The Hamilton family are Siesta Key pioneers, first having come here in the 1920s. Since then they have dominated much of what has happened at the north end of the key. The family’s current homestead—the descendant of the famous old Bay Island Hotel—is now on the market, along with decades of local history.

The Bay Island Hotel set the tone for much of Siesta Key’s character in the early days. It was open only during the winter, naturally, and attracted well-to-do people whose main activity was spending the day in the hotel’s famous rocking chairs, looking out at the Gulf. 

There was a fire in 1952 and the family—eccentric aristocrats at heart—decided to tear it down and build a family vacation complex on the 10-acre site. The current property is one of those homes, a three story structure inspired by the famous lighthouse in Boca Grande. It dates back to 1981.

It features a second floor living area with views out to the protective tropical foliage, 10-foot ceilings, an open floor plan, and a great Old Florida vibe. The home has four bedrooms, three baths, and is set on a quarter acre of land.

The Hamiltons changed the zoning of North Siesta from commercial to residential, so I guess they are to be thanked for the fact we have some of Sarasota’s most beautiful—and expensive—homes along Norsota Way rather than a bunch of condos. 

3400 Hamilton Ave. is priced at $899,000. For more information call Peter Laughlin of Premier Sotheby’s at (941) 356-8428.

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