• A Message from the President
  • 2020 VAHS Events Calendar
  • Update on Circus Train Car
  • VAHS's Continuing Presence on the Depot Campus
  • Barbara Smith:  A Modern-Day Suffragist
  • Farewell But Not Forgotten
  • Thoughts from Your Development Committee
  • Holiday Parade
  • Christmas Luncheon
  • New Docents
  • The Suffragist Project
  • 19th Amendment:  Which Date is Correct?
  • Centennial 2021 Steering Committee Report
  • Code for Discount Tickets to WE SHALL OVERCOME
  • October 15 Lecture
  • November 19 Lecture
  • New Members
  • In Memory of Margee Katterheinrich
  • Business Ads
  • Membership Application

Clarke Pressly President

A Message from the President

January 2020

Greetings, Fellow Members! 

It’s been good to see many snowbird members among us in recent weeks, even as some of our people returned north to be with family over the holidays.  I wish you all a joyous time, and for those “on the road,” a period of safe and uneventful travel.  By the time this newsletter “hits the wire,” we should see most of you back in the Venice area, and we welcome you to the active season underway.

Our seasonal calendar officially began on November 1, as we opened the Depot to visitors on a four-days-a-week schedule.  As I write this, we will have passed the 40,000-visitor threshold since we started the Docent program in late 2003.  This milestone has only been achieved through the dedication of our corps of Depot Docents.  We should all be very thankful for their willingness to volunteer their time to enrich area visitors and residents alike. 

Read more about VAHS’s many programs and initiatives elsewhere in this newsletter.  And if you haven’t volunteered your time and talents toward our mission of sharing historical knowledge and understanding with people in our community, you might want to consider doing so.  Just contact our Membership Chair Carol Bailey or any board member, and we’ll be pleased to help you find your “niche.”


Clarke Pressly, President

2020 VAHS Events Calendar

The theme of the 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.

*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 30th Annual Meeting and Luncheon.  11:30 AM-1:30 PM.  Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club.  To make reservations send $25 check (per person) to:

VAHS, PO Box 995, Venice, FL  34284-0995, with your name(s) in the memo line.  Further details TBA.

*April 21, 2020. 7PM.   Anti-Suffrage Versus Pro-Suffrage Male Arguments.

John McCarthy, Executive Director of Gulf Coast Heritage Association and Executive Director Historic Spanish Point

Jim Middleton, Longtime VAHS Member and Venice Depot Docent

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

May 2, 2020.  Venice Museums Day.  Details TBA.

*May 19, 2020. 7 PM.  Fight for the Vote:  An Overall View.  Phyllis Vogel, Program Chair: League of Women Voters of Sarasota County.

*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.

Update on Circus Train Car

The repair and painting of the car's exterior are completed, and all windows have been installed!  The wheel assemblies (called trucks) have been painted.  Work continues in the interior.

VAHS’s Continuing Presence on the Depot Campus

As you know, when the Depot was restored in 2003, VAHS offered to provide free tours of this impressive facility to the public, including the nearby Caboose.  As the years passed, VAHS’s role was formalized in a lease agreement with the County.  Since November of 2003, VAHS has hosted over 40,000 visitors. 

Docent volunteers in the ticket office of the newly restored Venice Train Depot.  Pictured from left are Paul Intagliata, Pat Cusick, Betty Intagliata, George Youngberg Jr., Sue Chapman, and Joan and Dick Watson.  (Photo appeared in Venice Gondolier Sun on 1/27/2004.)

The VAHS Board of Directors is pleased to report that Sarasota County’s Board of County Commissioners has approved VAHS’s new lease on the Depot campus.  This agreement extends VAHS’s presence in the two Depot waiting rooms and the Caboose until 2025, and it incorporates the eventual lease of the Circus Train Car, following the transfer of ownership to the County.  The terms within which VAHS will donate the train car to the County have also been approved.  Thank you to Tom Doherty, George Miller, Ed Gates, and Brenda Holland who guided this effort under Tom’s leadership!  

Barbara Smith:  A Modern-Day Suffragist

by Betty Intagliata, Program Chair

If Barbara Smith, former President of VAHS, could have been a suffragist fighting for women getting the vote, she would have been a leader!  Barbara recently made two sashes with the words “Votes for Women” on them, and she and I wear them at every program in the current series of The Betty Intagliata Lecture Series, “100 Years Since Women Got the Vote.”

Both the Florida Studio Theatre and The Players Theatre in Sarasota are recognizing the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment this year, and Barbara was instrumental in coordinating VAHS’s lecture series with their programming.  Both Barbara and I visited with the Florida Studio Theater's Meg Gilbert last summer, and Barbara represented VAHS at a recent "kick-off" of the theatre’s Suffragist Project.  Barbara will definitely support Equality Day, August 26, 2020, as will many VAHS women, supporting the effort to extend and pass the Equal Rights Amendment!

Farewell But Not Forgotten

Longtime Depot Docent Penny Phelps and her husband Herb, both loyal VAHS members, are moving from Venice to Tampa for health reasons.  In Tampa, they will live closer to their son Doug.  Herb and Penny were faithful attendees at VAHS’s monthly programs over the years, and Herb always bought many tickets to the book drawings.  Penny was a key resource whenever VAHS participated in the Shark’s Tooth Festival or brought school children to visit the Depot.  A former elementary school teacher, she was great at reading train-related stories to the children.  Penny and Herb will be greatly missed!

Thoughts from your Development Committee

by Sue Chapman, Development Chair

The other day, I was looking through my high school yearbook (which is now 63 years old!), and I came across the class motto:  As the opportunity, so the responsibility. 

At 17 years of age, I was concentrating on a lot of things other than our class motto.  But as I read it now, it has grown in meaning for many things in life; and chief among them are the challenges that Venice Area Historical Society faces in the near future.

As VAHS has grown, we have several new opportunities for that growth:  expansion of services to our members, increased financial needs, and a number of other problems to solve.   Some of the specifics are the Circus Car that is soon to be added to the Depot Campus, the conversion of the Caboose to be retrofitted for display purposes, the new lease with the county for our continued presence at the Depot, and the need to search for new office and storage space.  VAHS has a plateful of responsibilities handed to it by those opportunities. 

We ask that you, our loyal and supportive members, keep these things in mind not only when we appeal for your volunteer time, but also when we appeal for your financial support.  Thank you for all you have done in the past, and please continue to support us in the future as we seize those new opportunities and shoulder the responsibilities.

VAHS Marched in the Holiday Parade

November 30

“In late November, we entered our 'team' (the 'Depot Docents') in the city’s annual Holiday Parade.  It was a beautiful, balmy evening with MANY parade participants, and we were able to get a relatively early start in the queue.  Our group of about 14 docents either marched with one of our two banners or rode in the 1929 Ford Panel Truck graciously provided by Robert Brooke and Sue Chapman.  Another member of our team was the world-famous circus clown Chuck Sidlow (aka Chucko the Clown), accompanied by his wife Noriko.  After our mile-long trek, we were off to Allegro Bistro for pizza and 'beverage of choice' – a fun evening and great PR for the Society, particularly in promoting the future Circus Train Car.”                                       --Clarke Pressly, President

Christmas Luncheon December 3

Venice Yacht Club

"In early December, under the leadership of Sue Chapman, Development Committee Chair, almost 80 members attended a luncheon at the Venice Yacht Club.  We enjoyed the beautiful views from the upstairs dining room, had a nice lunch, and heard an address from Harry Klinkhamer, the city’s Manager of Historical Resources, on the history of Christmas Past in Venice.  Sue spoke on behalf of Earl Midlam (who could not attend that day) relating his memories of Christmas festivities in Venice."                             --Clarke Pressly, President

Depot Manager George Miller

Welcomes New Docents Jim and Karen Gross

The Suffragist Project 

Honoring 100 Years of the Women’s Right to Vote

Representatives of 51 organizations in Sarasota and Manatee Counties gathered on December 2 in Florida Studio Theatre’s Keating Theater to kick-off “The Suffragist Project,” a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.  The Venice Area Historical Society was among them, featuring its nine-part lecture series, “One Hundred Years Since Women Got the Vote.”  

Rebecca Hopkins, Project Director, noted the number of groups already involved with many diverse events.  These include “Voices Unbound,” a series of concerts by the Sarasota Music Festival and the Sarasota Orchestra celebrating women composers.  Charlie Ann Syprett, Chair of the Florida Bar Diversity & Inclusion Committee and the Booker High School Law Academy, spoke about a school-based program for middle and high school students in which lawyers and actors visit the schools to present curricula on the law.  Judge Charles E. Williams, Chair of the FST Forums, spoke of the Forum’s programs, as well as the New College program “Black Suffragists,” to take place January through March.  Additional organizations are welcome to become involved.

Actress Carolyn Michel, backed by the Choral Artists of Sarasota led by Joseph Holt, closed the program with a Suffragist reading.  Materials on the program are available from Bookstore1Sarasota.  Sarasota Magazine will publish a special edition in early January describing numerous Suffragist Project activities available.  Many attendees committed to participate in a parade of Suffragists planned for Sarasota.

A full list of community partners and a schedule of events can be found at:

Ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution:  Which Date is Correct?

The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was proposed by Congress on June 4, 1919.  It states, "The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."  Thirty-six states were needed to ratify this amendment.  According to some authors, the ratification date was August 18, 1920, the date that Tennessee's state legislature ratified the amendment, becoming the 36th state to do so.  However, several events followed Tennessee's ratification.

August 24, 1920:  Governor Roberts of Tennessee signed the "certificate of Tennessee's ratification."  The certificate was immediately placed in an envelope and mailed via special delivery to the U.S. Secretary of State in Washington, D.C.

August 26, 1920:  Bainbridge Colby, U.S. Secretary of State, received the Tennessee certificate in the early morning hours of August 26th.  He decided against fanfare and, in the privacy of his home, simply signed the "proclamation" adding the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Therefore, all three dates are significant, but the official date whereby the 19th Amendment became part of the U.S. constitution is August 26, 1920.  Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a leader in the 1848 Seneca Falls, NY Convention, which kicked off the U.S. fight for suffrage for women, never realized that it would take 72 years and the work of many suffragists who came after her to reach their important goal.

Research by Betty Intagliata, VAHS Program Chair

Centennial 2021 Steering Committee Report

As noted in previous newsletters, 2021 will mark the 100th Anniversary of the year that Sarasota broke away from Manatee County to become its own county.  A Steering Committee has been meeting since 2018 because considerable planning is needed for such a widespread event that includes all cities and towns within the County.  Betty Intagliata, VAHS’s representative on the committee from the beginning, is happy to report that some new members have recently joined the Committee, bringing the total number of members to 18.

One new member is Tom Bowers, former Education Chair for VAHS.  Another is Olivia Haynes, Chair of the Sarasota Garden Club's History Committee.  A third is David Baber who served for many years as the General Manager of Sarasota County's Department of Historical Resources. Tom will work on Curriculum Development, Olivia is on the Events Committee, and David will manage the requests for lecturers about Centennial 2021.

Dr. Frank Cassell, Committee Chair and author of the book Creating Sarasota County, recently met with all five Sarasota County Commissioners to keep them up to date.  On November 15th, Dr. Cassell and Betty Intagliata met with Dr. Larry Thompson, President of Ringling College of Art & Design, and Heather Kasten, President/CEO of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, an organization that was born out of the fight for a split from Manatee County.  Dr. Thompson is considering a number of ways that the College can help.

Please give Betty a call at (941) 484-0769 if you wish to join the Committee, would like a speaker about Centennial 2021, would like to create a historical scrapbook about your neighborhood, wish to become a Centennial Ambassador, or if your organization wishes to become a Centennial Partner. Check out Centennial 2021 on its website:

Code for Discount Tickets to


February 9, 2020 7 PM VPAC

The Venice Chorale is offering a special discount of $5.00 per ticket (regular prices $20-$25) to Venice Area Historical Society members for their concert titled “WE SHALL OVERCOME” on Sunday evening, February 9, 2020 at 7:00 at the Venice Performing Arts Center, pending availability.

The Venice Chorale celebrates the strength and endurance of humanity, performing music inspired by the fight for justice around the world and here at home.  The Venice Youth Chorale and High School Apprentices will also perform. Peter Madpak is the Artistic Director and Conductor.

To get your tickets, please visit the website at: and enter the code-VAHS19 after you’ve selected your seat(s).

“As fellow members of the cultural and arts families in Venice community, we are happy to extend the opportunity for you to attend this special concert of historical significance.  We hope you enjoy the performance.”—Venice Chorale

If you have any questions, please email:

On October 15, reenactor Ersula Knox Odom portrayed Ida B. Wells, a little-know suffragist and fighter for Civil Rights.

L-R:  Bill Jervey, Betty Intagliata, Ersula Knox Odom, Barbara Smith, Clarke Pressly

On November 19th, reenactor Kate Holmes presented suffragist Jeannette Rankin, an ardent pacifist and the first women to ever serve in the U.S. Congress.

L-R: Clarke Pressly, VAHS President; Kate Holmes, Re-enactor; Alexia Kourtidis and Michele Krumholz, Volunteers from the National Honor Society History Club at Venice High School; Betty Intagliata, Program Chair

VAHS Welcomes New Members

Marchal and Joan Cash

James and Lauralee Clayton

Randy and Marsha Ray

Chuck and Noriko Sidlow

Lawrence Glynn

Brenda Hickman

Paul Jordan

Ann Keohan

Sandy Murphy

Phyllis Vogel

Glenn Zipp

In Memory of Margaret (Margee) Katterheinrich

 August 1939-July 2019

Margee was a dedicated and enthusiastic supporter of historic preservation efforts of all groups in Venice.

Support VAHS Business Members

Click here for a printable version of this application.

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