A Place We Call Home: Bird Key

Bird Key is home to the rich and famous. Homes cost from just under a million dollars to a $8 million dollars.

Marsha Panuce, host of ABC 7's show, "Animal Outtakes", has lived on Bird Key for 16 years. She says it's an idyllic place to call home.

"Look at the lush surroundings, look at the beautiful trees, we have beautiful plantings each and every one of us."

She says it has an air of tranquility.

"As you come into Bird Key after you've had a busy day, you take that deep breath and you're home now and it's absolutely wonderful."

"Marsha has some very interesting neighbors on Bird Key. Brian Johnson of AC DC fame, John Jakes, Jerry Springer; but it's not true that Lucy and Desi Arnez lived out here. That's only a rumor they visited once."

Bird Key was a 12 and a half acre, uninhabited, undeveloped island when the first resident Davie Lindsey Worcester first visited it.

"She came out here by launch and just fell in love with the place. She wrote about the sea shells, she wrote about the beautiful birds and the beautiful flagpole and she said words can not paint the scene imagination can not conceive of such grandeur. They bought the island after that and built their dream home."

They named it new Edsell Castle, it was also called the Worcester mansion.

The Bird Key yacht club has pictures.

"As you can see the the mansion right there, there was no bridge and that's correct."

"And it was the show place of Sarasota, but unfortunately she died before it was completed."

Her husband, Thomas lived there until his death. Then in 1925, John Ringling bought the mansion and the land. And his sister, Ida and her two sons lived there until Ida's death in 1950. Then John Ringling came up with a plan.

"His plan was to have it be the winter white house for President Harding. Unfortunately President Harding died before the plan could be carried out."

In 1959, Arvida Realty bought the island in a package deal.

"They bought out all of John Ringling holdings for 13 and a half million dollars."

Arvida built the Bird Key yacht club where the old mansion once stood. You can still see the pilings of that original building today. They divided the rest of the island into 511 lots.

Edwards says despite the changes through the years, Bird Key has retained it's beauty."

"Wish Mr. Ringling could be here today he would be very proud."