Sarasota News Leader

11/09/2012

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Sarasota News Leader November 9, 2012 LaHurd is surrounded by history and loving every minute of it. "It's like getting paid to play golf," he said. Asked about the large number of books he has written, LaHurd replied with a shrug. "I started in 1990 and they just kept coming." His first book was Quint- essential Sarasota. Since then he has written about topics as diverse as the Lido Casino and Major League Baseball's spring training experiences in the city of Sarasota. Among LaHurd's more recent books is Owen Burns — The Man Who Bought and Built Sara- sota." A contemporary of John Ringling, Burns and the circus entrepre- neur were responsible for much of the construction and development of the area in the 1920s. LaHurd also has written about another famous father of the city: John Hamilton Gillespie – The Scot who saved Sarasota. Jeff LaHurd is preparing to release his latest book. Contributed photo LaHurd concedes he cares little for publicity or promotion. Instead, he prefers to devote his time to research and writing. It is worth noting that his books are available at local bookstores, and if you visit him at the History Center, he will happily sign them. Page 90 His latest book, The Rise of Sarasota: Ken Thompson and the Rebirth of Paradise, is being released this month. A book signing has been scheduled at Bookstore 1, among the very few independent bookstores left in Sarasota that carries new titles. The event will be held Nov. 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. Bookstore 1 is located at 1359 Main St. As for the book itself: Thompson was the city manager of Saraso- ta for almost 40 years. He was considered a strong, competent man- ager whom many peo- ple liked and admired, though, of course, some did not. The story of Thompson's life en- compasses a dynamic post-recession period of Sarasota history. LaHurd seems unsure about what he will tack- le next. "I have to finish this one before I can think about it," he said. Although he has told the stories of many fa- mous men and women in the community's history, LaHurd has more than a few admirers who say his passion for the history of this area has benefited Sarasota County perhaps even more than the endeavors of some of those about whom he has written.

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