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In and around downtown Sarasota are notable neighborhoods and fun streets to explore with a mix of architectural styles..
A charming array of cottages, bungalows and small apartment buildings, Laurel Park is a 9 block National Register of Historic Places District in the heart of downtown Sarasota. One of the first homes was built in the late 1800's and became the home of Sarasota's 1st mayor J.H.Gillespie . The district was also the home of the Sarasota County Courthouse in the 1920's while the present day courthouse was being constructed. The neighborhood's exceptional location and walkability make it the most sought after location in Sarasota for young professionals and urban dwellers. The district website provides a tour map and extensive information on the area and the surrounding districts. It is also an excellent resource for links to preservation and city related sites.
Named after its privileged location on a hill on Sarasota Bay, Bungalow Hill was born in 1921. Most of its houses boast the area’s popular craftsman bungalow style.
McClellan Park is Sarasota's charming neighborhood south of downtown next to the lively Southside Vilage. Its houses date back to the 20's and are craftsman bungalows, Spanish style and Tudor Revival.
Indian Beach/Sapphire Shore. In the 1920's, rich New Yorkers created what they intended it to be the "ultra-exclusive residential area" on Sarasota Bay. There are many beautifully preserved historic homes, including the palatial homes of three early Sarasota developers: John Ringling, Charles Ringling and their good friend Ralph Caples. In this neighborhood, you will find the amazing Venetian-style Ringling Museum and Cá d’Zan "House of John" built by Owen Burns for Ringling who called Sarasota home a portion of the year and moved the winter quarters of his circus to the city in 1927.
Palm Avenue is a contrast of architecture. The avenue runs from Tamiami Trail (Rt.41) to Mound Street. Midway between Main Street and Ringling Blvd. are the Mira Mar Apartments. These two story 1920's med-rev buildings are all that are left of the once stunning Mira Mar Hotel, auditorium and shops on the north side of Palm. Opposite, on the south side of Palm is a classic Sarasota School of Architecture building and pond housing longtime businesses William Hartman Gallery, Graham Interiors, the art studio of d.a.gordon dart, a hair salon, and Hodgell Gallery.
Much of the significant 1920's commercial architectural fabric of Sarasota has disapeared but its mid century architecture, known as - The Sarasota School of Architecture is drawing attention. The Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau is a good source for a self tour map and information on the architecture. It is located in the historic Chidsey Building at 701 N. Tamiami Trail as is the free Sarasota County History Museum.