• A Message from the President
  • 2019-2020 VAHS Events Calendar
  • Support VAHS with the AmazonSmile Program
  • Circus Car Update
  • Update on Centennial 2021100 Years Since Sarasota Became a County
  • September 17 & 19 Lecture Series
  • Support VAHS Business Members
  • Membership Application

A Message from the President

Dear VAHS members,

I hope all of you had a pleasant summer either in the Venice area or elsewhere.  If you've been gone for a few months, I welcome you back to "Paradise."  Those of us who have been in residence have been experiencing extremely warm temperatures and several rainy weeks, especially in August.  We are eagerly awaiting the more moderate days we all enjoy during "the season."

For some of us, the summer "break" in our schedule has been an active time as we work on Society matters in the background.  For example, our Program Chair Betty Intagliata has been busy putting together our lecture/program schedule for 2019-2020 and, as of this writing, has set up programs through March of next year.  For our Depot docents, it's been business as usual at the Rollins Coakley Railroad Park as we entertained visitors each Saturday during the off-season, many of whom are "locals" who just wait until this time of year to do such things.  Last, but certainly not least, our Circus Train Car Project leaders Mary Huba and George Miller have continued their work, along with our project oversight committee, in sustaining forward momentum on the rail car.

Speaking of the new lecture series, I think you will enjoy the upcoming programs, all on the theme "Women Get the Vote:  The 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."  The series opened with a two-part video series in September based on a Ken Burns documentary film on two prominent suffragists, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  This fall, the series will continue with presentations by Florida historians and re-enactors.  See the Events Calendar inside this newsletter for more information.

Lastly, I'd like to open the new season with a promotional statement on how important it is to have volunteers within the Society to support all of the varied activities in which we are involved.  Everything we are able to accomplish is done with members who have willingly and generously provided their time and/or personal resources to make things happen--we have no paid staff.  Of course, we have been recipients of significant donations by others who believe in what we're doing and provide resources accordingly, especially for special projects.  Yet, the volunteer labor is unquestionably the key element that keeps the Society actively engaged in promoting the history of our area for both residents and visitors.

This theme was recently endorsed by the Venice Gondolier editorial board in their Opinion piece on Saturday, September 14, entitled "Venice wouldn't be Venice without volunteers."  If you did not read this article, try to find a copy and think about what it has to say, particularly the author's concluding statement:  "If you're a local volunteer, thanks.  What you do is a big part of what gives Venice its celebrated small-town feeling.  If you're not, try it.  You'll like it."

We couldn't have said it better.  If you think you'd like to contribute your time in a meaningful way, please contact Carol Bailey, our Membership Chair, or send me an email:  president@veniceareahistoricalsociety.org.

Enjoy the season.


Clarke Pressly, President


2019-2020 VAHS Events Calendar

The theme of the 2019-2020 Lecture Series is "100 Years Since Women Got the Vote."  The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was proposed on June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920.

*October 15, 2019.  7 PM.  Ida B. Wells, African-American Journalist and Suffragist.  Ersula Knox Odom, a Florida reenactor, returns to Venice to portray this little-known suffragist and fighter for Civil Rights.

*November 19, 2019. 7 PM.  Jeannette Rankin helped to pass the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and was the first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress.  Kate Holmes, reenactor, returns to Venice in this new role she has researched for VAHS.


December 3, 2019.  VAHS Member Christmas Luncheon.  Venice Yacht Club Sunset Room.  1330 Tarpon Center Dr., Venice.  11:30 AM-1:30 PM. Tickets $20.  Reservations for the luncheon may be sent with your check (made payable to VAHS) to VAHS Christmas Luncheon, PO Box 995, Venice, FL 34284-0995.  Please list reservation name(s) in the memo line. Final date for reservations is November 26.

*January 21, 2020. 7 PM.  Florida and Women's Suffrage presented by Doris Weatherford, author of two books on the Suffrage Movement.   

February 1, 2020. 8 AM-1 PM.  Visit the VAHS booth at the Venice Farmer's Market.  401 W. Venice Ave.

*February 18, 2020. 7 PM.  Nineteen, a two-person play about the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, will be presented by Katharine Michelle Tanner of Tree Fort Productions.

*March 17, 2020. 7 PM.  Carrie Chapman Catt, American Suffrage leader, part of new generation of American suffragists presented by reenactor Kathryn Chesley.

March 25, 2020.  VAHS Annual Meeting and Luncheon.  11:30 AM-1:30 PM. Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club.  Details TBA.

*April 21, 2020. 7 PM.  Lecture Series-Topic TBA

April 28-29, 2020.  Noon-Noon.  Giving Challenge.  Details TBA.

May 3, 2020.  Venice Museums Day.  Details TBA.

*May 19, 2020. 7 PM.  Lecture Series--Topic TBA

*The Betty Intagliata Lecture Series is sponsored by the Venice Area Historical Society, with permanent funding provided by the Bill Jervey, Jr. Charitable Foundation.  All programs are FREE and OPEN to the public.  Programs are held at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice, 1971 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34292.  No reservations are necessary but seating is limited.  Please plan to arrive early.

       Did you know that you can support VAHS           by simply using this AmazonSmile Website?                                                                                      

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.  Click here or on the AmazonSmile logo above to support VAHS.

Circus Train Car Update

Steady progress continues on the circus car.  The exterior repair and painting are virtually complete, with only a final coat of paint and a clear coat remaining to be applied on one side of the car. 

In the interior, Uniglide is preparing surfaces for installation of windows and insulation, and Royal Air Conditioning and Heating has begun to mount HVAC equipment. Tim Wisgerhof, Resident Scenic Designer at the Venice Theatre and a member of the Circus Car Interior Design Committee, is using his artistic talents to create a professional design for the interior exhibits that will tell the story of Venice’s circus years.  Project leaders George Miller and Mary Huba are meeting with Tim weekly, and they are excited by his ideas!

Update on Centennial 2021100 Years Since Sarasota Became a County 

In 2021, Sarasota County residents will have the opportunity to attend numerous events honoring the 100 years since Sarasota broke away from Manatee County to became its own county, a move that was supported by Bertha Honoré Palmer, her brother, and her two sons.  

The Centennial 2021 Steering Committee has been meeting since 2018 to plan for the Centennial. To learn about what this group is doing, please go to www.sarasotacountycentennial.com.  There you will see that the committee has created a "Partners" program, and a variety of civic organizations, including VAHS, have signed up.  The committee is working on identifying more "Partners" in all parts of the County.  You will also learn about a "Community Ambassador" program for individuals who wish to help get the word out about the Centennial to neighborhood and other organizations.  

The full committee did not meet in July and August, but its officers kept busy.  Frank Cassell, Chair of Centennial 2021 Committee, and Betty Intagliata, VAHS representative on this committee, met with the heads of both the Venice Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.  Both are becoming "Partners."  Soon, Frank and Betty will meet with Larry Thompson, the President of Ringling College of Art & Design.

Centennial 2021 is developing a Speakers Bureau that will send out individuals who can discuss the Centennial with local organizations.  You can call the Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources to request a speaker (941-861-6883).  

Centennial 2021 would like to be represented in the Venice Holiday Parade in December 2020. A vintage automobile is needed to carry committee representatives.  Know someone who has one?  Call Betty Intagliata at (941) 484-0769.  Also call Betty if you wish to join the Centennial 2021 Committee. 


September 17 & 19 Lecture Series

On September 17 and 19, the Venice Area Historical Society presented a showing of the Ken Burns film "Not for Ourselves Alone:  The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony."  Attendance over the two evenings was 115.  This program was the kickoff for the 2019-2020 Betty Intagliata Lecture Series with the theme "100 Years Since Women Got the Vote."  A question and answer period moderated by Barbara Smith and Betty Intagliata followed the film.

                      L-R:  Clarke Pressly, VAHS President; Barbara Smith, VAHS member;                                               Betty Intagliata, VAHS Program Chair; Maimie Reitano, program attendee

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Office: (941) 412-0151 • PO Box 995, Venice, FL 34284-0995