Suncoast Beaches, FL - Bradenton, Longboat Key, Sarasota, Lido Key, Siesta Key & Venice - Vacation Travel Guide

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Suncoast Beaches Area Features

Historic Spanish Point

At Historic Spanish Point, you can catch a glimpse of life as it was in this area as far back as 5,000 years ago.

Visitors to this 30-acre archaeological and environmental outdoor museum will see evidence of prehistoric life, when native people fished and hunted, made tools from shell, bone and wood, mended their fishing nets, cooked their food, and buried their dead. Visit “A Window to the Past,” the only archaeological exhibit in the nation built inside a shell mound.

Connect with Florida’s intrepid pioneer homesteaders, John and Eliza Webb, who settled here with their five children in 1867. The Webbs operated Sarasota’s first produce packing house and the Webbs’ Winter Resort. They built the beautifully preserved Guptill House in 1901. Visitors will also see Mary’s Chapel, the pioneer cemetery, and the family’s boatyard, still in use today.

Explore the natural environment by stepping into a quiet oasis bordered by mangroves along Little Sarasota Bay on its western rim and pine flatlands to the east. The rich, native plant life and beautiful butterfly garden create an impression of serenity.

Stroll through the gracious Palmer era. In 1910, Chicago socialite Bertha Matilde Honore Palmer recognized the subtropical paradise of Sarasota as a choice location. The Webb homestead was part of the land she chose for her 350-acre estate, which she named Osprey Point. Here she built her home, designed elaborate gardens, and preserved the pioneer dwellings and remains of prehistoric life. Mrs. Palmer died here at age 68 in May 1918. White Cottage, originally used to house guests at the Webbs’ resort, is now home to an exhibit about Mrs. Palmer.

After Mrs. Palmer’s death, her family maintained Osprey Point and in 1959 her grandson Gordon Palmer sponsored the three-year excavation of the archaeological site that now encompasses the museum at Historic Spanish Point. Family members encouraged the nomination of Spanish Point to the National Register. In 1976 it became the first site in Sarasota County to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1980, the Palmer heirs donated the National Register site to the Gulf  Coast Heritage Association.

Historic Spanish Point is open to the general public Mon.-Sat., 9am-5pm and Sun. from 12-5pm. For prices call 941-966-5214 or visit www.historicspanishpoint.org.

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