Location: 881 Florida Avenue
1882 this handsome residence was under construction for Alfred
and Mary Bidwell on land Mary purchased from the State of Florida
for one dollar an acre. Before construction the Bidwell's apparently
occupied the detached kitchen-dining room with a sleeping loft.
This home later stood in an area which later became part of
the city. Sarasota was then in vast Manatee County, which extended
from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Okeechobee and from the Manatee
River to Charlotte Harbor. Bidwell, a native of Buffalo, NY,
had his store 1 ½ miles away at the bay on a sandy main
street, now named Cunliff Lane.
Alfred Bidwell was one of a group implicated in the murder of his neighbor, Charles E. Abbe, Sarasota's first postmaster U. S. Commisioner. Abbe was shot December 27th, 1884 in front of Bidwell's store. The investigation revealed a secret society, Sara Sota Vigilance Committee, led by Bidwell. He was convicted and sentenced to death, commuted to life, later released. The house was purchased in 1895 by Annie and Luke Wood as a winter home and occupied by them; then by their daughter Ethel until her death in 1966. The house was moved in 1977 from US41-301 and Wood Street by Historical Society of Sarasota County, Inc., with community assistance.