Harry Higel

Harry L. Higel

Location: Siesta Drive and Higel Street
Harry Higel was a leader in the early development of the Sarasota area. Born in Philadelphia, he came to Horse and Chaise (now Venice) with his parents in 1884 and later moved to Sarasota. In the 1890's, he bought the Sarasota town dock and engaged in real estate, merchandising and shipping. In 1896 he married Gertrude Edmonson, granddaughter of Sarasota pioneers and daughter of Louise Whitaker and Thomas Gordon Edmondson, who in 1881 homesteaded 80 acres on the northern tip of Sarasota Key. Higel supported efforts to incorporate Sarasota as a town. He was elected to the first town council in 1902, was re-elected four times and was mayor in 1913 when Sarasota was incorporated as a city. He served again as Mayor in 1916 and 1917. Higel's imposing hotel, Higelhurst, adjoining his bathhouses on the Pass, burned in 1917 just prior to completion of the first automobile bridge to Siesta. In 1921, the year Sarasota County was created,

Harry Higel was found brutally beaten on the island, the victim of an unsolved murder.