United States of America, Florida, Sarasota County, Osprey
Historic Spanish Point (Osprey, Florida)
This 30-acre site is a unique environmental, archaeological, and historic preserve on the shores of Little Sarasota Bay. It was inhabited by Native Americans for 5,000 years, then briefly by the Spanish, and then by pioneers in the mid-19th century. Between 1910 and 1918 it was the home of Mrs. Potter Palmer of Chicago, who developed the gardens between 1912 and 1918 (the property remained in the Palmer family until 1980 when the site was donated to the Gulf Coast Heritage Association, Inc.). The Palmer-era gardens are one focus of the property today, along with historic and environmental preservation. Mrs. Palmer made "Osprey Point" her winter retreat and a self-sufficient plantation, adding and restoring buildings, walkways, an aqueduct, gardens, and more with architectural features typical of her era. In addition, she bought hundreds of additional acres for farming and investment. She preserved the lovely natural setting of native trees and lush greenery, while adding exotic ornamentals, fruits, and vegetables so capably that new plantings have been basically unnecessary since.
Persons associated with the garden include: John and Elizabeth Webb (former owners, 1867-1911); Frank and Lizzie Webb Guptill (former owners, 1901-1911); Mrs. Potter Palmer (former owner, 1910-1918); the Palmer family (former owners, 1918-1980); Achille Duchêne (landscape designer, 1912-1918); William Prentiss (grounds supervisor, 1917); Rudy J. Favretti (landscape designer, 1990); Herschel Shepard (project restoration architect, late 1980s); Janet Snyder Matthews (project historian, late 1980s); Marion Almy (project archaeologist, late 1980s); John Maseman (conservator, late 1980s); and Nancy Lichtenstein (horticulturist and groundskeeper, 1997 to date).
The folders include worksheets, brochures, booklets, maps, plant lists, copies of correspondence, and additional information about the history of the site, the gardens and the Palmer family.
Garden has been featured in "Les jardin français aux États-unis, creations de MM. Duchêne et Gréber," La gazette illustrée des amateurs de jardin, 1923, pp. 16-36
Garden has been featured in Virginia Robie, "'The Oaks,' Osprey on Little Sarasota Bay," House Beautiful LXVII, No. 1 (January 1920), pp. 34-35 and 58
Garden has been featured in Jeffrey Smart, "Historic Spanish Point," The Longboat Observer, August 27, 1998
Garden has been featured in Pamela G. Parr, "Spanish Point: Opening a Window on the 'Original' Florida," Pelican Press, August 7, 1997
Garden has been featured in Historic Spanish Point: Cooking Now and Then (Osprey, Florida: Gulf Coast Heritage Association, Inc., 1993)
Garden has been featured in Larry Rabinowitz, Plants of Historic Spanish Point (Osprey, Florida: Gulf Coast Heritage Association, Inc., 1998)