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Venice Train Depot

#11 of 31 Tours in Venice
Venice, FL, USA
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About Venice Train Depot
Free Train Depot Tours are available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 am - 3 pm November 1st through April 30th. This is in addition to our year-round tours available on Saturdays from 10 am - 1 pm. Docents are VAHS members. In 1903, a subsidiary of the Seaboard Air Line Railway brought the first train into what is now Sarasota County. In 1911, the tracks were extended 16.5 miles south at the request of Bertha Honore Palmer, a Chicago businesswoman who was a major landholder in the area. Palmer named the new terminal Venice. The original train stop and sidings were located near the current corner of St. Augustine Avenue and Tampa Avenue West. In 1925, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) purchased land to develop the City of Venice according to a plan drafted by city planner John Nolan. The BLE recognized that a new depot would be essential for importing materials and attracting potential land buyers and visitors to Venice. Completed in 1927 at the height of Venice's early development, the new Depot was the last structure built before the BLE closed operations in Venice in 1928. Designed by the architectural firm of Walker & Gillette, the Depot is historically and architecturally significant. Built as a racially segregated building with two waiting rooms, it was 50 feet wide and 400 feet long. The Depot's architecture embodies the Mediterranean Revival style planned for the City of Venice. When opened on March 27, 1927, the Depot heralded as the finest station on the Seaboard Air Line Railway. The last passenger train departed from the Depot in 1971, but freight traffic continued until 1997. The Depot building closed in 1975, and it subsequently fell into disrepair and decline. Sarasota County purchased the structure in 1999 and renovated it in 2002-2003. Dedicated on October 24, 2003, the restored Depot stands as a magnificent representation of the architecture of early Venice. The renovation added 40 feet on the south side of the building, and the additional space accommodates the Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) bus system hub at the Depot.
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3MG1949 wrote a review Mar 2020
Greenfield, Indiana275 contributions43 helpful votes
If you want to learn more about the history of Venice, Florida this is the place to go. Took a very informal guided tour with a very nice guide who knew a lot about the history of the area. It's worth a visit.
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Date of experience: March 2020
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Mike M wrote a review Feb 2020
Rotonda West, Florida33 contributions3 helpful votes
As historic sites go, this was as interesting as any. The docent was well informed and ready to answer any of your questions. Stop by and say hello
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Date of experience: January 2020
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Wtb1129 wrote a review Jan 2020
76 contributions3 helpful votes
This place has an employee who it appears has a job of yelling at people on bikes. Even with no one visible to us he yelled for us to walk our bikes. And another couple was yelled at to not ride their bike in a certain direction. Yes, there are rules but there is no need to yell at people!
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Date of experience: January 2020
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Response from BAUBFL, Volunteer at Venice Train Depot
Responded Jan 28, 2020
We are sorry you had an uncomfortable experience. The Depot campus is Sarasota County property, and security guards oversee many aspects of safety. We will share your comments with the County. As representatives of the Venice Area Historical Society, we are responsible for the historical exhibits about Venice and the railroad that are inside the Depot. We hope you'll stop by and see them sometime! Venice Area Historical Society
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Doug J wrote a review Nov 2019
Brampton, Canada283 contributions95 helpful votes
Constructed in 1927 by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers which had purchased land in 1925 to develop the City of Venice as a retirement spot for its members. The depot is listed on the National Directory of Historic Places, and played an important role as Venice moved through the Kentucky Military Institute (KMI) period, the WWII years, and then its years as the winter home of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Displays in the depot describe all of this and more, and a volunteer docent from the Venice Area Historical Society is available to take you through it and tell the story. Accessible by bus, and by car from East Venice Ave. and the Legacy Trail.
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Date of experience: November 2019
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NewhavenOntario wrote a review Nov 2019
Ontario, Canada100 contributions65 helpful votes
Great way to spend 45 minutes. Small museum portion but interesting history to be discovered on the 'age of the railway' in Florida and the important part it played for the circus. Don't miss meeting George in the caboose for additional history pertaining to the use of this piece of rolling stock. Don't forget to pick up an original, (1960's ), circus program for a $5 donation to the museum.
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Date of experience: November 2019
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