On a bright spring morning in 1885, a surveying team from the Florida Mortgage and Investment Company cleared a ten foot area in what is today the center of Five Points. The group was led by Richard Paulson who announced: "We will lay out the town of Sarasota from this hub." From that day forward Five Points has been considered the heart of Sarasota. A member of the crew, Lewis Colson, was a former slave who would become a respected community leader and one of the founders of the Black Bottom/Overtown District [today's Rosemary District]. It was Colson who drove the stake that marked the center of Five Points.
Initially, an artesian well was sunk at the site to provide water for the locals and their animals. In 1917, after Sarasota's first contingent of servicemen went overseas to fight in World War I, a flagpole and a Stars and Stripes, donated by Bertha Palmer to honor those serving in the Great War, replaced the trough. Shortly after their return home, the townspeople gathered to watch the proud young men parade along Main Street, greeting them with cheers; a heartfelt WELCOME BUDDIES was painted on the road in front of the flagpole.Text: Jeff LaHurd
The highlight of the 1928 Armistace Day celebration was the unveiling of the American Legion War Memorial which became the
base of the flagpole. At that time, Sarasota had not lost any of her citizens in battle; but during World War II, and the wars that followed, the names of those killed were inscribed on plaque attached to the Memorial. Designed by architect, Clare C. Hosmer, the monument became a symbol of sacrifice; one of Sarasota's most visible and cherished landmarks.
The Memorial was moved in 1954 to lower Main Street and Gulfstream Avenue and rededicated in today's Chaplain J.D. Hamel Park. The flagpole was later removed and replaced by a statue of a charging doughboy; a symbol of World War I. On days of remembrance, the community gathers around the Memorial to reflect on the sacrifice made by local heroes and to pay tribute to those who died fighting for our country.
Manufactured by the O.B. McClintock Company, the ornamental clock, which formerly hung on the Palmer Bank at Five Points, has kept time in downtown Sarasota since 1925. It was restored and moved to its present location in 1992.
Text: Jeff LaHurd