Historical Society of Sarasota County
1260 12th Street
Sarasota FL 34236
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 No Executive Director
Board Chair Marsha Fottler
Board Chair Affiliation Herald-Tribune
General Info
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1977
Awarded competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes July 2018
State Registration Yes Dec 2017
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Other Documents
2016 Fall NewsletterView
Fall 2015 NewsletterView
2015 Winter NewsletterView
Newsletter spring/summer 2014View
Newsletter fall 2014View
Newsletter winter/spring 2013View
Newsletter Spring 2012View
Newsletter summer/fall 2012View
Impact Statement
1. Over the past year, HSOSC completed the exterior painting and repair for the Bidwell-Wood House (1882) with fund raised from our annual appeal including pressure cleaning and sealing all the wood porches and replacement of three wood benches.
2. HSOSC received Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation funds for the interior improvement of the Crocker Memorial Church (1901) including a reconstruction of the stage area and new carpet / replacement of the six ceiling fans / construction of antique bell case.
3. HSOSC replaced installed two security cameras with funds raised from our membership.
4. HSOSC completed the interior painting and repair for the Crocker Memorial Church (1901) with funds raised from special events. 
5. HSOSC completed a rodent removal and termite tenting project in the spring of 2016. 
Goals for 2017 include the following: Continued improvement in rental income from events at the Crocker Memorial Church. Continued physical upgrades and repair to both buildings under our curatorship. Complete needed exterior painting of the Crocker Memorial Church. Roof Replacement for the Bidwell-Wood House. Expand membership to include younger members. Continued expansion of educational community outreach and cooperation with other historic preservation groups in the county.
Needs Statement
1. Replacement of the Bidwell-Wood House Roof - $28,000.  We have raised around $10,000 toward this project and have requested a grant from the Marie Selby Foundation for $15,000.  Needed for completion if grant is approved - $3,000
2. Exterior painting and repair for the Crocker Memorial Church - $7,500
3. Ongoing maintenance projects (spot painting of the Crocker Memorial Church, resealing decking between buildings, contract for pest control, contract for ongoing cleaning services) $5,000 
4.  Resurface the circular drive in front of both buildings with fresh shell $2,500
Background Statement
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 after 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 maintaining the structures because, while the City of Sarasota officially owns the buildings, the City does not provide monetary support. Maintenance of the buildings and grounds falls to HSOSC. We are thus challenged with the day-to-day operation of a historical site with ongoing repairs and maintenance of fragile historic structures.  These responsibilities are a huge drain on resources and influences all our ongoing outreach decisions. It's challenging but rewarding to be able to offer to the community a living history of the county.
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
Areas Served Comments
The Historical Society serves specifically Sarasota County, but it is also a regional and international tourist destination for visitors interested in history and historic buildings.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Education
Tertiary Org Type
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 the city of Sarasota (Bidwell-Wood House, 1882) and the oldest church building in the city of  Sarasota (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 historical 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.
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
The Historical Society of Sarasota County is the curator of the oldest residence in the city of Sarasota and the oldest church in the city of 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. 
"Conversations at The Crocker" are held monthly to provide a forum for interactive panel discussions about diverse subjects related to the history of Sarasota County.  Past topics have included politics, integration, the visual arts, real estate and the Ringling Circus.  Programs will continue through next season covering additional subjects such as architecture and the performing arts.  These presentations are held at the Crocker Memorial Church on the second Tuesday evening of each month from October through April at 7pm and include our monthly membership meetings.  They are free to members; guests donate $10 per meeting.  This program has helped increase our memberships and raised funds through guest fees.
Budget $1,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other History & Historical Programs
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Families Adults General/Unspecified
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, as well as 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.
Program Success Monitoring
Continuous tracking of attendance numbers and guest donations per meeting and the number of new members and renewal memberships at the meetings.
Program Success Examples
The moderators for the Mabel Ringling Program in April 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.
Since 1992, the Historical Society of Sarasota County has hosted 30 narrated, historical cruises on the LeBarge sight-seeing boat.  Well-known local historian John McCarthy provides a two-hour commentary, during a Sunday morning brunch cruise.  These sold out cruises serve as a huge fund raiser for our operating funds.  We added a March cruise to our annual Calendar of Events, to provide educational entertainment for Sarasota's "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 LeBarge history 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.
Program Success Monitoring
The success of our Historic LeBarge Cruises is measured by the number of tickets that are sold, year after year.
Program Success Examples
We have experienced Sell Out cruises almost every time, even our first ever March Cruise, in 2011.  This success was in spite of the fact that we had to raise the cost of the tickets.
From October to April each year, noted local 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 buildings are open for their pre-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 raise funds for our operating expenses.
Long Term Success
We educate approximately 30 passengers on every trolley tour.  For many of these people this may be their first introduction to the people, places and reasons that Sarasota has grown to be the cultural capital that it is today.
Program Success Monitoring
Each time we post a "sold out" notice on our trolley tour schedule, we are reassured that they are a popular educational tool.  We could however do a post-tour survey at least once a year, to determine how 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.
Program Success Examples
We have increased the number of tours per season, and still have sold out nearly every tour all year.  We may need to add more tours next year to accommodate the interest of our members and guests.
Volunteers from HSOSC interview and film with some of our most fascinating elder citizens on an ongoing basis.  We have a collection of these films in our archives.  Once the films are edited and ready for distribution, we make them available to the interviewees and their families. They are also available to the public at HSOSC.
Budget $200
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other History & Historical Programs
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens Families General/Unspecified
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, including Pete Esthus, Harriet Stieff (Owen Burns's daughter) and others. These interviews 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.
Program Success Monitoring
It's too soon to measure the success of this program, but all indications point to a growth in the number of interviews which can/will be done in the future.
Program Success Examples
The original videos have already been requested and purchased by several historians, not related to the interviewee's family members.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director No Executive Director
CEO Term Start 0
CEO/Executive Director Email n/a
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Linda Garcia Site Manager
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % N/A
Professional Development No
Contractors 0
Volunteers 150
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation N/A
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan Yes
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Multi-Media Comments by Organization
Please visit our website: www.hsosc.com and sign up for information as soon as it is posted.
Other Documents
Other Document 2
By Laws
Board Chair
Board Chair Marsha Fottler
Company Affiliation Herald-Tribune
Board Term May 2017 to Apr 2019
Board Chair Email fottler@verizon.net
Board Members
Board Members
Deborah Bowers Retired
Kathryn Chesley Director
Greg Dickinson Community Volunteer
Meade Ferguson Community Volunteer
Marsha Fottler Community Volunteer
Reid Gerletti Southebys
Lynn Harding Community Volunteer
Bill Kleber Retired
Jeff LaHurd Retired
Ron McCarty Ringling Museum
JoRita Stevens Community Volunteer
William Watrous Community Volunteer
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 12
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 6
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 3
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 8
Board Meeting Attendance % 70
Board Self-Evaluation No
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Program / Program Planning
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month May
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2017
Tax Year End Month Apr
Tax Year End Day 30
Tax Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $50,000.00
Projected Expenses $49,500.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations No
Organization has Endowment No
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Audit/Financial Documents
Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$71,873$46,585$57,126
Administration Expense$0$0$0
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.081.441.04
Program Expense/Total Expenses100%100%100%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$59,550$54,271$39,368
Current Assets$30,782$25,503$12,758
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$1,952$2,208$7,729
Total Net Assets$57,598$52,063$31,639
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $42,629Contributions, gifts, grants $35,173Contributions, gifts, grants $28,267
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $12,596Fundraising $11,766Fundraising $22,110
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountRental Income $11,150Membership Dues $11,420Membership Dues $9,070
CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities15.7711.551.65
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
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 1260 12th Street
Sarasota, FL 34230
Phone 941 364-9076