The City of
has strong Scottish ties that can be traced back more than 124
years. In the summer of 1885 a British group, the Florida Mortgage
and Investment Co., purchased 50,000 acres which included
most of the land constituting the present City of
town plat was drawn in
and the first plots of land were sold in
The Scots were told that there was an established town with plenty
of fertile land and affordable housing. That winter a large group of
Scots boarded steamer ships and set sail for
Upon their arrival in
many were disappointed. Instead of the established town and fertile
soil that was promised, they found little more than a frontier camp.
Many colonists returned to
In an attempt to revive the
failed venture of the Florida Mortgage and Investment Co, John
Gillespie was sent to improve the situation. John Hamilton Gillespie
was a Scottish aristocrat, lawyer, and member of the Queen’s
He arrived in
Sarasota in 1886
and immediately got to work. 3 miles of
were cleared, Steamship connections were established with
DeSoto Hotel was built on
Main Street for tourists and prospective
investors, and he laid out what was perhaps the first practice golf
incorporated as a town on October 14, 1902.
Mr. Gillespie was elected as the first mayor of
Sarasota in 1902. He was subsequently elected
to five additional one year terms. Gillespie died on the golf course
near his home September 7, 1923.
He is buried in
Scottish influence is still evident today in the community.
Sarasota is home to various Scottish organizations such as;
the New World Celts, The Academy of Scottish Arts, The St. Andrews
Society, the Caledonian Society and the newly formed City of
Sarasota Pipe Band.
The City of
Sarasota Pipe Band
is proud to be able to carry on Sarasota’s fine Scottish history!