Historical Society of Sarasota County
PO Box 1632
Sarasota FL 34230
The Mission of the Historical Society of Sarasota County is to
**foster public awareness of the rich historical heritage of Sarasota county and the state of Florida,
**encourage inquiry and research into this history,
**promote collection and preservation of memorabilia,
**develop broader appreciation of its historical communities, and
**protect its historic sites and structures.
CEO/Executive Director Howard Rosenthal
Board Chair Howard Rosenthal
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
History and Background
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Awarded a competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? No
Incorporation Year 1977
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $45,000.00
Projected Expenses $55,000.00
Additional Documents
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of Determination
State Info
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes July 2015
State Registration 0
1. Site appropriate landscape improvements: In 2010 HSOSC was the recipient of a monetary grant from the Founders Garden Club of Sarasota to design and install a garden at the Bidwell-Wood House. This project linked Sarasota's oldest residence with Sarasota's oldest garden club. We made a garden with Florida native plants and Florida-friendly plants. The improvement in curb appeal yielded more people who visit the site and garden maintenance provides opportunities for volunteers. Since the garden is in Pioneer Park, a public space, community people use and enjoy the space. Wedding guests who use the Crocker Memorial Church appreciate photogrpahic opportunities in our garden.
2. Development of an Oral Histories Program: We call it the Ordinary Historians project becase we are ordinary people interviewing other ordinary people who have lived for a long time and have a perspective and a bank of memories that we are eager to capture. Our question to those we interview is this: what was it like then? We have a committee of five people who gather names and do the interviews. A grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County allowed us to buy video equipment. The interviews are archived in the form of a CD and we make copies available to interview subjects, other historical groups, HSOSC Web site and we keep copies in our archives.
3. Educational Outreach Programs - Historic Downtown Trolley Tours and Narrated Historic Cruises: Additionally we organize panel discussions and lecture series throughout the year geared to increase awareness of Sarasota's past.
4. Increase in Docent Tours by trained volunteers: We have an active trained group of docents qualified to lead large and small groups of various ages (including elementary school children) through the buildings.
5. Dramatic increase in the adaptive use of the Crocker Memorial Church for weddings, civic and social gatherings, arts and crafts shows, musical and theatrical performances and community meetings. 
Supported primarily by individual memberships, grants and in-kind donations of labor and expertise, the Historical Society of Sarasota County creates public awareness of the history of Sarasota County and the State of Florida.
HSOSC was created in the late 1920s but became an official not-for-profit entity in 1977.We encourage inquiry and research into this history and promote the preservation of artifacts, photographs, printed materials and other historic memorabilia. Our education projects, community outreach, public events, docent-led tours, interactive exhibits, lectures and other initiatives develop an appreciation of local historical communities and provide the means to preserve historic sites and structures.
Our mission deepened and intensified when HSOSC agreed to protect and curate the Bidwell-Wood House and the Crocker Memorial Church when the two structures were moved to Pioneer Park in 2006. HSOSC headquarters is now in the Bidwell-Wood House and we now have a site manager. Now, besides being an archival resource, we are a tourist destination and a center for meetings, programs and other history-related activities. Additionally, we are responsible for maintaing the structures because, while the City of Sarasota officially owns the buildings, the City does not provide monetary support. Maintainence of the buildings and grounds falls to HSOSC. So, now we find ourselves in the business of day-to-day operation of a historical site. Repairing and maintaining these buildings is a huge drain on resources and influences all of our ongoing outreach decisions. It's challenging but rewarding to be able to offer to the community a living history of the county.
1. Funding to preserve and maintain our two historical structures. In three to five years we will need to replace the roof on Bidwell-Wood roof. Estimated cost $50,000.  We have a quote for restoration of existing metal shingle roof for the Crocker Memorial Church with system acrylic coating from Sutter Roofing for $10,160 that would give us about an extra 10 years on the replacement window for the church.
2. We need a storage facility, which will cost $15,000. Currently, extra chairs, podium, tables, ladders, etc are stored in the church and have to be moved to the Bidwell-Wood House every time there is an event in the church building.  We are constantly moving large amounts of gear from one place to another. We desperately need storage.
3. Laptop Computer for use by our speakers for their power point presentations and photos. We recently garnered a donation from the Bob & Hope Black Foundation to purchase the projector and would work great with a computer attached.  Approximate cost $1,000.
4. Window shades for the 12 windows in the Crocker Memorial Church.  Presentations during the daylight hours using the projector for on screen applications need to have the windows darkened.  These would need to be done in compliance with the historical time period of the early 1900's. 
5. Heightened visibility in the community:  Public free events have helped. A new lecture series (in partnership with SARASOTA magazine) will increase visibility. Our Web site has heightened awareness considerably.
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
The Historical Society of Sarasota County is the curator of the oldest house in Sarasota and the oldest church in Sarasota.  These two historical structures, the Bidwell-Wood House (1882) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901), are treasures that have been saved from demolition. 
 The Bidwell-Wood house was built in 1882 by Alfred & Mary Bidwell who lived in the stand alone kitchen during construction.  They lived there for just a couple of years during which Alfred Bidwell, a member of the Sarasota Vigilance Society, was convicted of the murder of postmaster Charles Abbe.  His death sentence was commuted to life in prison and then he was released and died in Jacksonville.  The Luke Wood family lived in the house until 1966.  The school board then had the house moved to Hatton street in 1977 and it was cared for by the Women's Club. Veronica Morgan was the preservationist that saved the building and had it moved to her property on Florida Avenue in 1985.
The Crocker Memorial Church was built in 1901 by Peter Crocker.  It was later dismantled by Bay Haven Baptist and moved to Old Bradenton road and used by them until they outgrew it.  They had also added the front porch and steeple and the stage area.  Again Veronica Morgan saved the building and had it moved to Florida Avenue in 1985.
The Historical Society worked out an agreement with the City of Sarasota to move the buildings to Pioneer Park in 2006.  They had a three year restoration project and the buildings have been available for use since the fall of 2009. 
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
Our greatest success has been the transformation of our organization from a small group of people who gathered to discuss issues of local history, to one which now maintains and operates two historic buildings - the oldest residence in Sarasota County (Bidwell-Wood House, 1882) and the oldest church building in Sarasota County (Crocker Memorial Church, 1901).
In addition to preserving these buldings, and providing docent-led tours of them, we have made the deconsecrated church available to the community for weddings, concerts, plays, group meetings, and classes.  We also continue to hold our own meetings with speakers on topics related to local history.
Our challenge is to find people with the time, expertise, and funds to enable us to maintain these buildings while we produce events in support of our mission statement.
We sponsor several events throughout the year, such as narrated cruises on LeBarge and trolley tours of historic downtown Sarasota, which serve both to inform and entertain our guests and raise money for our building-related expenses.  We also seek grants from government agencies and charitable foundations, and contributions from private individuals.
To keep our members and the general public informed of our activities, we maintain a website and a Constant Contact mailing list, and publish a printed newsletter.
My own interest in the Historical Society of Sarasota County began shortly after my wife and I moved to Sarasota several years ago.  I attended a meeting, where I found the speaker interesting and the membership welcoming.  The historic buildings were still undergoing renovation then, and were expected to be opened to the public shortly.  As a result, the Historical Society was looking for docents to give tours of the buildings.  I had been a house museum docent before moving to Sarasota, an activity I had very much enjoyed, and leapt at the prospect of being a docent again.  I volunteered, and soon became coordinator of the docent program.  I organized a training program for the other volunteers, and gave tours myself as well.  Soon after that, I was elected to the Board of Directors and in May 2011, I was elected president.
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Education
This is a community-wide series of interactive panel discussions on a monthly basis covering politics, integration, the visual arts, real estate and the circus among other topics.  Programs will continue through next season covering additional subjects such as architecture and the performing arts.  These are held at the Crocker Memorial Church on the second Tuesday evening at 7pm for our monthly membership meetings and are becoming very popular.  They are free to members and guests donate $10 per meeting.  This program has helped increase our memberships and the audience is building.
Budget $1,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other History & Historical Programs
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Families
Short Term Success
Immediate success is the new memberships.  Also community awareness of our mission to educate the public about Sarasota History.
Long Term Success
We keep records on the number of attendees - new and renewal memberships at each program. 
This program has been well received and is helping to build awareness in the community for Sarasota history and the necessity of maintaining these two beautiful structures for continued adaptive use in the years to come.
How Program is Monitored
Continuous tracking of attendance numbers and guest donations per meeting and the number of new members and renewal memberships at the meetings.
Examples of Program Success
The moderators for the Ringling Brothers Program in December were Ron McCarty and Deborah Walk from the Ringling Museum.  They had the largest audience this season and had a very lively discussion from the audience.
The Historical Society of Sarasota County, for the past 22 years, has hosted 24 narrated, historical cruises on the LeBarge sight-seeing boat at Marina Jack Plaza.  Well-known local historians provide a two-hour commentary, during a Sunday morning Brunch Cruise.  These sold out cruises serve as a huge fund raiser for our operating funds. Just last year, at the suggestion of one of our Advisory Committee Members, we added a March Cruise to our annual Calendar of Events, to provide educational entertainment for our Snowbird population.  Our former cruise schedule only had us on the bay in November.
Budget $1,500
Category Education, General/Other Education, General/Other
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Adults Families
Short Term Success
The dual success of these Cruises is that we provide a fascinating, fun educational event, which in turn garners much-needed funds for our operating expenses, while introducing the Historical Society's activities to a whole new cadre of residents and visitors to Sarasota.
Long Term Success
If we continue to see a growing attendance and popularity with our historic cruises, we will consider the possibility of again increasing the number of tours per season.  The repeat attendance on our November tours in the past proved that locals love these tours as much as the tourists, and they tend to bring their new neighbors and visiting family members when they return, year after year.  It's a very special, pleasing way to learn about the history of Sarasota, much of which is centered on the water.
How Program is Monitored
The success of our Historic LeBarge Cruises is measured by the number of tickets that are sold, year after year.
Examples of Program Success
We have experienced Sell Out cruises almost every time, even our first ever March Cruise, in 2011, and even though we had to raise the cost of the tickets.
At least one Saturday per month, during Season, noted historian, Sue Blue has been narrating our Historic Downtown Trolley Tours, which allow our attendees a two-hour peek into our fascinating history.  The Tours begin and end at the Historical Society's headquarters in Pioneer Park, where the Gift Shop is open for their pre and post-tour browsing.
Budget $400
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other History & Historical Programs
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Adults Families
Short Term Success
Participants will spread the word about the enjoyment of these trolley tours, we will gain new members and we will continue to slowly fill our coffers for operating expenses.
Long Term Success
We are educating approximately 30 passengers on every trolley tour, as to the history of Sarasota, which may be their first introduction to the people, places and reasons that Sarasota has grown to be the cultural capital that it is today.
How Program is Monitored
Each time we post a "SOLD OUT" notice on our Trolley Tour schedule, we continue to be re-assured that they are a popular educational tool.  We could however do a post-tour survey at least once a year, to determine where the tours could be improved.  From the positive comments which we hear from the participants though, we feel the majority of them are extremely pleased with their tours.
Examples of Program Success
This is the first year in my memory that we've had two, back to back, Sold-Out tours in two months.  We're hoping that the next two tours will continue to be sold out, so perhaps we might have to increase our number of tours in the future.  A nice problem to have!
Begun several years ago, as History Day in the Park, which was held at Phillippi Estate Park, we have massaged and changed this program to a smaller venue, now held Annually in our own Pioneer Park, where we focus on local artisans, historic crafts makers, authors, musicians and more.  We try to provide educational entertainment for the whole family at this FREE event.  We have tied it in with Antiques & Appraisals Shows, Arts and Crafts Shows, a Decorators Overflow Sale, Books Sales and more.  We always provide a stage for local musicians to share their talents throughout the day, as well as local chefs to tempt the palates of our attendees.  Last year we collected food donations for the Mayor's Feed the Hungry Campaign, while highlighting as many foods as possible which have been found in grocery stores for 50 to 100 years or more.
Budget $300
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other History & Historical Programs
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Families Families
Short Term Success
Short-Term Success can only be measured in the amount of historic lore that is taken away by each attendee, and the profits to our Donations Jar, the Gift Shop and to the crafts and arts vendors who share their talents and wares.  At the same time, we hope to foster a growth in our membership and volunteer rolls.
Long Term Success
As we grow this event, we'd like to include more teachers of historic crafts, more vendors of historic crafts, more local authors - especially of historic books, more blacks and black history.  We must also figure out new ways to increase our profits from this time-consuming event and find sponsors to support our efforts.  We could also expand our sights and continue to invite the D.A.R. next door to provide cemetery tours and more educational opportunities to our attendees.  Our goal is to continue our history education of Sarasota residents and visitors of all ages, while at the same time to provide a fun, festive day for the entire family.
How Program is Monitored
We measure by a head count of attendees, by membership forms that are returned to us, by the sales of items throughout the day, by the enthusiasm of our vendors and their return the following years and by the positive feedback of our visitors and teachers.
Examples of Program Success
The glee with which a child shows off his handiwork is almost equal to the satisfaction of seeing hundreds of dollars filter into our operating coffers, and we are constantly learning which events work better under our Pioneer Day umbrella.  The success this past year, of our food drive was clearly evident in the cartons of canned and dried goods which we turned over to the Mayor's Feed the Hungry Campaign at the end of the day.  Instead of admission fees, we "charged" a can or two of food.
Begun just two years ago, this program is growing by leaps and bounds as we film interviews with some of our most fascinating elder citizens.  We intend to have a collection of these films in our libraray and once the films are edited and ready for distribution, we make them available to the "stars" and their families and for purchase to the public, if desired.  They will be able to be viewed on the Historical Society's premises.
Budget $200
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other History & Historical Programs
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens Families
Short Term Success
We've been able to ask pertinent, informative questions which have brought out fascinating stories and memories from some of our best historic sources in Sarasota, i.e. Pete Esthus, Harriet Stieff (Owen Burns's daughter) and others. These reminiscent dialogues have been filmed, edited and preserved for future viewing by all interested audiences in the future.
Long Term Success
Eventually we will establish a large library of video interviews of many of our senior citizens who will give us a broad view of Sarasota's extensive history from several different viewpoints.
How Program is Monitored
It's too soon to measure the success of this program, but all indications point to a future growth in the number of interviews which can/will be done in the future.
Examples of Program Success
The original videos have already been requested and purchased by several historians, not related to the interviewee's family members.
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Howard Rosenthal
CEO Term Start May 2011
Email hsosc1@gmail.com
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 1
Volunteers 150
Contractors 0
Staff Retention Rate % N/A
Professional Development No
Management Reports to Board Yes
Organization Plans
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Under Development
Strategic Plan Years 2
Strategic Plan Adopted Sept 2014
Management Succession Plan No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Senior Staff
Linda Garcia Site Manager
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
NonManagement Formal Evaluation N/A
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government? No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Board Chair
Board Chair Howard Rosenthal
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Term May 2013 to Apr 2015
Email rosesota@verizon.net
Board Members
Board Members
Deborah Bowers Retired
Greg Dickinson Community Volunteer
Meade Ferguson Community Volunteer
Marsha Fottler Community Volunteer
Lynn Harding Community Volunteer
BrendaLee Hickman Community Volunteer
Jane Kirschner-Tuccillo Community Volunteer
Bill Kleber Retired
Ron McCarty Ringling Museum
Howard Rosenthal Community Volunteer
JoRita Stevens Community Volunteer
William Watrous Community Volunteer
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 12
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 7
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 3
Board Orientation Yes
Board Meeting Attendance % 83
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Board Self-Evaluation No
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Program / Program Planning
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Financial Info
Fiscal Year 2014
Projected Revenue $45,000.00
Projected Expenses $55,000.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Historical Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$55,115$3,500$45,356
Administration Expense$0$38,497$19,140
Fundraising Expense$0$0$973
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.871.160.49
Program Expense/Total Expenses100%8%69%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%6%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$11,878$21,406$271,889
Current Assets$11,878$21,406$14,579
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$2,700$141$0
Total Net Assets$9,178$21,265$271,889
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $20,487Contributions, gifts, grants $23,203Contributions, gifts, grants $9,218
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountMembership Dues $11,080Fundraising $11,220Fundraising $8,147
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $9,738Membership Dues $8,240Membership $7,955
CEO Compensation
Co-CEO Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities4.40151.82--
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financials taken from IRS Form 990s. Individual contributions include foundation/ corporate support, as provided on 990s. Audits are not conducted for Historical Society of Sarasota County.
Nonprofit Historical Society of Sarasota County
Address PO Box 1632
Sarasota, FL 34230
Primary Phone 941 364-9076
CEO/Executive Director Howard Rosenthal
Board Chair Howard Rosenthal
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Year of Incorporation 1977