Longboat Legacy

By Robert Plunket September 16, 2009

A bayfront landmark from days gone past hits the Sarasota market.


By Robert Plunket

Click here to watch our Real Estate Junkie discuss this Longboat jewel on ABC7.



The past 60 years have seen Longboat Key change from a sandbar lined with Australian pines and little wooden beach shacks into one the most glamorous – and expensive – addresses in the country. But at the north end a little enclave of the past remains: Longboat Village. Founded as a little fishing village back in the 1880’s, today it retains an impressively quaint and unpretentious air.


Astonishingly, many of the old houses remain. True, they have been gussied up and enlarged over the years, and they are no longer cheap, but as a collection of Old Florida architecture, the Village is unique. And one of its landmarks is currently on the market, the big old house at 6526 Bayou Hammock. I can’t think of anything else quite like it in the area. Built in 1940, it’s a long rambling wood frame home of the type found in such Northern resorts as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. You almost expect to see Katherine Hepburn waving at you from the front porch, or more likely, shooing you off her property. There’s a sign at the end of the road that says “no sightseeing.”

 6526 Bayou Hammock

The house has only had two owners and has never been updated. And I mean never. It has no central air. It has the original kitchen and baths. There are ancient electric heaters in the baseboards. The interior has cypress and/or pine paneling in every room, and it has many porches and breezeways. It sits on over an acre and half of bayfront, with views of Sister Key and the oddly named Jewfish Key. There is a dock, of course.


With six bedrooms it’s a big place. The guest rooms have their own sinks in the corner of the room. The atmosphere is one of wealthy WASP gentility, a little faded and shabby, very Grey Gardens. But it’s not the least bit depressing. You can picture all the happy family vacations it has hosted.


The master bedroom

What’s going to happen to this place is anybody’s guess. Priced at $2,500,000, it’s being sold for the value of the land. An imaginative buyer could turn it into something spectacular, but he’s going to have to very determined, as there are government restrictions as to how much remodeling you can do on such properties. (Hmmm – maybe we do have too much government.) A more likely scenario would be a tear down and replacement with a McMansion. I sure hope not.



For more information call Bobbie Banan at 941-356-2659.

Filed under
Show Comments