Sarasota County is inviting the community to take a step back in time with four historical women.

An exhibit opened June 7 when Phillippi Estate Park became home to a special exhibit dedicated to examining the growth of Sarasota and the impacts Nettie Keith, Bertha Palmer, Mable Ringling and Marie Selby had on Sarasota.

The exhibit will remain at Phillippi Estate Park until July, when it will then travel to eight county libraries.

The exhibit, called “Shaping Sarasota: Four Memorable Women,” showcases the growth of Sarasota and the influence they had on early community development.

“These women greatly influenced the direction of life in the early Sarasota community,” said Priscilla Brown, Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources program coordinator. “Their legacies can be seen today throughout the county today at well-known landmarks, including Phillippi Estate Park, Historic Spanish Point, Ringling Museum and Selby Gardens.”

The opening exhibit at Phillippi Estate Park June 7 and 8 included a presentation on “The Florida Land Boom of the 1920s by Rodney Kite-Powell,” a discussion of “Florida Mansions and the Gilded Age” by Steven Noll,” and a look at “Female Activists in Early 20th Century Florida” with Jeff LaHurd.

Admission to the Phillippi Estate Park exhibition is free but reservations are required. Viewing hours are noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays through July 6 at the Edson Keith Mansion at Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Following July 6, the exhibit will visit eight county libraries. Displays will be available at each location for a month with viewing times during regular library hours beginning in August.

  • August: Osprey Library at Historic Spanish Point, 337 N. Tamiami Trail, Osprey.
  • September: Gulf Gate Library, 7112 Curtiss Ave., Sarasota.
  • October: Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Library, 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice.
  • November: William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library, 300 Nokomis Ave. S., Venice.
  • January 2020: Fruitville Library, 100 Coburn Road, Sarasota.
  • February 2020: Elsie Quirk Library, 100 West Dearborn St., Englewood.
  • March 2020: North Port Library, 13800 S. Tamiami Trail, North Port.
  • April 2020: Selby Library, 1331 First St., Sarasota.

Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more details, call Sarasota County Contact Center, 941-861-5000, or visit:


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