The unique Rosemary District, once known as Overtown, was part of the original plat of the Town of Sarasota in 1885.  As early as the 1890s, African Americans settled here, just north of downtown Sarasota, as it was then known as “Black Bottom.”  It adopted the name change to Overtown in the mid-1920s.

During the 1920s, the Florida real estate boom led to residents to invest and purchase land.  That resulted in an abundance of community activity.   There was a movie theater, billiards hall, barbershop, department store, ice cream parlor, auto dealership, filling station, lunch counter, grocery store, print shop, and a furniture store.  At the Savoy, friends socialized while listening to the latest hit songs.

In 1994, this area was officially named the Rosemary District in honor of the historic Rosemary Cemetery that was established in 1886 at Eight Street and Central Avenue. In 2003, the Rosemary Cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places.


Courtesy of Sarasota History Alive

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