"A Place We Call Home" Downtown Sarasota, Osprey and Main

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Anybody who hasn't visited Sarasota since the 1950's and returned today, wouldn't even recognize the place.

Sarasota Historian and Author Jeff LaHurd takes us for a walk down memory lane in "A Place We Call Home".

As we walk in Downtown Sarasota near the corner of Osprey and Main Street, Jeff looked back at the "good old days" at this intersection.

"I think no place separates the old Sarasota from the new Sarasota as much as this bank which is new Sarasota, and Smack Drive -In Restaurant, which was old Sarasota.

Jeff says Smack was the most popular spot in Sarasota back then.

"This is the place where all the kids used to hang out, like in the movie "American Graffiti. Families used to come here because the dinners were delicious. Businessmen came here at lunchtime for hamburgers or cool beer. It was an outside type drive- in. "

In those days Highway U.S 41 ran along where Main Street in now, so this was a major highway.

Owner Mac MacDonald built Smack in 1937.

Jeff says, "He paid $15,000 for property. and 4 thousand dollars to build the building. He it in 1957 for $300,000."

And all the yeas he owned it, business was booming.

"In 1951" says Jeff, "They sold more Bordens Ice Cream here than any other place in Florida. They were Bordens number 1 account. Smack had 12 separate dinners for $1.25 in 1955."

And across the street from Smack back then, where Michael Saunders office now stands, was Saprirto Brothers Fruit Shippers. One of the brothers was a city counsel man for several years in the 1950's.

And on the other corner, the same thing is there today that was there in the 1950's.

"Reese's Service Station is probably one of the few real service stations left. Before self pump gas, you'd pull into a Reese's and they'd check under the hood, they would put air in your tire, it was truly a full service station and it still is."

And on the 4 th corner at Osprey and Main there was another service station. LaHurd says there were gas stations on just about every corner back then. What can we learn from all these changes?

LaHurd says, "Nothing stays the same in Sarasota. Nothing at all."