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Sarasota's Five Points: The hub of Sarasota since its beginning

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Ever wish you could go back to the good old days, when life was slower and simpler? Well here’s a look back at the days when the city of Sarasota sprouted from the spot now known as Five Points.

"In 1885 the Florida Mortgage and Banking Company platted Sarasota from the center of Five Points. They drove a stake right in the center. Louis Colson, a black minister, held the stake and they took their readings from this spot," says Jeff Lahurd with Sarasota County Historical Resources.

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Early Main Street

During World War I, Sarasotans erected a flag pole there to honor the local service men.

And in 1917, that spot was the scene of great rejoicing. "When the boys came home from World War I, they had a rousing parade for them on Main Street and they put in the center of the street ‘Welcome Buddies.’"

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Flag Pole and “Welcome Buddies” printed on Main Street Sarasota.

And those same words are on the current wall in the center of the roundabout.

There was recently a lot of argument over whether to convert the intersection into a roundabout, but it was a roundabout in the very beginning. "In the 1890’s there was a circular trough here, and it stayed here until somebody ran into it in their car and destroyed it."

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Sarasota Five Points circa 1905.

In 1928, the American Legion built a war memorial in the center of Five Points. It was moved in 1954 to its present location on Gulfstream Avenue.

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Dedication of American Legion War Memorial, 1928

"I think the real reason it was moved, was Sarasota was going modern post World War II, and I think that kind of a memorial kinda’ lent itself more to the olden days."

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Sarasota War Memorial being moved from Five Points to Gulf Stream Avenue in 1954

Five Points was a hot spot in those days. "It was the center of Sarasota's universe; they had two movie theatres downtown, lower Main and upper Main had a lot of bars on it, there were several hotels."

And on upper Main Street there was Kress, and McCrory's Five and Dime, and where Mattison’s is today was the railroad station.

And Lahurd says everything came through Five Points, from returning troops, to circus parades, to marching bands, to the Sara de Sota Pageant.

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And the tradition continues today as the city celebrates holidays and special occasions with parades down Main Street.

Since 1885, Five Points has been the hub of Sarasota many buildings, memorials, and people have come and gone over the years, but it still remains the heart of Sarasota.

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