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Vintage Sarasota: John Hamilton Gillespie

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Share on Twitter John Hamilton Gillespie (1920). This photograph of “The Father of Sarasota” was taken only a few years before Gillespie’s death in 1923. Affectionately referred to as “Colonel” in the community, Gillespie served as the first mayor of the Town of Sarasota, holding office for six terms following his election in 1902. He […]

December 18, 2013


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John Hamilton Gillespie (1920). This photograph of “The Father of Sarasota” was taken only a few years before Gillespie’s death in 1923. Affectionately referred to as “Colonel” in the community, Gillespie served as the first mayor of the Town of Sarasota, holding office for six terms following his election in 1902. He is credited with assisting in the construction of a wharf on the waterfront, the organizing a 40-acre experimental farm for use by the town, and introducing golf to the state of Florida. Originally from Scotland, Gillespie volunteered his service to his homeland during WWI and lost his United States citizenship; an act of Congress restored it upon his return. – Chelsey Lucas

Photo courtesy of the Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources.