History Happened Here

A campaign commemorating Florida's diverse cities.
Brought to you by the Florida League of Cities.


Sarasota County

Year Founded: 1926


Franklin Higel, who felt that the blue waters of the bays, rivers and Gulf gave the place a resemblance to the famous Italian city of Venice, named the city in 1888. Long ago, the area was known as “Horse and Chaise” to boatmen who saw a likeness to a carriage in a distinctive clump of trees that were on its shoreline. In 1925, a well-known orthopedic surgeon purchased 2,916 acres of land in the area and hired a world-renowned city planner, John Nolen, to design a city on his land that was to be called Venice. Later in 1925, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers purchased 27,000 acres and hired Mr. Nolen to complete a plan for a city on the Gulf, which became the City of Venice that exists today. This plan differed somewhat from the earlier Albee Plan, and the present city’s overall plan and integrity is true to the Nolen plan.

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