W.C. Towles, of R.G. Dunn & Co. of Chicago began wintering in Sarasota in the late 1910s. He platted Towles Subdivision along with Jessie B. Adams, one of the original Scottish settlers who came to Sarasota in the 1880s. She was the wife of William B. Adams, a prominent Chicago contractor. It is no doubt that Adams Lane was named after one or both Adams’.
In 1922, Towles urged Scotsman and friend, Andrew McAnsh, a wealthy furniture and construction magnate from Chicago, to come to Sarasota. Towles believed that Sarasota was a place to make great profits. Since Sarasota needed a new modern hotel, he encouraged McAnsh to provide one. Upon his arrival to Sarasota, McAnsh soon became a major factor in spurring future development. He did so by overseeing the construction of the city’s first modern apartment building and hotel fronting Palm Avenue. A much needed auditorium was built adjacent on McAnsh Square.
Towles Subdivision was platted on March 19, 1924. Soon thereafter, construction of a number of single family residential structures commenced. The social and economic background of the subdivision’s earliest residents spanned a wide range: barbers, retired farmers, attorneys and retired executives.
The ensuing decades were not kind to the Towles area and it fell into disrepair. The blighted district was about to succumb to the wrecking ball when it was rescued by the vision of N.J. Olivieri in 1983. By 1995, it was transformed into a bona-fide artists’ colony. The concept has since expanded to become a very popular venue both for locals and visitors alike. Music and refreshments are scheduled monthly for the 3rd Friday Night. This provides an additional opportunity to enjoy the art colony of galleries, dine at restaurants and visit with artists.