Spanish Point, Osprey, Florida

Spanish Point, Osprey Florida History Sarasota
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Historic Spanish Point was named for the Spanish and Cuban sailors and traders who paid regular commercial visits. It is a 30-acre site which juts into the waters of Little Sarasota Bay. It is bordered by mangroves on its west and pine flatwoods (and a residential neighborhood) to the east. Historic Spanish Point was first occupied as early as 3,000 BC, as evidenced by a prehistoric Calusa Indian burial mound and two shell mounds. Here, you have a rare opportunity to walk INSIDE a midden, one of the high shell mounds created centuries ago. Similar to modern land fills, these high mounds contain society's cast-offs, including broken tools, pieces of pottery and bits of bones and shells.

Spanish Point Florida, Osprey, historic area

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In 1867, pioneers John and Eliza Webb settled on the property, planting 10 acres in citrus and vegetables. Their homestead included a citrus packing house, a boat building operation, and Webb's Winter Resort where boarders from the north would stay. In 1910, Bertha Palmer, widow of Chicago magnate Potter Palmer, designed her winter estate and gardens at Historic Spanish Point.

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Visitors have the opportunity to explore the entire site, including the "Window to the Past" archaeology exhibit housed inside the prehistoric shell mound, the pioneer Guptill House, citrus packing house, Mary's Chapel and the pioneer cemetery, and four beautifully restored gardens from the winter estate of Mrs. Palmer. Nature trails connect the historic buildings and gardens set among the live oaks, mastics and gumbo-limbo trees.

Bertha Potter Palmer sarasota home and ranch

In 1980 this land was donated by the descendants of Bertha Palmer to the Gulf Heritage Association, a not-for-proft organization. This was the first property in Sarasota County to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Historic Spanish Point is open to the public and the 90 minute tours run daily. For more information, contact Historic Spanish Point, Gulf Coast Heritage Association, Inc., 337 North Tamiami Trail, POB 846, Osprey, FL 34229; (941) 966-5214.

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