The Sarasota Trailer Park in January of 1941 was a vibrant place, having gained popularity in the 1930’s with members of the Tin Can Tourists (TCT); the trailer park hosted the group’s 1938 international convention. Even with the rest of the nation still struggling through the Great Depression, Sarasota was able to attract 3,000 tourists who were willing and able to spend money and stimulate the local economy. At the trailer park in 1941, the seasonal residents were enjoying their reprieve from the northern winters by participating in dances, parties, trailer park band concerts, organized bicycle rides, and various club meetings. There was even an amateur camera contest to produce a photograph for a national trailer travel magazine. The park boasted that it was the world’s largest.
The Sarasota Trailer Park was founded in the late 1920’s and was operated on city owned land that was donated by Calvin Payne. Through the years, the land was not only occupied by the Sarasota Trailer Park, but was also home to public park space, the Sarasota County Fair, spring training for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox, and various government buildings. In the 1980’s, controversy arose about the misuse of the land, which was deeded with the restriction that it be used for public park space. It was returned to its original purpose and reopened as a public park in 2007.[i]
[i] “Government Photography Program at the Sarasota Trailer Park”; Jarred R. Wilson; Sarasota Alive!; http://www.sarasotahistoryalive.com/stories/journals-of-yesteryear/government-photography-program-at-the-sarasota-trailer-park/