Edwards Theatre - Sarasota, FL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
N 27° 20.234 W 082° 32.617
17R E 347298 N 3024732
Quick Description: The Edwards Theatre, now known as the Sarasota Opera House, was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Elvis Presley performed there in 1956.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 11/11/2013 4:22:06 PM
Waymark Code: WMJFEX
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 3

Long Description:
An historical marker on the building provides the following information:

"The Edwards Theatre was the dream of Sarasota County's native son and the City's first Mayor, Arthur B. Edwards, who dedicated himself to the proposition that a modern city be built on the shores of Sarasota Bay. He was born October 2, 1874, and died November 14, 1969. He served the community as County Road Supervisor and first Tax Assessor. In the business world he was active in Insurance, Real Estate, Promotion of Winter Tourism, Banking and Abstract of Title Records.

The theatre, of Mediterranean Revival Style Architecture, was designed by Roy A. Benjamin to accommodate the many varieties of entertainment available at the time: silent movies, vaudeville and opera. The best offered by film and stage was featured here, through the last of the "Roaring Twenties" and early thirties, from Grand Opera to "The Ziegfield Follies", and minstrel shows. Among others, the well known star, Will Rogers, appeared upon the stage. Later, in the mid-fifties, a rising young singer, Elvis Presley, appeared.

In December, 1936, the name was changed to "The Florida Theatre", which name was kept until the closing in the early seventies.

The "Edwards" is now the home of the Sarasota Opera Association, Inc."

The following additional information is from the Sarasota History Alive website:

"Former Sarasota Mayor A. B. Edwards built this theater in 1926. The ground level storefronts housed a variety of businesses, while the theater hosted vaudeville, opera and silent movies. Apartments were rented out on the third floor. Will Rogers and Ziegfeld Follies performed here. The local press described the building as a "Temple of Silent Art and Make Believe." In the 1930s the Edwards Theater became the Florida Theater, used primarily for movies - although Elvis Presley performed here in 1956. A major rehabilitation in the 1980s created a home for the Sarasota Opera Association in the National Register-listed building."

Street address:
57 North Pineapple Avenue
Sarasota, FL USA

County / Borough / Parish: Sarasota County

Year listed: 1984

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Person, Event, Architecture/Engineering

Periods of significance: 1925-1949

Historic function: Commerce/Trade, Domestic, Recreation And Culture

Current function: Recreation And Culture

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 2: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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