Bay View Hotel Fire (1910). In the early 1900’s, Sarasota lacked a proper fire department. For this reason, simple acts like carrying a candle into a stable was seen as a serious offense, and the perpetrator was subject to fines of $50 or doing jail time. Materials and floor plans used in construction made houses and buildings extremely susceptible to fire. Rather than the lush green lawns and blooming gardens seen in front of houses today, a maintained yard then consisted solely of well-raked sand, to remove potential fire fuel. The year after this fire burned down the Bay View Hotel, Sarasota acquired its first fire-fighting equipment with volunteers to run it. In 1912, the Town Council passed an ordinance that put “fire limits” on all new construction. -- Chelsey Lucas
Photo courtesy of the Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources.