Built in 1950, the Gulf Beach Motel was part of the post World War II motel construction boom that addressed the needs of a growing number of tourists to the Lido Beach area. With the end of war-time gas rationing and the resumption of auto production, America’s love affair with the automobile had begun and tourists increasingly came to Florida by car rather than by train. The Gulf Beach Motel’s buildings, shuffleboard courts, swimming pool, tiki huts, and street signage are typical of this 1950’s new style of lodging facility that offered affordable and clean rooms, parking in front, and a variety of activities for families.
Remembered as the first of a number of motels that were built on Lido Key, this motel was part of a development and investment project by Ture Gemzell and Arne Petterson. After operating nearly two decades as a motel, the complex was sold and, with some modifications, converted into condominiums in 1977. The condominium association’s on-site management staff has maintained an ongoing rental program, whereby the Gulf Beach Motel retains the feeling and character of many small motels that once lined the Gulf Coast of Florida.
* Text from the on-site sign provided by the Sarasota County Historical Commission.