Tours Unlock the Mystic of Historic Sarasota Homes


Connoisseurs of historic houses scouting for prospects among Sarasota homes for sale will have a rare chance to join like-minded souls in the annual SarasotaMOD Tours whose 2015 edition is scheduled for November 6-8.

Presented by the nonprofit Sarasota Architectural Foundation, this event will include walking tours of Lido Shores, a small but fascinating historic enclave on Lido Key. Philip Hiss, a well-know local entrepreneur, started developing Lido Shores in 1950, and it is thus host to significant renderings of the world famous, mid-century Sarasota School of Architecture which has continued to evolve up to today. A number of houses usually closed to the public will be open just for this tour.

Notably, a resort-like estate designed by Hiss was listed among Sarasota homes for sale early this year with an asking price just a shade under $8 million. This Lido Shores property allows enchanting water views of New Pass from its nearly 12,000-square-foot home consisting of a 9,000 square-foot main residence and a four-bedroom guest house. Its illustrious list of previous owners includes 1960s-1970s pop singer Bobby Vinton.

Back to the twenties

Tours Unlock the Mystic of Historic Sarasota Homes

Besides the SarasotaMOD, a similar event to watch out for is the Historic Homes Tour organized by the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation and typically held around the first quarter of the year. These annual tours even dig deeper into the pages of local real estate history which helped shape the market for Sarasota homes for sale as we know it today. The event held early this 2015 marked the 25th year of the tour with Laurel Park again the featured itinerary as it was in 2014.

The Mediterranean Revival houses in this historic neighborhood were the focus of the tour last year. For the 2015 run, the wooden houses and multifamily homes, along with vintage commercial buildings, were given the limelight. This year’s tour has been described as a fitting tribute to Owens Burns, the Sarasota pioneer who developed much of Laurel Park in 1924-25.

Burns was also behind the development of the nearby Burns Court cottages and Washington Park. Like Laurel Park, these 1920s developments were envisioned as middle-class neighborhoods for professionals and merchants who seek the convenience of living just south of Sarasota’s downtown.

More vintage home options

Charming vignettes from this era remain available to prospective home buyers with an eye for history. Just in July 2015, a Burns-built house at Washington Park was listed among Sarasota homes for sale at a $700,000 asking price. Featuring extensive updates, this residence is a two-story home with two bedrooms and two baths within its floor area of close to 1,800 square feet.

Though typically not included in current home tours, the Flower District a short distance south of Laurel Park can likewise be among realtors’ suggestion for buyers in search of historic Sarasota homes for sale. Sometime in June 2015, a 1950s “collectible” Lustron house was offered in the market in the upper $300s. Reputedly the last of its kind in Sarasota, this house is of the prefab, all-metal design that came out after World War II and eventually shared in the rich heritage of the local real estate market.