Tucked away in an unobscure street off Ashton is Phillippi Crest Community Clubhouse. In 1916, the tiny colony was front page news in Sarasota’s newspaper twice during the year after a group of Maine
residents announced plans to build winter homes and a community clubhouse on property purchased from the wealthy Bertha Palmer family. They were going to call it the “New England Yacht Club”.

The buyers of the land represented a group of Boston and Maine railroad retirees who had grown unhappy with their property in Pinehurst, NC and heard of the lush and tropical beauty of Sarasota.

These plats of land were some of the first recorded after Sarasota became a county in
1921, and can be found on page two of the first Sarasota plat book. Early aerial photos
show many homes on Ashton Road by the 1920s. At that time, all were small cottages and bungalows, many of which were built in the Craftsman style popular at the time.

When originally built in the late 1920s, the Phillippi Crest Community Clubhouse was a
natural addition to the Maine Colony, which understood the importance of a central meeting
place for its residents. Beyond social gatherings, the clubhouse provided a place that
signified a sense of communal pride and unity. To this day, the clubhouse remains a shared
place for neighbors to connect with one another. Events are scheduled throughout the year and open to the public for a $10 donation. Legendary  blues artist Al Fuller plays here, as do many other artist (Bluegrass, folk, acoustic guitarist).

Phillippi Crest, which is 13 feet above sea level, hence its name, became a thriving vacation camp for a group of families from Maine who came down annually. The seasonal residents built quality, fully equipped homes, but took their meals together in the community center that has been renovated in the neighborhood.

Fast forward in time and the entire area was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 due to its historical significance and unique architecture.

The neighborhood continued to develop over the course of its 100 years, with larger homes and more modern architectural styles being added. Despite these changes, the Maine Colony has retained much of its original character and charm, and is now considered one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Sarasota.

Today, the Maine Colony Historic District is a protected area, with strict zoning regulations designed to preserve the unique architectural and historical character of the neighborhood. Many of the homes in the district have been lovingly restored and are now used as vacation rentals or year-round residences.

Jeffrey Frank, co-president of Crest Club, Inc. moved from Washington, DC seven years ago and was drawn to the colony because he’s a “history  geek.” Frank and his co-president, Anja Palombo,  spearheaded bringing the neighborhood’s almost 100-year-old Philippi Crest Clubhouse back to life with regular gatherings, live concerts, art and kids’ activities, and more. The club offers events opened to the public throughout the year, and proves to be a highly  harmonious community.

“I love the history of this place,” says Frank. “It’s a humble and unpretentious neighborhood. It’s a little hippyish and off the grid geographically. I especially love the Old Florida” feel and the century-old cottage we found. We  rescued and repaired it.”

Current video about the Phillippi Crest Club House

Historic video footage circa 1930

Historic photos circa 1923

The Phillippi Crest Club, Inc. is registered by the Internal Revenue Service and the state of Florida as a not for profit corporation and eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. Donate here