Portsmouth, Va. Industrial Department, Seaboard Air Line Railway, [ca. 1905]. pp. including illustrations. Map on inner rear wrapper. Original printed teal wrappers. Stamp of "Lord & Edwards, Real Estate, Sarasota, Fla.," in lower margin of p.. Minor wear to corners. Near fine. Item #WRCAM55151
An early development pamphlet issued not long after Sarasota was incorporated as a town on October 14, 1902. The Seaboard Railroad (publisher of this brochure) had finished its extension line from Tampa to Sarasota in 1899 (five years ahead of schedule); that same year a phone line from Manatee to Sarasota was installed by the Gulf Coast Telephone Company. The Sarasota area had been known for its citrus industry since the 1870s, but in 1886, Scotsman John H. Gillespie arrived and, with his company, Florida Mortgage and Investment Co., established steamship connections with Tampa, built the De Soto Hotel (later known as the Belle Haven Inn), and laid out the first golf course in Florida and the second in America. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gillespie also served as Sarasota's first mayor, uniting its agricultural promise and its potential for tourism. The anonymous author highlights the extended growing season for fruits and vegetables, the ample fishing, and provides testimony from locals about the area's beauty, with the promise that "rural Florida in summer is not excessively warm." While that final statement is patently false, this remains an interesting and rare example of early development along the Gulf Coast in Florida. No copies are listed in OCLC, and Servies's listing is based on a Hayman Books catalogue of 1991. SERVIES 14294.