Sarasota History Alive 26th Edition

By | May 3, 2012

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Today, we are honoring the Kensingtion Park historical marker that was installed yesterday. The entire text reads:
After World War II, Sarasota experienced an influx of new residents, creating a housing boom.  Martin Paver, retired from his business in New York, was on a pleasure cruise in 1949 when he and his wife Mildred docked in Sarasota to buy supplies.  He fell in love with the charming city, decided to make it his home, and invited his sons Paul and Stanley to join him in land development.  Their first venture was Paver Park, built near the downtown area.  Based on its success, Paver Construction Company purchased a 400+ acre dairy farm from Charles Schmid in 1955 for a larger project, Kensington Park, conveniently located near the Bobby Jones Golf Course.
Kensington Park, named for the area where the Pavers had lived in Great Neck, NY, was developed in 1956.  Billed as “total living”, it was one of the first fully sustainable developments in Southwest Florida with its own water and sewage system.  The water was so delicious that townspeople were allowed to freely tap it to take home.  Modern single-family homes were built in a landscape of winding, concrete streets, many named for family and friends.  Homeowners included young families, military retirees, and retired professional baseball players.

Emphasizing Sarasota’s climate and year-round activities, an advertisement promoting Kensington Park stated that it was “not a dream or a ‘someday’ promise but an actual reality.”  The heart of Kensington Park, its community center, proved this statement to be true as it offered something for everyone.  Residents enjoyed the Olympic size pool where the “Aquabelles”, a women’s synchronized swim team, performed and where swim meets were held.  Residents also used the shuffleboard courts, picnic areas, and playgrounds.  The indoor clubhouse was the site for card parties, square dances, civic meetings, and stage plays.  The most popular annual event was the community luau.

Kensington Park reflected the guiding principles of Paver Construction Company: “Build better than the building codes require and create a place where you would like to live and raise a family.”  In 1962 Good Housekeeping magazine awarded Kensington Park with a citation for “Good House Building and Excellence of Architectural Design, Land Development, and House Planning.”  The Paver family continued to build residences throughout the county, becoming an integral part of Sarasota’s development history.

Courtesy of Sarasota History Alive!

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