Sarasota County, Florida

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Sarasota County, Florida
Sarasota FL County crths08.jpg
The Sarasota County courthouse in June 2011.
Logo of Sarasota County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Sarasota County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
Founded 14 May 1921
Seat Sarasota
Largest city North Port
 • Total 725.18 sq mi (1,878 km2)
 • Land 571.55 sq mi (1,480 km2)
 • Water 153.63 sq mi (398 km2), 21.19%
 • (2010) 379,448
 • Density 664/sq mi (256.38/km²)
Congressional district 16th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Sarasota County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. Its 2010 population was 379,448.1 Its county seat is Sarasota and its largest city is North Port.2 Sarasota County is a part of the Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota Metropolitan Statistical Area and along with Manatee County and other counties to the north, often is considered part of the Tampa Bay Area.


Downtown Sarasota, the county seat, from the John Ringling Causeway Bridge
Venice Avenue in Venice
Black-necked Stilt in Myakka River State Park
Sunset at Siesta Beach

Sarasota County was created in 1921. After acquisition by the United States as a territory and once Florida obtained state status, the area now included in the county had been governed by Hillsborough County, then Manatee County as the state was divided into smaller and smaller governmental organizations. Manatee County was carved up to allow the creation of three more counties as well.

Although the name was associated with the area from the beginning of European contacts the origin of the name, Sarasota, is unknown. Some believe a fanciful story created for a popular early twentieth-century pageant held in Sarasota, that it was named after the daughter of famous explorer Hernando de Soto's daughter Sara.

According to the Florida League of Cities FLC, the name first appeared in print as "Zarazote" on a 1763 land grant map.


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 725.18 square miles (1,878.2 km2), of which 571.55 square miles (1,480.3 km2) (or 78.81%) is land and 153.63 square miles (397.9 km2) (or 21.19%) is water.3

Adjacent counties



  1. City of Sarasota
  2. City of North Port
  3. City of Venice
  4. Town of Longboat Key


Parks and preserves

In addition to local parks there are several preserve areas including:


Primary and secondary education

Higher education

Museums and Libraries

Sarasota County Public Library Branches:

Elsie Quirk Public Library, 100 West Dearborn St., Englewood, FL 34223 (941)861-1200

Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Public Library, 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice, FL 34293 (941)861-1260

Fruitville Public Library, 100 Coburn Road, Sarasota, FL 34240 (941)861-2500

Gulf Gate Public Library, 8201 S. Tamiami Trail Sarasota Square Mall, Sarasota, FL 34238 (941)861-1230

North Port Public Library, 13800 S. Tamiami Trail, North Port, FL 34287 (941)861-1300

North Sarasota Public Library, 2801 Newton Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34234 (941)861-1360

The Osprey Public Library at the Historic Spanish Point, 337 N. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229 (941)918-4037

Selby Public Library, 1331 First Street. Sarasota, FL 34236 (941)861-1100

Venice Public Library, 300 S. Nokomis Avenue, Venice, FL 34285 (941)861-13304

Gulf Gate Library In 1964 a bookmobile from the County Library downtown made periodic visits to the Gulf Gate neighborhood, parking at Gulf Gate Mall. Several years later residents requested more permanent library facilities. In 1973 the bookmobile was replaced with a small branch library in a rented store front on Gateway Avenue. The first Gulf Gate Library Branch opened with 4,569 volumes on its shelves. Another move to a larger storefront at 6621 Gulf Gate Drive was necessary due to lack of space for new purchases. In 1980 the branch was providing services for approximately 7,000 library cardholders and offering a variety of programs.5 The Friends of the Gulf Gate Library Association was formed in 1976 with a purpose of supporting the library on Gulf Gate Drive. In 1977 Leslie Shoemaker donated 2 ½ acres of land at the corner of Gulf Gate Drive and Curtiss Avenue in memory of his wife that was to be used as a new location for a permanent library building. The same year the Friends of the Gulf Gate Library changed their name to the Key-Gate Library Association to represent the area the new library would be serving. With only partial funding for construction of a new library from the County Commission, the Key-Gate Library Association began a building fund drive. Under the leadership of Ann Marbut the Key-Gate Library Association began a fund raising campaign. In 1982 the architectural plans by Padgett, Ritter & Harris were approved and groundbreaking was scheduled for August. The Gulf Gate Library opened on December 5, 1983. The new library had 10,000 square feet of space and was designed to hold 50,000 books. In 1991, due to increasing circulation, a second building campaign began to expand the library by 3000 square feet. On July 13, 1993 groundbreaking took place for the additional space. In 1994 the additional space was opened.6 Having outgrown their current space, Gulf Gate Library closed on January 19, 2013 to prepare to move to a temporary location in Sarasota Square Mall. The library reopened on February 19th at the mall location. Construction of a new library will begin later in the year on the same site as the existing building.

Local media



Sarasota County is part of the Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota DMA. Most of the television stations are located in Saint Petersburg or Tampa except:

  • WWSB - A local ABC affiliate based in Sarasota
  • SNN News 6 - Local twenty-four hour news station based in Sarasota
  • Various government and local access channels. Access 19 (Local Government channel), Education Channel (School Board) and BLAB TV (local programming)




Major highways and state roads

Public transportation

  • Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) provides public transportation for Sarasota County, Florida. SCAT is operated by Sarasota County. It maintains 19 fixed-line bus routes plus a dial-a-ride paratransit service (SCAT Plus). 8


Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 12,440
1940 16,106 29.5%
1950 28,827 79.0%
1960 76,895 166.7%
1970 120,413 56.6%
1980 202,251 68.0%
1990 277,776 37.3%
2000 325,957 17.3%
2010 379,448 16.4%
Est. 2012 386,147 1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census9
2012 Estimate10
Some areas of Sarasota County, such as Casey Key near Nokomis, are very wealthy.

As of the census11 of 2000, there were 325,957 people, 149,937 households, and 94,460 families residing in the county. The population density was 570 people per square mile (220/km²). There were 182,467 housing units at an average density of 319 per square mile (123/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 92.65% White, 4.18% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.77% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.14% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. 4.34% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 89.7% spoke English, 4.4% Spanish, 1.3% German, 1.0% French, and 0.5% Cachia as their first language.

Census Estimates for 2005 show the county population as being 87.5% non-Hispanic whites, 6.3% Latinos, 4.5% African-American and 1.1% Asian.12

In 2000 there were 149,957 households out of which 18.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.70% were married couples living together, 7.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.00% were non-families. 30.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.61.

In the county the population was spread out with 16.20% under the age of 18, 5.00% from 18 to 24, 21.70% from 25 to 44, 25.60% from 45 to 64, and 31.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50 years. For every 100 females there were 90.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $41,957, and the median income for a family was $50,111. About 5.10% of families and 7.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.70% of those under age 18 and 4.50% of those age 65 or over.

The per capita income for the county was $28,326. Females had a median income of $25,721 versus $32,114 for males.

  • Population in Sarasota County as of 2006 had reached 369,535 people.13

Notable pioneer honored on sign

Joseph Daniel Anderson was one of the pioneers of the Sarasota area. He established his homestead in the Forked Creek area in 1886 and became an early leader in what now is southern Sarasota County (having been Manatee County from 1855 until 1921).

The following is a transcript from a Sarasota County historical marker that was erected in a park dedicated to Anderson on Manasota Key.

"After the Civil War, many Georgians moved their families to Southern Florida. Joseph Daniel "Jody" Anderson, born in Georgia in 1867, was a child when his father moved to the Tampa/Sara Sota area. In 1884, Joseph became the head of the Anderson family. Two years later, he moved his family to Southern Manatee County. He homesteaded the land in the Mystic River (Forked Creek) Valley. In 1890 he married Helen Alice Johnson of Sarasota. They had eleven children. Eight survived.
With only hand tools, Anderson converted the Florida wilderness into an agricultural industry. This fertile land produced vegetables, sugar cane and citrus. In the vast Myakka/Pinedale area, he raised his cattle and swine. He and brother Moses "Lee" prospered in ranching until the Range Law Act curtailed the right to use this land for grazing.
Sleds (later wagons) were used to move the farm produce, fruit and cattle to Lemon Bay where they were transferred to draft boats and transported to ships at Boca Grande. Some of the wagons were rafted across the bay to Manasota Beach where the produce was ferried to Cuban smacks and later to American schooners.
Anderson pioneered commercial fishing in North Lemon Bay which teemed with schools of mullet and other fish. The Andersons fished with nets made of cotton and flax twine over which they poured a heavy lime solution to prevent rot. Their base of operation included land storage facilities on the shore and on the beach (Manasota) to salt, dry and pack the fish in barrels. Upon the arrival of run boats with ice from Tampa, the Andersons could ship fresh fish and produce.
Joseph Daniel "Jody" Anderson was a quiet family man who never sought publicity. However, before Sarasota County was organized, he served as deputy sheriff and game warden in the Pinedale/Manasota area. The Anderson family built the area's first school (Pinedale) of which Jody was trustee. He also organized the first church in the area. Anderson actively supported the creation of Sarasota County from Manatee County and in 1922, became the first elected county commissioner from District 4. After the death of his first wife, he married Mary Ethel Morgan with whom he raised four more children. Joseph Daniel Anderson died in 1939."

See also


  1. ^ "Sarasota County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  2. ^ "North Port city | Florida | 2010 Census | | | The Ledger | Lakeland, FL". Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  3. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Gulf Gate Library (n.d.), History of the Gulf gate Library. Archives of the Friends of the Gulf Gate Library.
  6. ^ Key-Gate Library Association. (1981, March 24). A report to the Sarasota County Commissioners and a request for funding from Key-Gate Library Association.
  7. ^ - About Us: Fact Sheet - About Us: Fact Sheet -
  8. ^
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  12. ^ Census Bureau Home Page
  13. ^ Census Bureau

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