“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Siesta Key in Sarasota County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

Siesta / Harry L. Higel

Siesta side of marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, November 14, 2017
1. Siesta side of marker

Present Siesta Key appeared on early maps as Clam Island, "Muscle" Island, and Palm Island. Fishery Point lay along the prominent channel of Big Sarasota Pass, called Boca Sarazota in the 1770s, the entrance to Sarasota Bay. The site of a commercial fish camp by the late 1880s the point features natural bayous and coastal berms. "Captain" Louis Roberts, a Key West native, arrived in the 1870s, later married Ocean Hansen, and opened Roberts Hotel, bringing winter visitors to the island.
The island was known as Little Sarasota Key when a subdivision named Siesta was platted in 1907 on its northern tip by the Siesta Land Company, organized by pioneers Harry L. Higel and "Captain" Louis Roberts along with a West Virginia real estate broker, E.M. Arbogast. Development included the Sarasota Yacht and Gun Club and later the Bay Island Hotel.
In 1912, Gulf Bay Land Company revised the plat of Siesta, opened Hanson Bayou to the Pass, built bungalows, sidewalks, and canals and roads named for family members and investors. A U.S. Post Office, named Siesta, opened in 1915 on a bayfront dock. As the key developed, the
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entire island came to be called Siesta.
(See other side)

Harry L. Higel
Harry Higel was a leader in the early development of the Sarasota area. Born in Philadelphia, he came to Horse and Chase (now Venice) with his parents in 1884 and later moved to Sarasota. In the 1890s, he bought the Sarasota town dock and engaged in real estate, merchandising, and shipping. In 1896 he married Gertrude Edmondson, granddaughter of Sarasota pioneers and daughter of Louise Whitaker and Thomas Gordon Edmondson, who in 1881 homesteaded 8- acres on the northern tip of what is now Siesta Key.
Higel supported efforts to incorporate Sarasota as a town. He was elected to the first town council in 1902, was re-elected four times and was mayor in 1913 when Sarasota was incorporated as a city. He served again as mayor in 1916 and 1927. Higel's imposing hotel, Higelhurst, adjoining his bathhouses on the Pass, burned in 1917 just prior to completion of the first automobile bridge to Siesta. In 1921, the year Sarasota County was created, Harry Higel was found brutally beaten on the island, the victim of an unsolved murder.
(See other side)
Erected 1989 by Sarasota County Historical Commission.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1907.
Harry L. Higel side of marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, November 14, 2017
2. Harry L. Higel side of marker
27° 18.123′ N, 82° 33.391′ W. Marker is in Siesta Key, Florida, in Sarasota County. Marker is at the intersection of Higel Avenue and Siesta Drive, on the right when traveling north on Higel Avenue. Marker located in small park on the corner. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sarasota FL 34242, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. South Lido Park (approx. 0.6 miles away); San Remo Estates (approx. 1.1 miles away); Gulf Beach Motel (approx. 1.1 miles away); Lido Beach Casino/Ralph Spencer Twitchell (approx. 1.4 miles away); Beach Segregation (approx. 1.4 miles away); Sarasota's First Post Office (approx. 1˝ miles away); De Sota Park / Logan and Currin, Inc. (approx. 1.6 miles away); The Wallendas (approx. 1.6 miles away).
Also see . . .  Siesta Key. (Submitted on April 8, 2021, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.)
Siesta/Harry L. Higel Marker in park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, November 14, 2017
3. Siesta/Harry L. Higel Marker in park
Credits. This page was last revised on April 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 8, 2021, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 247 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 8, 2021, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.

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Feb. 22, 2024