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Explore Venice History

Although many buildings in the downtown area look old, only those constructed during the 1920’s have been included in this tour. In 1987 the city recognized the need to continue the architectural character of the original city and established the Architectural Review Board. The downtown area is part of the Historic Venice District administered by this Board. Any new construction or modifications to the exterior façade of a building in this district must conform to guidelines established by this Board. These standards will ensure the continuation of the “Northern Italian Renaissance” style of architecture within the city. Because of these efforts, the City of Venice will continue to be the beautiful "City on the Gulf".

307 W. Venice Avenue

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This was one of several buildings owned by Mr. Estes in Venice. Construction of this building was started in September 1926. By 1927, it was the home of Venice Stationary Company, Meare’s Men’s Shop, and the construction firm of Latimer and Lee.


311 W. Venice Avenue

0122img center cropThis two-story building was owned by Wm. E. Mohler and originally housed the Woolard Furniture Company and the J. T. Hardware Company. As was common during the 1920s, there were rental apartments on the second floor. 


351 South Nassau Street – Triangle Inn

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This building was constructed in 1927 as a rooming house or inn. It was specifically designed to house a business. It was not designed as a single family house. It was built by Mrs. Augusta Miner who moved to Venice from Chicago where she ran a tea room. There is no record of the architect who designed the building, just the contractor who built it. Like many others, Mrs. Miner sought new opportunities in the wildly speculative Florida real estate market of the 1920s. She borrowed money to build the Triangle Inn and paid off the loan, unlike many others who defaulted on loans and left the City.

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409 Granada - The Lord Family House

409 Granada

The Lord-Higel House is the oldest existing structure in South Sarasota County. It was built by Joseph H. Lord in 1896 and was originally located in a 90-acre citrus grove just south of Roberts Bay. Lord apparently lived in the house until 1905.

About this time, Lord hired George Higel, son of Venice pioneer settler Frank Higel, as grove manager. After George’s marriage to Abigail Williams in 1906, the couple moved into the house where five of their six children were born. The family lived in the house until 1919 when the grove property was sold to a new owner from Ohio.

The house has been moved twice. In 1950, the grove was purchased by a developer who wanted to demolish the house and subdivide the property into residential lots. (The subdivision is now known as Bayshore Estates.) To prevent its demolition, the house was moved from the “grove” to Laguna Drive by George Wesley Higel, son of Abigail and George Higel, to an area locally known as Higelville, so called because of the number of Frank Higel descendants living in the area. To facilitate the move, the distinctive wrap-around porch with cypress columns was removed. After the move, the house was converted into two living units, one on the first floor and the other on the second floor. By the 1990s, the structure was converted back to a single family residence.

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519 S. Harbor Drive: Banyan House

519 S Harbor Dr 1 This house was built in 1926 for Bob and Dorothy Marvin. Mr. Marvin was an engineer who managed the home department of The Venice Company, a subsidiary of the Brotherhood of Locomotive (BLE). The house was built of hollow red clay tile with a stucco finish.

This elegant house has terra cotta, patterned ceramic tile, and oak flooring, as well as original plastered walls, pecky cypress ceilings, and exposed beams. The house has three elaborate fireplaces. The most elaborate is located in the first floor living room and was imported from Italy. A second, located in the corner of the first floor den, was constructed in the abode style. The third, located in the original second floor master bedroom, is faced with pink marble and has pink ceramic tile in front of the hearth.

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