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

Webmaster and board member Sarasota County Centennial 2021, Lemon Bay Historical Society, Englewood Museum, Sandwich Town Hall Preservation Trust and Sandwich Historical Commission; serves on the boards of History and Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County, Friends of the Englewood Archive and Friends of the Sarasota History Center; 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

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.

Ted Ehmann

Artist, historian and author; currently president of the Charlotte Harbor anthropological Society; serves on the board of the Warm Mineral Springs, Little Salt Springs Archaeological Society of North Port and is co-organizer of the Charlotte County Centennial 2021 Committee. Ted's first two books on local history are being published within the year by Pineapple Press in Sarasota.

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.

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.

 

Listen:

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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