Harding Circle Historic District
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ChapterhouseInc
N 27° 19.089 W 082° 34.669
17R E 343888 N 3022660
Quick Description: Large historic district with many things to offer.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 3/9/2009 3:00:19 PM
Waymark Code: WM6036
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 3

Long Description:
The Harding Circle Historic District is a U.S. historic district (designated as such on January 16, 2001) located in Sarasota, Florida. The district is on Lido Key, roughly centered around St. Armands Circle.


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In 1923 circus magnate John N Ringling (1866-1936) purchased St Armands Key, an uninhabited, 150 acre, oval shaped island. He planned a community of fine residences with a central circle park surrounded by shops. The park was named in memory of his friend, President Warren Harding (1865-1923). The landscape plan for the island consisting of the central park, boulevards an medians, was designed by a prominent landscape architect, John J Watson (1876-1950). The development work was done by Ringling's partner, Owen Burns (1869-1937). The grand opening of St Armands occured in 1928 when the bridge to the mainland was completed. Lots were sold and subsequently a few homes of Mediterranean and Spanish architecture were built. Although the Depressio (1929-1941) halted the progress of his plan, John Ringling's vision was realized with development of the residential area, beaches and shopping district since 1945. On January 16, 2001, Harding Circle, with its associated medians and boulevards, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places for its unique early community planning and development.
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Decades after conception, St Armands Circle has fulfilled John Ringling's dream of a premier shopping district. Concieved during Florida's real estate boom, St Armands was part of the John Ringling Estates Development and the jewel of Ringling Isles, an ambitious venture encompassing planned resorts, a casino, subdivisions and a shopping area scattered from Bird and Lido Keys to southern Longboat Key. Designed by architect John J Watson of Ohio and Sarasota engineer Leon Pickett the circle and surrounding development were made accessable by construction of Ringling Causeway.

After its grand opening as the centerpiece of Ringling Isles, St Armands Circle lay neglected a Depression-era victim of the 1920s Florida land boom. Sandspurs and weeds overran concrete curbs and sidewalks, imported statuary and a bandstand. The key reverted to nearly its state of nature when Charles A St Amand had homesteaded in 1885. St Amand, whose name was mispelled in subsequent deeds, built a home, cleared one acre, and claimed his land, 130-plus acres, for $13. Little could he know he would buy less than one square foot of leased area on today's St Armands Circle.
Wikipedia Url: [Web Link]

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Skyecat visited Harding Circle Historic District 12/28/2013 Skyecat visited it
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