Venice in Sarasota County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Venice Railroad and Depot
The first successful railroad into what is now Sarasota County came when the United States and West Indies Railroad and Steamship Company, a subsidiary of the Seaboard Air Line Railway (SAL), brought its first train into Sarasota in 1903. Two years later the tracks were extended to Fruitville.
The railroad came to Venice at the request of Mrs. Potter (Bertha) Palmer. She and family members had visited the Sarasota Bay area in 1910 and soon purchased thousands of acres, some of which lay south of Roberts Bay. The SAL extended the line from Fruitville through Bee Ridge, where the Palmers' Sarasota-Venice Company was developing land, to the Palmers' Venice properties. The early depot was located at the junction of (now) Tampa and Nokomis Avenues.
In 1918 the Manasota Lumber Company constructed a four-story sawmill and surrounding town of Woodmere south of Venice. The Gulf Coast Railway built a 7.9-mile rail line from Woodmere to Venice, so lumber could be transported to a Tampa shipyard.
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) began work on the new city of Venice in 1925. City planner John Nolen had the SAL tracks moved eastward to the industrial section.
In keeping with the architectural style adopted for the city, the New York architectural firm of Walker and Gillette
During the next four decades the depot served many people and institutions who contributed to the development of the city. In January 1933, Kentucky Military Institute students, faculty and staff arrived by train for the first of nearly forty years of winter terms in Venice. When the U.S. Army established a World War II air base in Venice in 1942, the railroad became the primary route of entry for material and personnel. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus depended on the rail line when it moved to Venice in 1960.
With the launching of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) on May 1, 1971, passenger service to southwest Florida ceased. In 1998 Sarasota County Government acquired the depot, the last one in the county.
Erected 2003 by Sarasota County Historical Commission.
Location. 27° 6.038′ N, 82° 26.407′ W. Marker is in Venice, Florida, in Sarasota County. Marker can be reached from East Venice Avenue near North Touch for map. Freshly renovated depot is now a bus station and soon-to-be "Rails to Trails" rest stop. Marker is at or near this postal address: 303 East Venice Avenue, Venice FL 34285, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gunther Gebel-Williams (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fred Albee Municipal Airport (about 700 feet away); Colonel George Kumpe Bridge (approx. 0.2 miles away); Johnson-Schoolcraft Building 1926 (approx. 0.3 miles away); Kentucky Military Institute (approx. 0.4 miles away); San Marco Hotel (approx. 0.4 miles away); Ennes Arcade and Hotel Valencia 1926 (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Hotel Venice (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Venice.
Also see . . . Venice Railroad Depot Pictures. Venice Area Historical Society website, with pictures of the station. (Submitted on January 22, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
Categories. • Railroads & Streetcars • Settlements & Settlers • War, World II •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 21, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 21, 2008, by Julie Szabo of Oldsmar, Florida. This page has been viewed 2,139 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on January 21, 2008, by Julie Szabo of Oldsmar, Florida. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.