Historic Stephen B. Jennings House


The Jennings home, located at 751 S. Orange Avenue, was built in 1924-1925. The structure was originally located at 1535 Mound Street, and was moved to its present location in 1987 where it was rehabilitated for use as an office. (Note: It was moved approximately 300 ft. across Orange Avenue and its orientation has been preserved.)

The structure is built in the Colonial Revival style. It is noteworthy for its association with Stephen B. Jennings who moved to Sarasota in 1921 and who served on the Sarasota City Council from 1931 through 1936.

The Jennings’ familys first contact with Sarasota was in 1913 when Stephen B. Jennings’ father began coming here as a winter visitor from Connecticut.

Stephen B. Jennings was born in Deep River, Connecticut in 1885. Mr. Jennings graduated from Yale University and the Harvard Law School. He then was affiliated with a Boston law firm before moving to Phoenix, Arizona.

After he and his wife, Dorothy Jennings, of Kansas City, Missouri settled in Sarasota, Mr. Jennings began practicing law. His clients included, among others, Owen Burns and the Sarasota Welfare Home.

Mr. Jennings had the subject building built in 1924-1925. The 1924 tax records have the property valued at $500 while in 1925, they show a value of $5,000.

In 1930, Stephen Jennings was elected to the Sarasota City Council. He would serve two terms from 1931 through 1936 inclusive. While on the City Council, he chaired the Legal Committee, the Administration Committee and the Finance Committee.

He was also considered a leader in the city’s acquisition of the forty (40) acre Sarasota Bay Hotel site. Mayor E. A. Smith said about the site that, “When completed the project will include every known form of recreational facilities.” Located on the site today is the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota Visitors and Convention Bureau, Sarasota County History Museum, Sarasota Art Association, Exhibition Hall, David Cohen Symphony Hall, boat ramp, G.Whiz, Sarasota Garden Club and the Judah Philip Benjamin Memorial Marker.

Mr. Jennings served as a member of the Vestry for the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, though later in life he was a member of St. Bonifice. He was also a member of the Yale Club and the Sarasota County Bar Association.

On May 7, 1964, Stephen B. Jennings died at his home on Mound Street, the subject home. His wife would die 20 years later on May 7, 1984.

Mrs. Bunton Dorothy Jennings was a member of the Church of the Redeemer and Daughters of the King, as well as being active in the Red Cross and Happiness House for ten years.

The home had been vacant since her death in 1984 and was moved to its present site becasue of development pressure.

The Stephen B. Jennings Home was locally designated as a historic structure by the City of Sarasota in 1988.

Article Courtesy of:

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