• A Message from the President
  • Applause for the Symphony
  • 2022 VAHS Events Calendar
  • The New Normal for VAHS
  • Venice Train Depot Closed Temporarily by County
  • Circus Train Car Update
  • Centennial 2021 Update
  • Two Ways to Support VAHS
  • VAHS Appreciates Our Donors
  • Welcome to Our Newest Members
  • Jerry Madden, A Leader and Good Friend of VAHS
  • Happy 100th Birthday, Julia Cousins Laning
  • A Special Appeal from Membership
  • In Memory of Carl Bauer
  • Support VAHS Business Members
  • Membership Application

A Message from the President 

January 2022

Hello Dear Friends,

I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday season, filled with family, friends, and frivolity.  I send you the very best wishes for the New Year of 2022.

We’ve been through a lot of stressful times together the last couple of years.  The dark days of the pandemic have kept us apart too long, and we’re not quite sure if it is done with us yet.  And so, continuing to err on the side of caution, we will offer our lecture series in January and February still in the “virtual” world.  In March, April, May, and June, the series will once again be offered “in person.”  March will be a special format so watch your email blasts for more information.

Please mark your calendars for the annual members’ luncheon meeting to be held at Pelican Pointe on Friday, March 18, 2022, starting with time to socialize at 11:00 AM.  Registration information will be sent to you by email blast as we get closer to the event.

On Wednesday, January 12, 2022, VAHS is hosting a luncheon at Plantation Golf and Country Club honoring the history of The Venice Symphony.  We will meet Music Director Troy Quinn and Symphony President/CEO Christine Kasten and enjoy the music of live musicians.  The performances of the symphony at Venice Performing Arts Hall in January are titled “Under the Big Top.”  The luncheon proceeds will benefit Venice Area Historical Society’s work at the Depot, as we strive to preserve the historical assets there and promote our newest addition, the restored Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus car.  Seating is limited to 200, so we hope you got your tickets early.  If you didn’t, please check to see if there is any available seating.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the day when our volunteer Depot docents are back in uniform, giving tours at the Depot Campus.  Our loyal crew, along with some new recruits, are eagerly waiting for repairs to the Depot building and final touches to the displays to be finished.

One of my final jobs to accomplish, as I finish my last term as President, is to remind you of the campaign for the Giving Challenge, a county-wide donor event that will take place from noon April 26 to noon April 27, 2022.   This is your chance to help many nonprofits, including VAHS, gather funding dollars that are doubled by a matching grant from The Patterson Foundation.  I appeal to all members of VAHS and all our other friends to aid us in this drive.  It’s easy to do.  Safely send in a donation online with your credit card.  Every gift from $25 to $100 per person (one time only) will be doubled, with no cap on the number of matches.  Please extend this invitation to all your friends and neighbors to help VAHS support its work in the community.

Be sure to take a good look at the article following my message that tells you about the “new normal” in VAHS and explains our increasing financial responsibilities.  This is why fundraisers, the Giving Challenge, a slight increase in membership dues, and other calls that go out for financial support are needed now, more than ever. 

A last word . . .

I am retiring from active leadership on March 18, 2022.  It has been my privilege to help guide VAHS over several terms as President.  Thank you all for supporting the Venice Area Historical Society in any and all capacities.  Whether you were a board member, a committee chair or member, a docent, any other volunteer, or a member who regularly sent in your dues, thank you to one and all!  I’ve lost many dear friends during my tenure but have gained many new ones.  May we all continue to send out our call:

“Come!  Celebrate history with us”!

Sue Chapman, President

Venice Area Historical Society


    2022 VAHS Events Calendar

    *Betty Intagliata Lecture Series*

    "The John Nolen Plan for Venice"

    Because of a possibility of continuing health concerns when programs were in the planning stage, the VAHS Board of Directors chose a videotaped format for the January and February programs.  The March program is an outside tour.  April, May, and June programs will be held in-person at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice, 1971 Pinebrook Road in Venice.

    The January and February programs will be available for viewing on or after the date listed. To view the programs, go to and click on the EDUCATION tab.  Each video will be on the website indefinitely.

    All six programs will describe aspects of Venice’s rich history as follows:

    • JOHN NOLEN who planned two cities from the bottom up—Venice, Florida, and Mariemont, Ohio
    • The unique features that Nolen incorporated into each city’s design
    • Buildings built in Venice that were funded by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers but have been lost to us over time
    • Historic preservation and why it is important in Venice, Florida

      January 18, 2022

      “A Look at Historic Preservation"

      Presenters:  Lorrie Muldowney and David Baber, former General Managers of the Sarasota County Dept. of Historical Resources.

      The January program will be available for viewing on or after January 28. To view the programs, go to and click on the EDUCATION tab.  Each video will be on the website indefinitely.


      February 15, 2022

      “The Importance of Historic Preservation in Venice, Florida”

      Presenter:  Larry Humes, Kentucky Military Institute Graduate and Venice Retiree.  Larry currently writes feature stories for the Venice Gondolier Sun.

      The February program will be available for viewing on or after February 15. To view the programs, go to and click on the EDUCATION tab.  Each video will be on the website indefinitely.


      March 15, 2022, 9:30 am or 11:30 am.

      “Tour of John Nolen’s Pocket Parks in Venice, Florida”

      Tour Guide:  Bruce Stephenson, Director, Department of Environmental Studies and Sustainable Urbanism, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.  Dr. Stephenson is the author of John Nolen: Landscape Architect and City Planner.

      Reservations for these outdoor tours are available online now.  Click here to register.

      Meet at the Gazebo in West Blalock Park, 401 Pensacola Rd, Venice, FL  34285.

      Limit: 35 for each tour.


      April 19, 2022, 7 p.m.

      “John Nolen’s Plan for Mariemont, Ohio, and Venice, Florida”

      Presenters:  Joseph Schneider and Larry Goetz, residents of both cities (six months each). 

      Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice, 1971 Pinebrook Road, Venice.


      May 17, 2022, 7 p.m.

      “Gone But Not Forgotten:  BLE-Built Buildings in Venice, Florida, Lost to the Wrecking Ball.”

      Presenter:  Gary Youngberg who was born and grew up in Venice, Florida.  Gary’s grandfather was a mayor of Venice.

      Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice, 1971 Pinebrook Road, Venice.


      June 21, 2022, 7 p.m.

      “The John Nolen Historic District of Venice, Florida”

      Presenter:  Dorothy Korwek, Former Director of Historical Resources for the City of Venice (1996-2007)

      Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice, 1971 Pinebrook Road, Venice.


      For information:

      Call:   (941) 412-0151



      Check the website for updates.


      *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.


      Volunteer Rally

      Venice Chamber of Commerce Parking Lot

      January 21, 2022

      10 am - 2 pm

      Visit the VAHS Booth for Information on Volunteering Opportunities

      Click here for more information.


      Annual Members Meeting and Luncheon

      March 18, 2022

      11 am - 1: 30 pm

      Pelican Pointe Country Club

      More details to come.  Check the website for updates and watch for an email.


      Giving Challenge 2022

      April 26-27, 2022, Noon to Noon

      The Community Foundation of Sarasota County

      More details to come.  Check the website for updates.

      The New Normal for VAHS

      As VAHS moves toward reopening the Depot and caboose, and opening the circus car for the first time to visitors, the Board of Directors wishes to inform members about a change in operations that has significant financial implications.

      While the Society offers many opportunities to the Venice area community (the free Betty Intagliata Lecture Series, a Speakers Bureau, a historic plaque program, scholarships, a quarterly newsletter), the centerpiece of its offerings is the Historic Venice Train Depot.  Since 2003 when the Depot was restored, VAHS has managed several aspects of the Depot campus and marketed them to the public.  It has given thousands of visitors, including youth groups, opportunities to learn about Venice’s railroad and city history through informative exhibits and a cadre of trained uniformed docents.

      Lease Agreements with Sarasota County.  

      Since 2005, this has been accomplished by entering into five-year lease agreements with Sarasota County, the owner of the campus.  The initial agreements were for the caboose, and since 2015, VAHS has leased both the caboose and the two waiting rooms in the Depot.  Now, VAHS also leases the circus car that the Society donated to the County on January 28, 2021.  The donation was the culmination of its nine-year, $350,000 project to bring a restored Ringling car to the Depot in order to celebrate Venice’s circus history and circus legacy. 

      Prior to the arrival of the circus car, it was necessary for VAHS and the County to renegotiate the terms of their lease so that leasing the circus car could be incorporated into the arrangement.  During that process, the Board of Directors learned that the terms of the lease would be modified to include not only nominal rental of the waiting rooms and train cars, but also ongoing maintenance of both train cars

      A Daunting Challenge

      This was a major alteration in VAHS’s relationship with the County, and the Society was informed that it is in line with expectations that the County has for other nonprofits that serve in County parks.  It creates a fundamentally new framework for financial management within VAHS because maintenance of the train cars is estimated to cost at least $120,000 over the next 10 years.  The Board of Directors is preparing for this new obligation by creating a Depot Maintenance Fund, and it has begun to allocate monies to it, as circumstances allow and donations are received.

      To illustrate, in the last year alone, over and above completing the circus car project, VAHS has incurred costs of more than $13,000 for detailing the sides and trucks of the caboose; removing rust and painting the caboose roof and ends; repairing the caboose HVAC system; and installing security, video surveillance, and fire alarm systems in the circus car.  All these expenses took place during the pandemic when income from reliable sources such as visitor donations, fundraisers, and even member dues was down.  (Note:  No funds from the circus car project were used for these expenses.)

      What Can You Do?  

      What does VAHS need in order to operate within this “new normal” environment, and how can you help?  We need to create sources of income that will allow the Society to meet its new financial obligations.  We need support for our fundraisers and donations whenever possible.  Most importantly, we need new leaders, new members, new ideas, and new vitality! 

      Members and friends, please become involved to ensure the future of the Society we all love: Pay your dues on time, consider an extra donation, bring in a new member, volunteer for a committee, serve on the Board.  Help VAHS renew and refresh following the pandemic, creating a new normal within VAHS!

      Venice Train Depot Closed Temporarily by County

      On August 31, 2021, Sarasota County closed the Depot for repair and construction of the HVAC system which had been damaged by rodents.  The area above the ceilings over Waiting Room 2, the old ticket office used by SCAT, and the baggage room was particularly damaged. 

      VAHS, which leases both waiting rooms from the County, was directed to take down and remove all exhibits from Waiting Room 2, with the option to store them in Waiting Room 1.  At that time, the Society had not resumed the Depot tours that had been suspended since March 2020 due to the pandemic.

      Currently, the repair/construction project has not yet been completed.  During the week of December 11, the entire Depot was tented for pest extermination.  Additional work finalizing the project and also resurfacing the bathroom sinks used by bus drivers must take place.

      Once VAHS is allowed to enter the Depot again, exhibits will need to be cleaned and reinstalled.  This will delay the reopening of the Depot to the public, but reopening will take place!  Depot Docents are eager to greet visitors once again and share aspects of Venice’s special history.

        Circus Train Car Update

        VAHS has finished all tasks associated with the Circus Train Car Project.  It now awaits the completion of interior work by Tim Wisgerhof, volunteer exhibit designer.  Pictures of the ongoing installation of exhibits give a preview of the exciting interior to come!

        Photos by George Miller

        Centennial 2021 Update

        Photo courtesy of Kathryn Chesley

        L-R:  Frank Cassell as A.B. Edwards; Kathryn Chesley as Rose Wilson; Betty Intagliata as Bertha Palmer

        On November 27, 2021, members of the Centennial 2021 Committee participated in the Venice Holiday Parade.  A.B. Edwards, Rose Wilson, and Bertha Palmer were all heavily involved in the split from Manatee County.


        "Celebrating a Centennial:  The Origins of Sarasota County"

        Now through January 12, 2022

        Free Exhibit

        Click here for more information

        Venice Museum

        351 Nassau Street

        Venice, FL  34285


        For additional information on Centennial events including auto tours, go to:

        by Betty Intagliata

        Centennial 2021 Committee Member


        Use AmazonSmile

        and Donate Now Button

        AmazonSmile is operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as 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.

        Also, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has provided a way for you to donate to VAHS online.  This can be a one-time or recurring donation.  Click on the green "Donate Now" button to see how it works.


        VAHS Appreciates Our Donors

        Balancing the appeal for timely member payment of dues is the Society’s appreciation of many generous donations.  Thank you to all!  These recent gifts have come from both members and others who recognize what VAHS, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, has done for the local community, even in difficult times.  A recent unexpected, but very much appreciated, donation of $250 was received from the Pelican Pointe Club.  VAHS has held its Annual Luncheon and Members Meeting at the Club for a number of years, and we look forward to returning once again in March.


        Ellen and Todd Carrell

        Terri Muncie

        Frank Wright


        If you would like to have a personal chat to find out more about our goals, needs, and plans, or if you are unsure of your renewal date, please contact Carol Bailey, Membership Chair, at  You can also leave a brief message on the VAHS phone at 941-412-0151.

        Jerry Madden, A Leader and Good Friend of VAHS

        On a recent afternoon, Mary Huba (L) and George Miller (R) were pleased to encounter Jerry Madden (C) who was visiting the Depot campus to see the circus car for the first time.  Jerry was an early leader in VAHS, serving in many and varied roles.  At one time, Jerry was the Vice-President of the Board of Directors, and over the years, he chaired or was a member of numerous committees such as Audit, Budget, Nominating, Governance, and Communications.  For a period of time, Jerry oversaw the Depot Docents; he organized VAHS’s presence at the Shark’s Tooth Festival; and he supported the monthly lecture series by providing parking assistance.  Jerry, you are a man of many talents, and we thank you for making a difference within VAHS!

        Photo by Joyce Flannery

        Happy 100th Birthday,

        Julia Cousins Laning

        VAHS joins many other Venice organizations in recognizing a quiet and humble woman’s many financial contributions to preserving the unique historical aspects of Venice.  VAHS is proud to claim Julia Cousins Laning as a long-time member and to recognize her significant help in making the newly-restored circus rail car and museum at the Depot campus a place where so many can learn and enjoy.

        Photo by Rhonda Rogers

        A Special Appeal from Membership

        During the past two years of the pandemic, closures have made it difficult for VAHS to stay in touch with members.  Nevertheless, during this time, VAHS embraced the challenge of continuing to fulfill its mission and goals.  For example, the monthly lectures in the Betty Intagliata Lecture Series were videotaped and made available on our website, and our quarterly newsletters were sent out with news for our members about activities taking place behind the scenes. 

        However, membership DUES are the primary means of financing the support of the Society’s goals, and during the pandemic, payment of dues has declined.  While our automated electronic system makes bookkeeping much more efficient for us, the renewal emails and reminders it generates may be overlooked in our members’ inboxes. 

        A recent comprehensive review of our membership roster has led to the decision to contact our members whose dues are more than 90-days overdue.  Email reminders will be sent out early in January with the hope that many of our lapsed members will return soon to paid-up status.  Exciting days are ahead as we reopen the Depot, return to in-person lectures, and open the circus car to visitors, and we look forward to your support!

        As always, if you have questions, please contact me at or leave a message on the VAHS phone at 941-412-0151.  I will also be available at the Membership table at the January 12 fundraiser at the Plantation Golf and Country Club.  (Details for acquiring your ticket for this event are included in this newsletter.)        

        Carol Bailey, Membership Chair

        In Memory of Carl Bauer

        We mourn the passing of one of our long-time members, Carl Bauer.  Carl and his wife Alicia always presented a cheerful welcome at Village on the Isle as they greeted us, in costume, at the lecture series and at other VAHS events.

        Support VAHS Business Members

        Click here for a printable version of this application.

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