Bequeathed by Sarasota resident Elling O. Eide (1935-2012), the 72-acre waterfront preserve on Little Sarasota Bay is the the largest undeveloped waterfront properties on Sarasota Bay. The site is includes remnants of historic Old Florida along with new, modern architecture. Sarasota architect Guy Peterson, FAIA, designed the Elling Eide Center main building. The landscape includes native and natural vegetation along with a living collection containing a rich assortment of rare and exotic plants.

The Eide Center is home to a collection of seven historic structures and a unique biodiverse living collection that has a long and rich history stretching back to the prehistoric settlements in Florida. Elling Eide made it his life’s passion to protect and preserve this present-day coastal resource. The largely undisturbed coastal shell midden, known as the Indianola midden complex, exists on the property’s waterfront. A second archaeological site, known as the Ralston Mound, is the largest existing coastal sand mound in Sarasota County and is adjacent to the center in Sarasota County’s Bayonne Park.

Elling Eide in China

The Eide Center houses collections amassed by Elling Eide over six decades. Eide was an accomplished scholar in Asian studies and the collections contains comprehensive Asian literature holdings and rare books, Eide’s personal papers, and local and Asian artwork and artifacts.

A primary focus of the collection pertains to medieval China, prior to 1000 AD. Today it is one of the largest private collections of East Asian library materials in the United States. The Elling Eide Center opened in the fall of 2016 and provides scholars and students with opportunities to research Chinese culture, history, and art on a pristine preserve. The Eide Center hosts conferences, lectures, visiting scholars, special events, and tours.

Volunteers, like you, are essential the Elling Eide Center because you make it possible for us to offer our unique programs. We could not do what we do without your investment of time and dedication to the Eide’s efforts. If you are interested in volunteering at the Eide Center, please complete the application below.