This 1927 Spanish mansion on St. Armands has a fascinating pedigree. It was the home of William J. Burns. Burns isn't too well remembered today, but in the 1920s he was a major celebrity. Dubbed “America’s Sherlock Holmes,” he founded the famous Burns Detective Agency and was involved in solving a host of crimes that filled the newspapers of 100 years ago.
The home was built in 1927 and has three bedrooms and five baths. The very grand living room is two stories, with a stairway on one side with a wrought iron balustrade going up to the second floor. The stately marble fireplace is said to be a gift from Burns’ pal John Ringling.
The architect was Thomas Reed Martin, who did many of Sarasota’s homes from that period. This one has the distinction of being “fire-proof.” The lot, almost half an acre, overlooks Coon Key and Plymouth Harbor, with an elaborate pool and lawn plus a dock and new boat lift. The home is nicely landscaped for privacy.
Burns was head of the Bureau of Investigation, which later morphed into the F.B.I. Unfortunately he caught up in the scandals surrounding the Harding administration and was forced to resign in 1924. He was replaced by J. Edgar Hoover.
He retired to Sarasota and wrote about his adventures in crime fighting. He died here in 1934. His home remains, beautifully updated and full of American history.
47 S. Washington Drive is priced at $3.75 million. For more information call Lynne Koy of Coldwell Banker at (941) 544-5117.