A blog dealing with Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota.

Monday, July 14, 2014

New Discovery Pushes Back Age of Palm Ave Cabbage Palms

When I started this quest to save as many of the Palm Ave. cabbage palms as possible, I was being told they had been "dumped" there in 1983, making them 31 years old (in that spot). The pejorative verb and Reagan-era origin suggested these trees were expendable.

Then I did some investigating at the County History Center (and left them a tip -- its a great resource). That pushed the date back to 1957, nearly doubling their age at that location to 57 years. 
1957 photo shows palms lining North Palm Avenue.

Now an anonymous researcher has produced a photo from 1925 that shows a row of cabbage palms lining that section of Palm Avenue. That means some of the palms have been there 89 years, nearly three times the age that the Downtown Improvement District thought was relevant and clearly making a case that these palms have some historic significance. 

These aren't simply palms seen by Jerry Springer, Stephen King, and Dick Smothers, these are palms Mrs. Potter Palmer drove by, palms seen by Jimmy Stewart, Emmett Kelly, and Mackinlay Kantor. Palms that survived the great depression. Palms that were there when servicemen trained in Sarasota and when the war ended on August 14, 1945. The City failed to undertake any meaningful due diligence to determine the history of the landscape they have been proposing to replace.

Since they are healthy and established in the photo, one has to wonder how much further back they go. 

Panoramic view of Palm Ave from 1925 shows rows of cabbage palms lining the street.

Magenta arrows show the row of palms. 
Green arrow points to the Women's Club
(now Florida Studio Theatre) 
on the corner of Palm and Cocoanut.

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