Venice the Shark Tooth Capital in the World

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Venice Florida is just south of Sarasota along Florida’s white-sanded Gulf Coast, offers 14 miles of beaches, from Casey Key to Manasota Key and plenty of recreational opportunities, including swimming, sunbathing, fishing and boating. Shelling is also a favorite pastime and fossilized shark’s teeth can be found in abundance by sifting through the sand. The shark tooth capital of the world, Venice is known for its spectacular shoreline. Stroll down Venice Avenue with its pink, Italian Renaissance buildings, Mediterranean-style shops and “umbrella-topped” Canary Island date palms. The city includes what locals call “Venice Island”, a portion of the mainland that is accessed via bridges over the artificially created Intracoastal Waterway.  The city has a population of 25,463

The history of Venice goes back to around 1916, the climate and the natural beauty of the area captivated Dr. Fred Albee, a New York physician who purchased the entire village of Nokomis on Dona and Roberts Bay after just an eight-day visit. He came to Venice with a dream to build a model city and commissioned John Nolen, a well-known Boston city planner, to create a Gulf Coast paradise. By 1923, Venice was connected to Tampa and Miami by a two-lane road that became the Tamiami Trail. During the real estate boom of the 1920s, the designs and land that were to become the City of Venice were sold to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers of Cleveland, Ohio as a retirement haven for members of the engineers’ union.  In 1925, Dr. Fred H. Albee, a well-known orthopedic surgeon, purchased 2,916 acres of land from the Venice-Sarasota Company. Earlier, he developed Nokomis and built its first luxury hotel, the Pollyanna Inn. Albee retained John Nolen, a world-renowned city planner, to design a city on his land. This city would be called Venice.

On June 10, 1926, the first street in Venice opened. Nassau Street ran from the terminus of Tamiami Trail, past the Hotel Venice, through Venezia Park, and again into the Trail. By mid-June, the first phase was complete with six miles of graded streets and a mile of seven-foot-wide sidewalks and gutters. The City of Venice was incorporated in 1927 and the dream of a model community became a reality when homes & businesses featuring Italian architecture were constructed Population grew from 863 in 1950 to nearly 10,000 in 1957. Following the arrival of the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, which made Venice its winter headquarters in 1960.