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Olde Englewood Village
Olde Englewood Village
Guests who choose to spend part of their vacation in or around the Gulf Coast, particularly the villas of Rotonda, will at some stage come across Olde Englewood Village.
The small town of Englewood is unusual in that it crosses County lines. The majority of the town, Rotonda included, is in Charlotte County whilst the northern fringe is under the jurisdiction of Sarasota County.
Olde Englewood Village is the area in the Sarasota County portion, largely residential homes but with a quaint shopping street called West Dearborn Street. The main part of West Dearborn Street travels from Indiana Avenue (SR776) to Lemon Bay and along this stretch of less than a mile can be found various restaurants, bars, antique emporium and Englewood cultural hub – The Lemon Bay Playhouse.
The first settlers in Englewood arrived in 1878, William and Mary Goff and they purchased for $90 an area of 60 acres around the area now known at Olde Englewood. The town of Englewood was recorded for the first time in 1896 and what is now Dearborn Street became the business heart of the town. The name of Englewood, and Dearborn, come from Illinois – the home state of the Nichols Brothers who were the instigators of the official records of Englewood.
At the far end of Dearborn Street stands Buchan’s Landing, named after Pete Buchan who arrived in Englewood in 1902 when he bought the only supply store in town which included the Post Office. After several years Pete and his family decided to purchase some land and erect their own store with a landing jetty and this they did on the banks of Lemon Bay at the westerly end of Dearborn Street. The jetty is now demolished and all that is left of the Buchan’s premises is a plot of land and an Historic Sign.
Out into Lemon Bay, which at that point is probably 300 yards wide, the Royal Casino was built in 1924. This was a stilted construction with a pier connecting it to Buchan’s Landing. The boom time of the 1920s soon faded and the Casino for a while was used as a fish house before it was demolished.
Soon after the demise of the Royal Casino came the arrival of Englewood’s first convenient store. Hayward Green opened an ice-cream stand that also sold Coca-Cola at the junction of Dearborn Street and Old Englewood Road. When prospective buyers of land arrived in town they were often brought by Hayward’s parents in their 21 seater bus, and of course a stop at the ice-cream stand was mandatory!
To be continued ……………
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