On the southwest end of Longboat Key, where the Longboat Key Club now sits, there was once a Ritz-Carlton in the making. In the 1920s, John Ringling wanted to bring a luxurry hotel to the area at a time when there were few hotels at all. Ringling selected the location with the Ritz-Carlton's managing director, Albert Keller, who agreed to a $5,000-per-year fee to use the name. However, the hotel was never completed. The Great Depression ended the building boom, despite of city-wide efforts to dispel its impact. And although Ringling attempted to continue the building project, with several headlines in The Herald-Tribune promising resumption of the project for years, it fizzled out, slowly fading from conversation and news headlines.
"In the years that followed," declared a 1964 New York Times piece titled "Ghost of a Hotel to Vanish," "the hotel skeleton became entwined with vines and hemmed in by Australian pines and Sabal palms. The golf course reverted to jungle. For years, the structure was a target for vandals and a hazard for children. Many were injured while playing on its beams. Finally, the area was fenced off."
Demolition took nearly two months due to the 16- and 20-foot-wide brick walls, but the building was gone by the end of January 1964.