Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Venice in Sarasota County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Kentucky Military Institute

“The Military School with a Winter Home in Sunny Florida”

 
 
Kentucky Military Institute Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, August 20, 2015
1. Kentucky Military Institute Marker
View of the text on the front side of the marker.
Inscription.
Text on the Front Side of the Marker:

During Florida's Boom Period, 1922-1928, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) purchased 30,000 acres in Venice, believing it was a sound investment where "rail, trail, and water meet." They hired renowned city planner John Nolen to design Venice. Construction soared, but land sales soon slowed and eventually halted. The BLE pulled out in 1928, and as a result of the economic bust and the Great Depression, Venice became a veritable ghost town.

West Point graduate Robert T. P. Allen established the Kentucky Military Institute (KMI) near Frankfort, Kentucky, in 1845. In 1906, KMI established a Florida winter campus in Eau Gallie, near Melbourne, to improve the cadets' health and academic performance by reducing sick leave through Florida's available year-round recreation. In 1932, Colonel Charles B. Richmond selected Venice as its new winter campus as the previous one had burned. KMI initially rented and later bought the San Marco Hotel (today's Venice Centre Mall), the Hotel Venice (now a retirement center), and the Annex between the two to provide housing for the faculty and cadets, as well as classrooms, kitchen, dining hall, offices, and infirmary.

(Continued on other side)


Text on the Back Side of the Marker:

(Continued
Kentucky Military Institute Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, August 20, 2015
2. Kentucky Military Institute Marker
View of the text on the back side of the marker.
from other side)


On January 5, 1933, 1500 people welcomed the first KMI contingent of students, faculty, and staff. Venice soon benefitted from the infusion of funds spent by the newcomers and their visiting families and friends; one report stated, "The school breathed new life into the discouraged city." The colorful and inspiring Sunday dress parades, held on the parade grounds (today's Centennial Park and municipal parking lot), quickly became a favorite attraction for residents and tourists; for the cadets it was "testing time" as they were inspected and graded. The cadet band and the Kentucky Rifles, a precision drill platoon, also participated. The Sweetheart Parade, held close to Valentine's Day, honored five local young ladies, each sponsored by one of the five cadet corps. Athletic competitions, such as track meets, were held on the parade grounds, too. In 1970 the Venice campus closed, and KMI sold its Kentucky properties in 1973. Decreased enrollment, higher operating costs, and anti-war sentiments during the Vietnam War contributed to the school's closure. Venice, however, has never forgotten the cadets and their important role in the city's history.
 
Erected by Sarasota County Historical Commission.
 
Location. 27° 6.043′ N, 82° 26.78′ 
Kentucky Military Institute Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, August 20, 2015
3. Kentucky Military Institute Marker
Close-up view, that is displayed on the marker, of a photograph showing the KMI cadets holding a parade march where the municipal parking lot is located today, and across the street from what was then the Kentucky Military Institute, and what is today the Venice Centre Mall.
W. Marker is in Venice, Florida, in Sarasota County. Marker is on Tampa Avenue West west of Nokomis Avenue North, on the left when traveling west. Click for map. This marker is located in the downtown business district, across the street (to the south) from the Venice Mall, and on the northern edge of the public parking lot in the center of the downtown business district. Marker is in this post office area: Venice FL 34285, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. San Marco Hotel (a few steps from this marker); Ennes Arcade and Hotel Valencia 1926 (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Hotel Venice (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Kentucky Military Institute (about 400 feet away); Johnson-Schoolcraft Building 1926 (about 500 feet away); Venice (about 500 feet away); Welcome to Heritage Court / Fred H. Albee, M.D. (approx. 0.3 miles away); Lord - Higel House Restoration Project (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Venice.
 
Categories. EducationSettlements & Settlers
 
Kentucky Military Institute Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, August 20, 2015
4. Kentucky Military Institute Marker
View of the marker from very near the same spot as the photograph that is on the marker, showing the parade march of the cadets, was taken.
Kentucky Military Institute Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, August 20, 2015
5. Kentucky Military Institute Marker
View of the marker situated in front of the present day Venice Centre Mall building, that is the former Kentucky Military Institute building.
Kentucky Military Institute Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, August 20, 2015
6. Kentucky Military Institute Marker
View, looking across Tampa Avenue, of the marker situated in front of the present day Venice Municipal Public Parking Lot, that is the former Kentucky Military Institute parade grounds.
Kentucky Military Institute Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, August 20, 2015
7. Kentucky Military Institute Marker
View of the marker situated on the northern edge of the present day Venice Municipal Public Parking Lot, that is the former Kentucky Military Institute parade grounds.
Kentucky Military Institute Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, August 20, 2015
8. Kentucky Military Institute Marker
View of the Venice Centre Mall building, the building that was the former Kentucky Military Institute building.
Kentucky Military Institute image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, August 20, 2015
9. Kentucky Military Institute
Close up view of the sign on the southeast side of the Venice Centre Mall Building.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page has been viewed 438 times since then and 209 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement