|Location||Gulf of Mexico|
The island features numerous sandy beaches facing the Gulf of Mexico, as well as a park called "South Lido Park", which has a beach and a woodland trail. The island is well developed with a wide variety of luxury hotels and beach houses, and has a seasonal nightclub scene. While not as popular as Siesta Key Beach, Lido Key Beach is reviewed as a more private beach that is more relaxing for the tourists who come from around the world to visit it. Weddings and other private parties will often book a section of the beach for their guests.
In February 1926, a causeway built by John Ringling connecting Lido Key & St. Armands Key would be built. The Lido Beach Hotel that was 2 floors would be delivered by a barge in sections of the building in 1932. A casino would be proposed in 1936 as a way to improve the city's tourism by Roger Flory a member of the Sarasota chamber of congress. Flory proposed that the municipal government should provide a bathing beach being later expanded to include a bathing facility of sorts. The chamber of congress would meet with the Sarasota city council where a committee was formed. The site selected would be on the property of John Ringling's estate managed by John Ringling North on Lido Key. The Lido Beach Casino would be built in 1940 as a Works Progress Administration project with Ralph Twitchell being its architect. The casino had a ballroom, restaurants, shopping, a pool and cabanas. Rudy Bundy would often play at the casino's ballroom. During World War II, the casino would be a popular place for nearby soldiers to spend time. Roughly during this time, a bus ran from Five Points in Downtown Sarasota every 30 minutes between 7:30 AM and 10:30 PM. In 1964 a bond referendum of $250,000 would be passed in order to renovate it. It would end up being torn down despite not intending to be in 1969 and the rationale behind its demolition is not clear. Possible reasons are that the Casino's restaurant was in competition with nearby hotels and/or a decline in revenue from cabana rentals.
1955 Beach segregation protests
Like many other beaches during the Jim Crow era in the southeastern United States, Lido beach was an all-white beach. On October 2, 1955 about 100 African American residents of the Newtown neighborhood in Sarasota would go to Lido Beach to do a wade-in. The wade-in protest was organized by the Sarasota NAACP president, Neil Humphrey Sr. and at the time less than two miles of beaches were allowed for use by black people in Florida. After the protests occurring, prominent members of the Sarasota community and local newspapers would call for exploring a possible locations for a beach for local black residents. A bond issue would be passed to expand beach facilities and also create an African American beach. However the beach would never be established. The two primary reasons for this was that both the city government and the county could not agree on which party would responsible for it along with not being able to find a suitable location. Four locations that were under consideration were: Big Pass on Siesta Key, somewhere on Longboat Key and an area of beach north of Midnight Pass.
Longboat Key and Siesta Key would protest against having a beach at their proposed locations. Longboat Key residents would hold meetings to protest the proposed beach on the island and residents would be motivated by this to incorporate the island as a whole to avoid the placement of the beach there. Siesta Key residents would also hold their own meetings, ran a full page newspaper advertisement at an unknown point and go to either county or city commission meetings and voice their opposition towards the creation of an African-American beach there. Both Siesta Key locations were considered to not be suitable for the beach because of the need for dredging either or the swift currents that were there. Another option was creating an artificial beach in Sarasota Bay.
The NAACP and Newtown community members would continue their protests on a weekly basis. The City of Sarasota started to take more active measures against integration passing city ordinances that gave law enforcement the authority to shut down beaches when African-American bathers would come and to reopen them when they also left. In 1961 the US federal government would threaten the City of Sarasota with taking away its funds towards fighting beach erosion if it did not desegregate its beaches. It is unknown at which exact date the beaches would become desegregated as there are no known formal declarations of it nor mentioning of it in local newspapers.
An ecotourist on a kayak tunnels through red mangrove trees and roots
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lido Key.|
- "South Lido Beach (Ted Sperling Park at South Lido Beach)". Sarasota County. Sarasota County Government. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
- "Lido Key Sarasota Beaches". www.lidokey.net. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
- "The History of Longboat Key". Longboat Key History. Retrieved 2021-05-10.
- LaHurd, Jeff (October 8, 2019). "LaHurd: In Sarasota, a historic look at Lido Beach's casino". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved 2021-05-10.
- Shank, Ann A. "The Lido Casino". Sarasota History Alive!. Retrieved 2021-05-10.
- "Sarasota – US Civil Rights Trail". Retrieved 2021-06-11.
- Westcott, Adam. "The Integration of Sarasota Beaches | Sarasota History Alive!". Sarasota History Alive!. Retrieved 2021-05-19.