Greater Main Street

Before the advent of the 20th Century, Sarasota’s Main Street development was mostly limited to homesteaders and fishermen that settled close-by.  In the 1880’s, an effort was made to create a Scottish Colony. This didn’t materialize. During the next 20 years, there was little growth mainly due to a lack of railroad access to the northern population and commercial centers.  In 1903, upon the arrival of the railroad at Lemon Avenue and Main Street, Sarasota began to grow.  Real estate prices began to rise.  Sarasota’s identity was developing, as a winter tourist haven.

By 1913, Sarasota boasted about its telephone, electricity and water services. Sewer service was available to most homes near the downtown core.  Streets were paved with brick and asphalt materials. The sidewalks and seawalls were constructed of concrete.

A brass band regularly provided entertainment for the growing community.  Automobiles began to make an appearance often sharing roads with horse driven carriages and wagons.

Between 1910 and 1920, a series of influential citizens arrived in Sarasota, setting the stage for increased development in the downtown and beyond.  Among these citizens were Bertha Palmer, Owen Burns, and John & Charles Ringling.  They in turn brought other prominent visitors to Sarasota to continue their vision.

Courtesy of Sarasota History Alive     

For more information visit:

Sarasota Downtown Merchants
City Guide