Sarasota Alliance For Historic Preservation


Upcoming Frank Lloyd Wright Lecture

On October 16, 2014, Please join the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation as they present a special evening lecture on the architectural masterpieces of Frank Lloyd Wright at Florida Southern College, located in Lakeland, Florida. This site is the largest assembly of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world. Envisioning buildings rising “out the ground, and into the light, a child of the Sun” Frank Lloyd Wright designed a master plan that would become his largest project of his career that is still intact. The buildings are constructed using glass, steel and Florida sand producing a most unique experience with the use of natural light and colored glass. Mr. Mark R. Tlachac comes to us from Florida Southern College, with a program that will enlighten the audience with imagery and information of these priceless structures and about the future restoration plans of this national treasure.

As an additional bonus, at 6PM the Ringling College of Art and Design will open the “Keating Center” for a reception at 6PM. Officials from the Ringling College will explain about some of their new and exciting projects that are underway. This will offer visitors an opportunity to hear about the early beginnings of Ringling College and let them view a section of the historic building that once was the 70-room Bay Haven Hotel.

Through the generosity of John Ringling, the school would now own the buildings and property for the art school and dormitory for students. It was originally called  “School of Fine and Applied Art of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art”, opening  October 2, 1931 as a branch of Southern College, now Florida Southern College. Dr. Ludd M. Spivey was the President of Southern College and was named as the first Director of the Art School. In 1933 the school became independent obtaining a charter incorporated as a non-profit institution renamed the “Ringling School of Art”, and renamed as the “Ringling College of Art and Design”.

Please join us at opening reception at 6PM at the Keating Center or just the lecture promptly 7PM at the Academic Center Auditorium. Parking is provided on the Ringling campus: please follow the SPECIAL EVENT parking signs to Selby Gallery West Parking Lot and the Christ-Janer East Parking lot.

Please purchase your tickets in advance for $15.00 using PayPal on the right sidebar, or $20.00 at the door. Only 200 seats are available for this exciting presentation so place your order today. 


The Mable Ringling Memorial Fountain and Reflection Pool

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We are pleased to announce the completion of construction on the Mable Ringling Memorial Fountain in Luke Wood Park. Seventy seven years after the site’s birth the water is once again flowing and new multicolored lights celebrate Mable’s memory.

Through the generous support of the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation and the collaborative spirit of The Ringling new life has been given to a historic treasure and a public space enlivened. Steven High, Executive Director of The Ringling stated, “I congratulate the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation for their completion of the Mable Ringling Memorial Fountain. The Ringling Museum was honored to partner with the Alliance to provide support for their restoration of this Memorial Fountain that was originally established in 1936 to honor Mable’s efforts in the beautification of the Sarasota community. I commend the Alliance for the hard work and dedication necessary to restore this important reminder of our community’s history.”

The Selby Foundation grant funded the major construction for the basin. The Ringling collaboration allowed our organization access to an original sculpture for casting the fountain centerpiece. Ringling also shared their relationship with Florida State University Master Craftsman Studios. Phil Gleason, Studio Manager, documented his students restoring and casting the centerpiece for the fountain and used cutting edge 3-D imaging to recreate the bowl which sits atop the ‘Cluster of Boys.’ Around the perimeter is a ring of ‘Myakka bog iron’ rock. These are original to the fountain and were carefully saved during the excavation. The lions guarding the fountain entrance, originally bequeathed by John Ringling to the project were kindly returned from J.D. Hamel Park to their original place with the permission of The Sarasota County Veterans Commission.

The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County's support through the John Ringling Towers Grant for Historic Preservation funded the landscaping. The design was provided by board member Martha Horton, retired landscape architect in collaboration with the Sarasota Garden Club. The landscape, irrigation and walkway installation was done by Diaz Landscape Maintenance with plant material donated by Robert Albritton of Albritton's Nursery. Fundraising will continue to provide historical markers in honor of Mable Ringling and Luke Wood.

Other important contributors are the Sarasota Garden Club, the Senior Friendship Center, Charles Stottlemyer, Jesse White of Sarasota Architectural Salvage, Paver Development, Betsy Bagby, Nancy & David Morgan, Ginger Sutton and over one hundred other individuals and companies who have given their time and money to help make this project a reality.

The fountain’s importance lies in its inception. Mable Ringling was the first President of Sarasota's Founder's Circle, and after her death in 1929, the Sarasota Federation of Garden Circles decided to honor Ringling’s service with a memorial fountain and reflection pool. The fountain tribute was placed in Luke Wood Park in 1936. After World War II, the memorial fountain fell into disrepair from lack of maintenance funding. The fountain was subsequently filled with dirt and abandoned in the early 1950s.

In 2011, the Alliance received permission for the Sarasota City Commission to renovate the fountain. Working from archival images the excavation began on August 30, 2012. With the expert craftsmanship of Rob Craft, the artistry of Pearse Kelly of Splash Mosaics and many volunteer hours from the Sarasota Military Academy cadets, their families, and community friends, the fountain has been restored to its former glory. Some cosmetic work remains such as landscaping, extended shell walkways and commemorative marker that will be installed in early 2014.

The project has not relied on taxpayer funds, but solely on donations, grants and in-kind contributions of services, equipment, expertise and supplies. This project is, as it was originally, an act of collaboration and community effort. The unsung heroes here are the tradesmen, city staff and board members who have worked together with creative thinking, out of the box solutions and persistence of vision. The Sarasota Alliance thanks you all for your help in bringing this asset to the people of Sarasota. Please stop by, enjoy the fountain, and think about what is possible in this incredible historic park.

To view the timeline of the fountain's renovation progress from start to finish, take a few minutes and enjoy this remarkable journey!



Recent Media Coverage about Mable Ringling Memorial Fountain

Preservation Magazine

Observer, September, 2012

Observer, June, 2013

ABC -7 News




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Sarasota Alliance For Historic Preservation, inc. All rights Reserved
PO Box. 1754 - Sarasota, FL 34230 (941) 953-8727
An affiliate of the Sarasota History Alive! Network


Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation,Inc.
Post Office Box 1754
Sarasota, Florida 34230
(941) 953-8727


Benefits of membership include participaton in historic homes tours, walking tours, rehabilitation projects, workshops, seminars and much more. Please join us by completing this form and sending it to the address below in the Contact Us section.

You may also pay with PayPal.

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TOURS & Events

Frank Lloyd Wright Lecture - October 16, 2014 - Please join us at opening reception at 6PM at the Keating Center or just the lecture promptly 7PM at the Academic Center Auditorium. Parking is provided on the Ringling College of Art campus: please follow the SPECIAL EVENT parking signs to Selby Gallery West Parking Lot and the Christ-Janer East Parking lot.

Please purchase your tickets in advance for $15.00 using PayPal, or $20.00 at the door. Only 200 seats are available for this exciting presentation so place your order below today.

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We offer three different tour options every year. Our Annual Bus Tour takes you on professionally guided tour past significant homes, buildings and structures with an architectural theme that changes annually. Our Annual Homes Tour changes location every year and offers remarkable homes for you to visit, explore, learn about their history, and appreciate how people do an outstanding job of preservation.

Preservation Opportunities consists of homes or buildings chosen to highlight the risk of them being demolished. You will hear professional preservationists and architects present the history of the structure and offer ways to save it from the wrecking ball. Refreshments are served and it affords you an excellent opportunity to get involved with preservation.



There are a variety of ways to support the Alliance's mission. One way is through the purchase of books about Sarasota's history. Click here for more information.


The Alliance publishes quarterly newsletters containing up to date information on Alliance activities.Newsletters are mailed to members free of charge.

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