Scenic USA - Florida

St. Armands Circle

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St. Armand's Circle - Lido Key, Florida

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Photography

   During the late 1800s, a Frenchman by the name of Charles St. Amand purchased 132 acres of today's Lido Key Diana of Versailles - St Armand Circle, Lido Key, Florida for an amazing rock-bottom price of $21.71. He, like other early pioneers, grew crops and fished the bountiful Gulf waters. These island farmers and anglers would take their products across the bay to sell at the mainland pier market in Sarasota.
   It didn't take long before John Ringling of circus fame took notice of the island and envisioned a planned development on St. Armands Key. Purchasing the property in 1917, Ringling's plans included residential lots and a shopping center built out around a park in a circle. During the process, Amand was misspelled and remains St. Armands today. By 1926 a causeway from the mainland was completed, and the first day of real estate sales totaled more than a million dollars. As the full impact of the early 1930s Depression Era set in, St. Armands was abandoned. Neptune God of the Sea - St Armands Circle, Lido Key, Florida Ringling died in 1936 at age 70 without seeing his dream fulfilled.
   Ringling's initial development for St. Armands Circle lives on today. The circle is lined with fine restaurants, art galleries, elegant shops and some of the area's finest hotels. Just as Ringling envisioned, Saint Armands Circle has become one of Sarasota area's finest attractions and Gulf island communities.
   Celebrating John Ringling and his penchant for statuary, Key resident Edward Pinto settled on a plan to preserve Ringling's statues and add new statues to the Circle. The "Save Our Statues" initiative began in 2007, and thanks to a variety of business, individual and association contributors, 21 white-marble classical-themed statues were placed around the Circle and inbound streets.

     Area Map

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