Venice, Florida

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Venice is a city in Sarasota County, Florida, United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2007 estimates, the city had a population of 21,015. It is noted for its large snowbird population. Its newspaper is the Venice Gondolier Sun. Tampa Bay's Univision affiliate WVEA-TV is licensed to Venice, though it is based in Tampa, and broadcasts from Riverview.

Venice is a principal city of the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.



In the 1870s, Richard Roberts established a homestead near Roberts Bay. In 1884, he sold a portion of his holdings to Frank Higel. Higel established a citrus operation involving the production of several lines of canned citrus items and for the next 30 years, the Higel family members were boat builders, fishermen, grove caretakers and contractors. Darwin Curry was the first postmaster. The Higel and Curry families chose the name Venice for their community post office, located south of Shakett Creek on what is now known as Portia Street in Nokomis, Florida.

The first railroad to Venice was built in 1911, paving the way for new development and expansion. Development in Venice occurred slowly and remained a small fishing town and farming community through the first part of the 1920s. In 1925, Dr. Fred H. Albee, a well-known orthopedic surgeon, purchased 2,916 acres (11.80 km2) of land from the Venice-Sarasota Company. Albee had previously developed Nokomis and built its first luxury hotel, known as the Pollyanna Inn. Albee retained John Nolen, a world-renowned city planner, to design a city on his land. Fred Albee, however, did not have a chance to implement his city plan before he was approached with a proposal from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers to purchase his land in October, 1925. The purchase was motivated by a desire by BLE to increase the union's assets and holdings in the area.[3]

The BLE Realty Corporation was organized to develop the area and the Venice Company created to market property. The company retained planner John Nolen to complete a city plan in 1926. The BLE Realty Company selected George A. Fuller as the contractor; the New York architectural firm of Walker and Gillette, as supervising architects; and Prentiss French as landscape architect. Finally on June 10, 1926, the first street in Venice opened to traffic. Nassau Street ran from the terminus of Tamiami Trail through Venezia Park, and again into the Trail. By mid-June 1926, the first phase was complete with 6 miles (9.7 km) of graded streets and a mile of 7-foot (2.1 m)-wide sidewalks and gutters. The Hotel Venice (now known as Park Place on Nassau Street) opened on June 21, 1926 and residential construction in the town started in July 1926, with the construction of three large residences in the Gulf View subdivision. That same year, the city of Venice held its first town council meeting and formed the police and fire departments. Florida Governor John W. Martin appointed Edward L. Worthington as the first mayor of Venice. After annexations of surrounding areas, the state legislature changed the designation of Venice from a "town" to "city" on May 9, 1927.[3]

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