ENGLEWOOD, the two county town on Florida's West Coast, was settled in the late 1800's by pioneers like William Goff, who opened a trail from El Jobean to Vineyard (Dearborn Street), and Lorin Ainger, who set up a store to serve area fishermen.
In 1896 the three Nicolas Brothers started a twenty-four block community and named it Englewood after their Illinois hometown. The town remained agricultural until the 1940's since the Tamiami Trail passed east of the peninsula.
People taking a beach drive down Manasota Key, should note the rescued THE HERITAGE (1902), 6660 Manasota Key Road, an old beach house, built as "Palm Ridge" by master carpenter Carl Johanansen. Later the house was a nudist colony and then the home of author Ruth Swayze. The wonderful complex is now a great artist retreat and a creative beachside haven for many talented artists and musicians.
Another side trip off Old Englewood Road west on Stewart would lead to LEMON BAY PARK (1992), 570 Bay Park, Sarasota County's newest nature complex.
The original center of Old Englewood is the corner of Old Englewood Road and Dearborn Street, where once stood the RICKARD'S GUEST HOUSE (1896), 2 Old Englewood Road, once the winter home for Ohio State professor Edward Sommermeir and later Amy Jergens of the Jergens Lotion family. The loss of the building to fire was a tragic loss for Englewood. At the foot of Old Englewood is BUCHAN LANDING, where Peter Buchan set up his port, its house of stilts THE ROYAL CASINO (1825), moved to 240 Dearborn .
Dearborn Street was the original downtown and it houses many old shops like the 1929 Chapin Grocery at 200 Dearborn, now a studio, and the Englewood Hardware Store. The Lemon Bay Playhouse is at 96 West Dearborn.
RICHARD’S GUEST HOUSE
To the north along the Bay is the SITE OF THE ENGLEWOOD SAW MILL (1898), end of Harvard Street, and the site of the Englewood Inn (1898), end of Perry Street. The PAT LAMPP HOUSE (1922), on Perry Street, is an early house. Other old homes on Perry Street are located at 520 Perry (1922), 540 Perry (1924) and 606 Perry (1926). At the foot of Yale Street was the NICHOLAS BROTHERS TRADING POST SITE.
East of Old Englewood at 321 Cedar and Yale is the LEMON BAY GARDEN CLUB. At Coconut and Maple is the unusual Prairie Style LEMON BAY WOMEN'S CLUB, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright pupil Clare Hosmer. This is one of the key historical sites in South Sarasota County.
South of Dearborn at 416 Green Street is the
OLD METHODIST CHURCH, restored by the Lemon Bay Historical
Society. 502 Green is a 1917 two bedroom metal roof house. South of Magnolia is the INDIAN MOUND PARK, with a small
mound well marked for vegetation.
South of FL 775, on the right, is the LEMON BAY CEMETERY, somewhat barren, but site of the pink tombstone of Emile Gauguin, son of the French painter, and the wonderful boat grave of fishing pioneer H. H. Bill Ainger.
Before crossing the bridge to Englewood City Beach, one might want to drive along New Point Comfort Road, site of old cottages and the former BASS BIOLOGICAL LAB. Crossing the TOM ADAMS BRIDGE (1964), one should turn left to notice the huge, white CHADWICK BEACH PAVILION (1927), once the focal point of Steve Chadwick's cottage colony. Head southward on Gulf and you'll end at a deserted beach park that ends at Stump Pass.
PALM ISLAND is a different place to stay, although expensive. You take a no automobile ferry from Harbortown, 10 miles south at 7092 Placida Road, and arrive at a condo and cottage community overlooking northside of Stump Pass. Restaurant, tennis, boats. (800) 697-4800.
WHITE ELEPHANT PUB at Englewood Beach at 1855 Gulf Boulevard, is a 1930's structure of a carnie resort used for years as a seafood spot on Chadwick's Cove. Now with the marina, it is a favorite eating place with the public beach across the highway. At the south end of the key is a State Park heaving down to Stump Pass. Parking is limited here, next to the classic Weston Resort.