The downtown Sarasota area has a long history, beginning with the Seminole Indians who originally lived there. The first settlers were of English and Scottish descent in 1842. They named their new settlement after “Sara” Harris or Sarastro, one of the characters from Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute.”
In 1886, John Ringling came to town for business negotiations on behalf of his circus company. He fell in love with Sarasota and decided to buy up land so he could build an art academy that would be affiliated with Yale University.
In the 20th Century, Sarasota’s downtown continues to grow with the construction of more hotels and businesses.
Today, Sarasota’s downtown is home to the historical district, restaurants and theaters.