Throwback Thursday: Floridale and Holt

Floridale

This article ran in the Okaloosa News-Journal Sept. 11, 1925.

As many Holt residents know, Floridale was a failed planned community between Holt and Harold in the mid-1920s.

HotelTowerThe article above was published before the developers, who included Richard T. Ringling, of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, abandoned the project, leaving behind the lone 60-foot water tower and power station standing along U.S. 90, and a nearly completed 50-suite hotel, according to an October 1992 article in the Northwest Florida Daily News.

Richard Ringling

Richard T. Ringling

Richard Ringling was the son of Alfred “Alf” Ringling, one of the founders of the famous circus.

Unfortunately, Richard Ringling had a string of failed business attempts in his past, including his own circus and a Montana ranch, both given to him by his father.  Floridale proved to be yet another failure.

While the Holt area had its failed Ringling community, another Ringling failure occurred in south Florida. Richard’s uncle, John Ringling, another circus founding brother, planned to build a Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Sarasota’s Longboat Key.

Ritz-Carlton

Sarasota’s unfinished Ritz-Carlton

Construction began in 1926, but like with the Floridale project, the Great Depression ended John Ringling’s plans.

The unfinished and abandoned Ritz-Carlton fell to a wrecking ball in 1964.

The Floridale hotel was demolished in 1963 and the water tower in the early 1970s.

While there might be some foundation somewhere on someone’s property, all that’s left of Floridale to the casual motorist is a green highway marker on U.S. 90.


Editor’s Note:  If you have a photo of an old Holt memory, send it to Holt Enterprise News for Throwback Thursday at holt.enterprise.news@gmail.com. Don’t forget to include what the photo is about.

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