Our REALTORS® are always thrilled when new residents come to Sarasota to look for a home and ask about interesting things to see and do. Inevitably, we direct them to a popular destination with public art that comes with quite a storied past.
One of the most photographed statues in Florida, if not America, is a 26-foot tall statue that calls Sarasota home. It commemorates the famous photo that appeared in LIFE magazine of a young U.S. sailor dipping and kissing a nurse in Times Square on the day World War II ended. The statue, Unconditional Surrender, is part of a series of statues created by American artist Seward Johnson and can today be found in Sarasota's Bayfront Park. This statue pays homage to the "Greatest Generation" and the joyful celebrations at the end of the war, but its placement in the park has a rather interesting history.
Sarasota's Bayfront Park has had the "kissing sailor" statue come and go on three separate occasions. Its story alone makes it worth a visit when you are ready to take a break from seeing Sarasota homes for sale.
In 2005, the statue made its first appearance when a heavy duty styrofoam version was placed in the park on a temporary basis. It was initially met with mixed reviews from locals who either loved it or hated it. After a couple of years, a foundation established by the artist decided to relocate the statue, so it was loaded onto a flatbed trailer and trucked across the country to San Diego. Then in 2009, thanks to the efforts of a local WWII veteran and art patron, a new, painted aluminum version of the statue was purchased and delivered back to Bayfront Park.
Unfortunately, it was placed just a little too close to the busy intersection, and just three years later, a woman driving a Mercedes jumped the curb and hit it, knocking a big hole in the sailor's foot and causing more than $125,000 in damage. So, once again, the statue was loaded on a flatbed, and this time it was trucked to New Jersey where it endured six months of painstaking repairs.
After the statue was repaired, it was returned to Sarasota in December 2012, once again placed in Bayfront Park, but this time, city leaders had it installed further from the road near the shoreline where it currently remains.
Today the statue is one of the most popular stops for tourists who visit Sarasota, and most residents have grown fond of it too. On any given day you can see couples recreating the famous "kissing sailor" pose for their own selfies and photographs.
So when you're looking for a new home in Sarasota, be sure to contact Wagner Realty, and before, during or after visiting homes with one of our agents, make a trip to Bayfront Park to see the famous "kissing sailor" statue. With a story like this, we're fairly certain it will become one of your favorite places to bring your friends and family when they come to visit you in your new Sarasota home.