• A Message from the President
  • 2023 VAHS Events Calendar
  • Circus Car Update
  • Loss of Historically Significant Home in Venice
  • VAHS Marches in Holiday Parade
  • Betty Intagliata Lecture Series
  • In Memory of Loyal Members
  • Quilt Raffle
  • Welcome to Our Newest Members
  • Thank you, Leah Sherman
  • Support VAHS Business Members
  • Membership Application

A Message from the President 

January 2023

WOW! If you missed the VAHS Holiday Party on December 8th, you missed a great time! We “sold out the room” at the Venice Yacht Club, we had a delicious meal, and the view from the top deck was spectacular! Our speaker Chucko the Clown gave a heart-warming reminiscence of the Ringling Bros. Circus here in Venice. The best part? It seemed that a heavy veil had lifted! I know, Covid is still a threat, but it felt like we were able to be “normal” again, to greet old friends, meet new friends, and forget for a moment hurricanes and infections.

In the coming months (as described in detail below) we will have more excitement. In addition to the ongoing Betty Intagliata Lecture Series, we are planning for the dedication of the Circus Car on February 23, 2023. As many of you know, in 1967, circus promoter Irvin Feld and colleagues purchased the circus from the Ringling family and transformed it during the Venice years. Kenneth Feld, the son of Irvin Feld and CEO of Feld Entertainment in Palmetto, has confirmed that he and his daughter Juliette Feld Grossman will attend the dedication, helping us celebrate what the Ringling Bros. Circus has meant to Venice over the years. We also expect to have dignitaries from Sarasota County and the City of Venice. Chucko the Clown and colleagues will provide entertainment. More details will follow by email. 

We are looking forward to being back at the Yacht Club on March 31 for the Annual Luncheon and Members Meeting. Venice Museums Day on May 6 will be another occasion to celebrate, along with the Venice Museum and Archives, the heritage of Venice. 

All of these events are made possible by the work of VOLUNTEERS! As an all-volunteer organization, we rely upon our members for their participation in our events to make these things happen. Please consider how you might be able to help in this joint effort. Please see Carol Bailey’s note below for how to sign up.


Frank Wright, President

“Come!  Celebrate history with us!”

Venice Area Historical Society

2023 VAHS Events Calendar

Tour dates for the Depot and Circus Car have been added for January and February.  Check the website for days and times.


January 5, 2023, 11 am

Speakers Bureau Presentation

"A Reflective View of Venice" by Sue Chapman

Jacaranda Library 

4143 Woodmere Park Blvd.

Venice, FL  34293


January 20, 2023, 10 am to 2 pm

Nonprofit Rally

Visit the VAHS Booth

Venice Chamber of Commerce

597 S. Tamiami Trail

Venice, FL  34285


January 26, 2023, 11 am

Speakers Bureau Presentation

"Bertha Palmer" by Sue Chapman

Jacaranda Library 

4143 Woodmere Park Blvd.

Venice, FL  34293


February 23, 2023, 2 pm

Circus Train Car Dedication

303 E. Venice Ave.

Venice, FL  34285


March 14, 15, and 16, 2023

Discover Sarasota Tours is offering a History Hop Trolley in conjunction with Venice Area, Englewood, and Sarasota Historical Societies

For Details and to Register click here.


March 25, 2023, 10 am to 5 pm

History Day in the Park

Visit the VAHS Booth

Phillipi Estate Park

5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231


March 31, 2023

Annual Meeting--Venice Yacht Club

Details TBA-Save the Date


May 6, 2023

Venice Museums Day and Circus Car Celebration


For information:

Call: (941) 412-0151



Check the website for updates.

Circus Car Update

Completion of the clown rooms in the circus car is underway, as shown in the picture below.  Using Tim Wisgerhof’s design, George Miller is currently constructing The Peggy Williams Room, included in the car as an illustration of a typical clown residence.  As a beginning clown, Peggy lived in a small roomette like the one shown.  By the time her career as a clown reached its peak, she was living in a residence that was much bigger—about one quarter of a train car with a private vestibule.

Photo by George Miller

In other news, Venice resident Sigrid Gebel, former Ringling Bros. equestrienne and wife of Gunther Gebel-Williams, recently brought family members and friends to visit the car.  Gunther’s status in the circus was so prominent that he and his family lived in an entire train car. 

The picture below shows Sigrid (center-left) and her daughter Tina DelMoral (center-right), also a circus performer, standing in front of a replica of their living room on the circus train.  On either side of Sigrid and Tina are Janet Chipperfield of the famous Chipperfield Circus in England and her son Richard, long-time friends of the Gebels who were visiting from England.  Years ago, Richard performed at the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg to start the tour of the Ringling Bros. blue show, and he was mauled by a tiger, almost losing his life.  At the far left, is Tina’s husband Eddie DelMoral, a Clown College graduate and fifth-generation performer with Ringling Bros.

Photo by George Miller

Loss of Historically Significant Home in Venice 

VAHS's Historic Preservation Committee was disappointed to see the loss of the architecturally and historically significant Walter Farley home in Venice, which was torn down in the fall. The house, on Gulf Drive, was designed in the 1950s by Ralph Twitchell in the Sarasota School of Architecture style for Walter Farley, the author of The Black Stallion, and his wife Rosemary. 

The owners of the property, who purchased it from the Farley estate, received permits to renovate the midcentury modern home, but ultimately decided to build a new home on the waterfront property instead. The home had been listed on the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation's 2021 "Six to Save" list, which annually highlights six historic buildings in Sarasota County that are most at risk. 

Two other Venice buildings that have made the Six to Save list in recent years are both the subject of city action: the midcentury modern Lindh building on Miami Avenue W., which has been empty for years, suffered serious damage during Hurricane Ian and may be demolished.  This building was designed and built in 1959 by the team of Cyril Tucker (architect) and William Lindh (structural engineer) for their office.  A few years later, this same team designed and built the noted Venice Beach Pavilion, employing a modern roofing style known as a "hyperbolic paraboloid".  In addition to the Lindh Building, renovation plans for the Nickel building downtown, one of the first commercial structures on Venice Avenue built in 1926, are under review by the city's new Historic and Architectural Preservation Board. The owners, who received permission from the city to demolish the building, plan instead to substantially alter it and add a rooftop bar to the building at 219 W. Venice Avenue.    

The Historic Preservation Committee notes that there are incentives to owners of historic properties at both the federal and state level to maintain and protect historic assets.

Exterior View of Farley Home Before Demolition

Photo provided

Interior View of Farley Home Before Demolition

Photo provided

Interior View of Farley Home Before Demolition

Photo provided

Lindh Building before Hurricane Ian

Photo by Dave Baber

Lindh Building after Hurricane Ian

Photo by Jan Vertefeuille

Nickel Building -- Slightly expanded view of the original building from an aerial photo taken in the late 1920s (courtesy of the Venice Museum and Archives, photo #0989) -- Building is in the center of that group, just east of the former Ennes Arcade and Hotel Valencia (El Patio Hotel) on W. Venice Ave.

Nickel Building Contemporary Photo (frontal view) from Historic Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County "Six to Save" 2021.

A group of concerned residents is seeking support to Save the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center.  You can help by visiting their website and adding your signature to the petition.  Click here to visit the website and consider signing the petition.

VAHS Marches in Holiday Parade

Sue Chapman, former VAHS President

Photo by: Brenda Holland

L-R:  Mary Huba, Jan Vertefeuille

Photo by: Brenda Holland

L-R:  Tom Doherty, Frank Wright, Dave Taylor, Mary Huba, George Miller, Clarke Pressly, Brenda Holland, Jan Vertefeuille

Photo by:  Jennifer Holland

Betty Intagliata Lecture Series

A presentation regarding Louella Albee was held at UUCOV on October 18th.

L-R:  Presenter Tom Bowers; Betty Intagliata; Frank Wright. 

Photo by: George Miller

History re-enactor Kathryn Chesley presented Rose Wilson on November 15th at UUCOV.

L-R: Kathryn Chesley as Rose Wilson; Frank Wright; Betty Intagliata

Photo by:  Steven Standford

In Memory of Loyal VAHS Members

Vonda S. Klopfenstein and fellow VOTI (Village On The Isle) resident Garland W. Reedy were loyal friends who extended their loyalty to VAHS.  They attended most of the meetings for years—easier to do when VAHS held the monthly Betty Intagliata Lecture Series programs at VOTI, but they were often the first ones off the VOTI bus when the programs were moved to the new location.  Spirited and knowledgeable about history and current events, they often engaged and encouraged other friends to attend the programs.  They died within a few months of each other this past fall, but they left a legacy of strong advocacy of appreciating history.

Beverly (Bev) Johnston was a supportive Individual member for many years, and she carried that advocacy, especially for the restoration of the Circus Car, as a member of the Bertha Honoré Palmer Chapter of the Questers.  She was delighted to know that the car had been moved to its permanent location at the Historic Train Depot.

Quilt Raffle

The winner of the beautiful quilt raffle was drawn at the Holiday Luncheon at Venice Yacht Club on December 8th.  Congratulations to Beth Cassell.  Thank you to Joan High for handling the raffle.  Proceeds benefit VAHS.


Kristen Bailey

James Gray

Mary Grovemiller and Larry Davis

Jim Ham

Irvin and Peg Lewin

Barbara Martinage

Tom McArdle and Glenn Burke

Bernadette and John McEnerney

Tim and Bonnie Pierie

Gary and Nancy Prior

Mary Lynn Slattery and Nancy Rowland

Curt Albee Vannah and Kara Scott


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.

Thank you, Leah Sherman

VAHS joins Leah’s many devoted fans in wishing her a well-deserved retirement.  Leah supported VAHS as well as many other Venice projects using her business, COLLECTORS GALLERY & FRAMERY, to serve as a central location on Nokomis Avenue S. to help promote community projects.  Members will fondly remember getting their tickets there whenever there was a fundraising event.  Her welcoming smile and willingness to chat about all events and art appreciation in general have left many fond memories.    

Leah Sherman photo by Must See Sarasota - The places you don't want to miss.

VAHS welcomes the new owners of COLLECTORS GALLERY & FRAMERY located at 114-118 Nokomis Ave. S., Venice.  Aimee Odette and Michael Rank are already well known for providing a welcoming community atmosphere with the ISLAND BOOKSHOP also located in the Historic Shopping District at 206 Miami Ave. W.

Support VAHS Business Members

Click here for a printable version of this application.

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