Sarasota County was created in 1921 from portions of Manatee County. The county seat is also called Sarasota. Both honor Sarasota Bay, the countys most prominent natural feature, but beyond that the origins of the name are lost. Some contend it is from a Calusa term meaning "a place for dancing," while others, waggishly, claim that Sara was the beautiful daughter of the explorer DeSoto. In fact, an entire legend has sprung up about the Calusa chief who allowed himself to be captured just to be near her. The upscale community of Sarasota features many notable landmarks, among them New College, the Asolo Theater, the Ringling Museum of Art, the winter home of the Ringling Brothers-Barnum and Bailey Circus, and the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
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