Ringling's interest in Italian Art & Architecture and the museum has one of the largest Baroque collections in the world. Ringling also made Sarasota the winter headquarters of his world-renowned Ringling Brothers Barnum & Baily Circus.
The beaches of Siesta Key are world-renowned. The pure quartz, pulverized to a fine white powder, has a magical quality. There is no sand quite like Siesta's anywhere. They are also the island's centers of social activity - places to meet, to hold reunions, group picnics, even weddings - or just to stroll, bicycle or jog with friends.
Driving Distances Between Florida Cities