About Us

Mission Statement:

“Sarasota County Centennial 2021 brings together partners from throughout the county to celebrate 100 years of Sarasota’s people, places, and achievements by promoting cultural and historical activities available to all citizens and visitors.”

Our Goals:

  • To celebrate the founding of Sarasota County
  • To hold county-wide events from January through December 2021 with special events on July 1, the official date of the county’s birth
  • To recognize those in history who led the campaign for an independent county
  • To encourage participation of local historical and preservation organizations, community groups, neighborhoods, businesses and local governments in the celebration
  • To support the county’s public, private, and nonprofit museums, preservation groups and historical and archaeological organizations
  • To entertain and inform through arts performances, lecture series, historical marker programs, school curriculum development, library programs, traveling exhibits, special museum exhibits, publications, and a speakers’ bureau

Sarasota County Centennial Steering Committee:

Dr. Frank Cassell, Chair

Historian and author, member of the Sarasota County Historical Commission and the History and Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County; retired history professor and university president; published books and articles on American history including Suncoast Empire and Creating Sarasota County

Dorothy Korwek, Vice Chair & Treasurer

Former member of the Venice City Council and former Director of Historical Resources for the City of Venice; author and editor of several books on Venice area history; Treasurer of Venice Heritage, Friends of Sarasota County History Center and the History and Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County

Betty Intagliata, Secretary

Past President Downtown Venice Association, instrumental in getting Venice named a "Florida Main Street City;" served on the Venice Historical Commission, Founder and first President of the Venice Area Historical Society, served on Sarasota County Historical Commission, chaired Historical Marker Committee, President of the Friends of the Sarasota County History Center; received the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation's Individual Distinguished Service Award in 2015 and the Lillian Burns Lifetime Achievement Award from the History & Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County in 2018

Don Bayley, Director of Communications

Board member Lemon Bay Historical Society, Englewood Museum, History and Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County, Friends of the Englewood Archives and Friends of the Sarasota History Center; Webmaster Sandwich (Cape Cod) Town Hall Preservation Trust and Sandwich Historical Commission; former board member Sandwich Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services Board; worked for ABC News Radio as Technical Supervisor; edited and published: Sandwich 375 Years: Photos, Facts and Fables of Cape Cod's Oldest Town and Monty's Stories: Growing Up in a Small Florida Town

Dave Baber

Vice President, Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation and the Sarasota County Historic Preservation Board; former Director of Historical Resources for Sarasota County; Dave has over 42 years of experience in activities associated with the protection and preservation of historic resources in Virginia, Connecticut and Florida; he holds a degree in historic preservation at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.

Rob Bendus

Manager, Sarasota County Historical Resources. Previously, Rob served as Director of the Division of Historical Resources in the Department of State, and as Florida State University’s Historic Preservation Officer. He has a long career in public service, having worked in several roles on both local and state levels including the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida and the Sarasota County Clerk or Court.

Priscilla Brown

Priscilla has lived in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Manila and Bogota, Colombia before settling in Sarasota. She has been working for Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources for 17 years at Phillippi Estate Park.

Kathryn Chesley

As a trained actress, with an interest in history and a knack for telling stories, Kathryn has developed “Life and Times Portrayals.” Dressed in the costume of the era and equipped with a power point filled with historical research in photographs, Kathryn brings the life and the times of historical women to organizations in 45, 60 or 90 minute performances. She portrays: Bertha Palmer, Marie Selby, Mary Jane Whitaker, Mina Edison, Rose Wilson and suffragette, Carrie Chapman Catt and Mable Ringling. Currently, she gives tours of Sarasota with Discover Sarasota Tours and serves on the Board for the Historical Society of Sarasota.

Marilyn Gerkin

Marilyn has lived in Sarasota since 1965, raised a family here & worked for Sarasota County Government for 34 years. She tells us that in 1996, she was fortunate to be elected Supervisor of Elections, which was a wonderful experience. She has been involved in numerous organizations & has always made it a priority to reach out to others. Serving on this Centennial Committee has given her the opportunity to learn how Sarasota County evolved & now to have the opportunity to share our history.

Olivia Haynes

Olivia Haynes moved to Sarasota in 2000 after retiring from Fairfax County Public Schools.  She was the Secretary of the Sarasota Butterfly Club for many years  She has held many offices with the Sarasota Garden Club including President and is presently Chair of Community Projects and the History Committee.  She is also a volunteer at The Ringling. She is currently employed at The Thinking Center where she teaches Reading.

Ellen India

Has worked for 21 years in public libraries; is currently the Adult Services Coordinator with Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources, and, as such, is part of an administrative support system for the 10 public libraries in Sarasota County.

Thomas Jones

Professor of Educational Leadership (Emeritus) at the University of Connecticut. Author of Academic books and articles on school finance. Locally since retirement, he has served as President of the Sarasota County Historical Commission, Chair of the Longboat Key Police Pension board, member Longboat Key Code Enforcement board, and the Sarasota County Schools Planning Commission. Currently Thomas works with the UNIDOSNOW high school student mentoring program.

Harry Klinkhamer

Serves as the Historical Resources Manager for the City of Venice. In that capacity he oversees the Venice Museum & Archives, the Dale Laning and Julia Cousins Laning Archives & Research Center, and is the city’s historic preservation officer.

Kim Patton Manning

Kim Patton Manning has been in Sarasota since 1961. She is president of NewView Services, Inc. Previously she founded Patton Enterprises, Office Starters, Interview Screening Services and worked at Sears, American Bank and Hyatt Sarasota. She created the “1986 Sarasota Trivia Calendar;” and is working on her new Sarasota County Trivia project which will be available in 2021. Kim is thrilled to be part of the Steering Committee for Sarasota County’s centennial celebration.

John McCarthy

John is currently V.P. of the Historic Spanish Point Campus, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens; Training Consultant, Florida Recreation and Park Association; Author, Sarasota Magazine; Kayak Tour Guide for the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. He is a former Board Member, Past President and Tour Guide for the Historical Society of Sarasota County. Previously John served as Executive Director, Historic Spanish Point; Executive Director, Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence (SCOPE); Interim Executive Director, Sarasota County Government. John served as Sarasota County’s official historian (beginning at the age of 19) and went on to have a 32-year-career in County Government, serving 10 years as an Environmental Specialist.

Betty Nugent

Michigan native Betty Dailey-Nugent has lived in Florida for nearly twenty five years. In this time, her love of history has propelled her to become among the most active and committed volunteers for historical preservation work throughout Sarasota County. She currently owns and resides in the Lampp House Museum in Englewood. In 2020 Betty received the Lillian Burns Individual Achievement Award from the History & Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County. She has served on the Sarasota County Historical Commission's Historical Marker Committee, Sarasota County History & Preservation Coalition where she was vice chair, the Friends of the Sarasota County History Center, the Sarasota County Centennial 2021 Steering Committee, the Englewood Museum, Warm Mineral Springs/Little Salt Spring Archeological Society, and the Venice Area Historical Society.
Sarasota Oral History Interview

Tom Bowers
Walter Gilbert
Cathy McGuire
Clifford Smith



Cathy Antunes, WSLR, Interviews Centennial Committee Chair, Frank Cassell

When a referendum approved the creation of Sarasota County, editor Rose Wilson added the word COUNTY to the name of the newspaper. An officer of the Woman's Club during the 1910s, Wilson printed minutes of the club's meetings and carried articles describing the various projects by which the women worked to benefit the social, cultural and political life of the community. When women gained the right to vote, Wilson encouraged them to become intelligent voters and provided through the paper basic information about voter registration, the political parties and the candidates in the next election. She considered herself one of the "progressives" in town and campaigned for the separation from Manatee County. Thanks to Rose Wilson, copies of the Times during the time she was the publisher, 1910-1923, remain, although in very fragile condition. They can be read via microfilm and paper copies at the Sarasota County History Center.

On July 1, 1921

Sarasota County was born, splitting from the old county of Manatee.

The Sarasota County Centennial 2021 is a celebration of the first 100 years of Sarasota County history. The entire county will be involved. Partners will include businesses, government units, schools, libraries, athletic organizations, social clubs, historical and preservation groups, museums, women’s clubs, professional associations, neighborhood groups, book clubs, and other types of community organizations.

We are also seeking interested Partners and Ambassadors. No monetary donation is required, just an interest in working with us to celebrate the Centennial.

See complete Partner information HERE

See complete Ambassador information HERE

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