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.
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: email@example.com