CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE TO ENLARGE. Remains of Harry Higel's Higelhurst Hotel's Dock From 1917 Fire Found on N Siesta Key Beach Near Shell Rd. Remains of the timber pilings and the single metal railing of Harry Higel's Higelhurst Hotel's Dock have been located on the beach next to the Shell Rd access to Big Pass.
The Higelhurst Hotel and dock were burned down on Friday morn March 30th 1917, Rube Allyn was a person of interest in the arson. The caretaker Mrs Mueller left the Hotel on Thursday afternoon March 29th 1917 for Sarasota where she spent the evening with friends. The Hotel was empty and vacant, Rube Allyn lived nearby and hated Harry Higel. Rube Allyn was there on Siesta Key in the early morn of Friday March 30th 1917 when the hotel was torched. Rube Allyn was also the one and only suspect in the brutal pistol whipping of Harry Higel on Friday morn January 7th, 1921 that led to Mr Higel's death. Rube Allyn was arrested but a "kangaroo Grand Jury" made up of Rube's newspaper pals and drinking buddies, failed to indict.
Rube Allyn burned down the Higelhurst Hotel and murdered former Sarasota mayor Harry Higel early on Friday mornings, March 30th 1917 for the Hotel and then January 7th 1921 for the murder of Higel, both on Siesta Key Fl
CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE TO ENLARGE. The Higelhurst Hotel on N Siesta Key was overlooking Big Pass with an unobstructed view of the Gulf of Mexico directly across from Lido Beach. The Higelhurst Hotel was on the beach less than 50 yards to the Gulf and Big Pass waters. The very south end of Bayou Louise was behind the Hotel. Photo located that shows image of Higelhurst Hotel in 1916, see uneven timber pilings for dock cut from trees on the island and the metal railing that ran the full length of the dock.
Higel's Higelhurst Hotel's Dock was built in 1915 and was made of wood
cut from tress on N Siesta Key. You can see in the photo above that the
wood pilings are not perfectly straight as cut in a lumber mill but some
are crooked and somewhat bent as cut from a nearby southern pine tree.
the 1900's Southern Pine were used most commonly on the East Coast to
make timber pilings for a dock out into the Gulf of Mexico. Creosote
derived from coal processing, was discovered in the mid-18th century to
prevent timber pile decay, it has a black oil appearance on the timber.
Before May of 1917, ferry service was the only way to get to Siesta Key. During 1915-16, a movement to build a bridge to siesta Key began. Higel was a driving force for its construction, because it would provide easy access to the hotel he planned to build on the key.
The Sarasota Times reported on September 17, 1914, "that plans have been drawn by a local architect and the hotel is assured. The hotel will have 20 bedrooms and a dining room large enough to accommodate 100 people." The estimated cost would be between $10,000 and $15,000. Work on the hotel began immediately. The contract for the foundation was awarded within a week. Plans were also drawn up for several guest bungalows to be built close to the hotel. Higel's plan included streets along which the bungalows would be built and sidewalks to the hotel. His idea was to make Siesta Key a settlement where every comfort would be provided. Higel believed that this type of plan would be popular with tourists.
Hotel Higelhurst opened its doors on March 9, 1915, with more than 200 people attending the grand opening reception. Since the bridge to the key was not finished, ferry boats provided transportation to the hotel. The Sarasota Times reported that "there was plenty for people to do. Dancing was provided, card tables were set up and refreshments were served. The last boat did not leave the key until nearly midnight and a good time was reported by all."
CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE TO ENLARGE. The Higelhurst Hotel proved to be very popular and was a success for Higel. In 1917, he was planning an expansion when the hotel caught fire on March 30 and burned to the ground. Nearby resident on the north end of Siesta Key, Rube Allyn, was a person of interest in the arson fire.
Bill Warner Private Investigator Sarasota 941-926-1926 - Cheaters and Child Custody Cases at http://www.billwarnerpi.com/