Designed with an eye towards the future, Rosemary Square recognizes the area’s vibrant history as it strives to once again foster a sense of community.
Part of an original plat of the Town of Sarasota in 1885, African Americans settled in this area just north of downtown as early as the 1890s. Known as Overtown, the neighborhood was home to businessmen, fishermen, physicians, nurses, teachers, farmers and many more. Unfortunately, the community of Overtown was lost due to downtown development in the 1960s and the African-American residents pushed north to Newtown, searching for better opportunities. Yet, as the decades marched forward, the area once known as Ovetown was largely overlooked, forgotten, and ignored – overshadowed by the draw of downtown Sarasota and the nearby bayfront. In 1994, this area was officially named the Rosemary District in honor of the historic Rosemary Cemetery at 8th Street and Central Avenue. Over time, it started to emerge as a vibrant Design District with architecture offices, furniture stores, art galleries, and interior design studios.