Venice Florida Historical Sites

Historical sites and places of interest around the area

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Venice Florida historical sites

The Venice area is rich in history and several local organizations work hard at preserving the past.  Also take note of the many historic markers around town that explain such notable sites as the South Jetty (Casey’s Pass) and the Circus Bridge. The Venice Train Depot is another worthwhile stop to learn about Venice’s past as a winter home for the Kentucky Military Institute and its exciting years as the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus

Nearby Osprey’s Spanish Point is an attraction that shouldn’t be missed. As you stroll through the grounds with spectacular views of Little Sarasota Bay, you will see a well-preserved archaic shell midden, an “Old Florida” pioneer homestead site, chapel and orange packing house, and the elegant remains of Mrs. Bertha Potter Palmer’s estate and gardens.

Visit the Triangle Inn on Venice Island to pick up walking tours and other valuable guides to our historic places.

Train Depot/Coakley Railroad Park

The 1927 Depot was purchased by Sarasota County in 1999. After a 2.3 million restoration, the renovated depot was dedicated in 2003. The Rollins W. Coakley Railroad Park includes scenic walkways, a restored caboose and a statue dedicated to circus great and wild animal trainer Gunther Gebel-Williams. Gebel-Williams, who was with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus for 20 years, died in Venice in 2001. Located at 202 E. Venice Ave in Venice Florida. 941-486-2595.

Venice Museum

The Venice Museum and Archives, in partnership with the Kentucky Military Institute Alumni Association, is hosting the exhibit “Kentucky Military Institute: Celebrating 37 Years in Venice” until November 13, 2013.  Many of the historic buildings in Downtown Venice were built as part of the KMI campus not so long ago.  Did you know that the Venice Theatre was originally the KMI gymnasium?  The exhibit is at the Triangle Inn, 351 Nassau St. S. and open from 10 to 4 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. For more information, contact

Venice Art Center

Location: 390 Nokomis Ave. South Venice
The Venice Art Center (VAC) is the oldest and largest community art center on Florida's cultural coast. The Art center began with a two-day art show in 1956 and by 1958 the Venice Art Association was formed and operating. Over the next ten years the Art Center's legacy of art education for all ages was initiated and outreach programs initiated. In 1968 the Art Center constructed its first building and became the Venice Area Art League.The Art Center continued its rapid growth in the 1970's and 1980's and our name was officially changed to the Venice Art Center. The Art Center moved into its newly expanded building in October, 1996. The VAC offers exhibitions, art education and community participation. For more information, contact

Venetian Waterway Park

Benches, dog clean-up stations, picnic shelters and grills, scenic ICW views and glimpses of wildlife are found along the 10-mile long, 8-foot wide linear trail for walkers, joggers and bikers. No motor vehicles allowed. You can access the park along both sides of the Intracoastal Waterway. Parking on the west side of the ICW is located on Golf Street, on the east side of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice; and at the east end of Airport Avenue, through the gates, on the dirt road, to the south side of Circus Bridge. Parking on the east side of the ICW is at Marina Park and Boat Ramp, the historic Venice Train Depot, and Shamrock Park in South Venice.

Legacy Trail

The 12.4-mile-long and 100-foot-wide corridor stretches from just over a mile south of State Road 72 (Clark Road) by Sawyer Loop Road in Sarasota to the southern terminus near Center Road in Venice.  This corridor serves as a link to the rich and wonderful past of the region. In 1911, the railroad corridor was extended through the Venice area at the request of the Palmer family. The railroad line preceded any of our modern highways, and served as the way Southwest Florida was discovered by many of its early inhabitants. Among the more well-known users of the railroad line were the U.S. Army during World War II, the Kentucky Military Institute and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which wintered in Venice from 1962-1992. The railroad corridor links with the Venice Train Depot, which was built in 1927 and used for many years until the last passenger left the depot in 1971. Under a separate project, the Venice Train Depot was later purchased and rehabilitated by the county, which reopened it in 2003 to once again serve the area’s transportation needs as the south county passenger transfer facility for Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT). The depot will serve as one of the trail heads of the recreational trail. Entry points in the area include US 41 Bypass and Patriots Park, and Venetian Waterway Park in Venice, and E. Colonia St. in Nokomis.

Historic Spanish Point - Osprey

Located on the shores of Little Sarasota Bay in Osprey, Historic Spanish Point is an archaeological, historical and environmental site museum. The history of the site goes back 5,000 years to Florida’s first people and the shell midden built by them cover much of the 30-acre site. The site also features the historic legacy of other settlers, including John Webb and his family from New York, who established a homestead in 1867. Later Spanish Pointe became a part of the winter estate of Chicago socialite Mrs. Potter Palmer, who added her own touches to the landscape in the form of gardens and garden architecture. Located on U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) at 337 N. Tamiami Trail in Osprey. Website. Phone:941-966-5214 

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