Mable Ringling Memorial Fountain
Mable Ringling, born Armilda Burton on March 4, 1875, married John Ringling on 1905 and became a Sarasota winter resident in 1911. Mable, an avid gardener, created the formal Ca'd'Zan rose garden. In the mid-1920s, she became involved in many community organizations and helped establish the Sarasota Garden Club, becoming the first president of its Founders Circle. A hostess of its first official meeting, Mable presented a short paper on roses and gave a tour of her rose garden. On June 8, 1929, Mable died unexpectedly of acute diabetes, complicated by Addison's disease. In 1935 the Founders Circle decided to install a fountain in Luke Wood park in her memory. The fountain, flanked by two marble lions commissioned by John Ringling, was encircled by four concrete benches, hibiscus, and bougainvillea. In 2011, the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation undertook the renovation project to excavate the fountain, recreate its missing center statuary, and return the original lions to the park. Original bog iron was unearthed and reattached to the brick stairs and top circumference of the fountain. A community-made brick mosaic that includes four roses was added as a tribute to Mable's love of roses.
Luke Wood Park
Luke Wood moved to Sarasota in March
1896 with his wife Annie. Wood purchased 70 acres as a 30th anniversary gift to his wife who selected Sarasota as "the place most desirable in Florida." On December 30, 1931, Wood turned over 12 of the acres to the city; the acreage was converted into a park with the assistance of the Federal Emergency Relief Act. Luke Wood Park became a special project for the Sarasota Garden Club which had supervising rights for 20 years. Local architect Thomas Reed Martin drew a plan for the park. When completed, the park included trees and plants, the Mable Ringling Memorial Fountain, a pair of marble lions, a bird sanctuary, a landscaped ravine, a 500-foot irrigation well, walking paths, along with 216 palms planted planted by the city. The Garden Club encountered problems maintaining the park due to the Great Depression and vandalism. By 1960, the park had been significantly altered by the re-routing of U.S. Hwy 41 through the middle. In the 1980s, it was altered again when the Mable Ringling Memorial Fountain was filled in and the marble lions and fountain's statuary were removed due to the construction of the Senior Friendship Center.