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Sarasota Florida Historic Spanish Point

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Historic Spanish Point - Osprey, Florida

Located on the shores of Little Sarasota Bay in Osprey, Florida, Historic Spanish Point is an archaeological, historical and environmental site museum. The year 2007 marked the 25th anniversary of the museum being open to the public, but the history of the site goes back 5,000 years to Florida’s first people. The shell middens built by them cover much of the 30-acre site. Florida’s pioneer past is also evident at Historic Spanish Point through the legacy of the Webb family from New York, who travelled to Florida in 1867. Settling on the bay at the high point of land recommended to them by a Spanish trader they met in Key West, they named the homestead Spanish Point in honor of that trader. Turn of the century Sarasota was a place of growth and Spanish Point became a part of the winter estate of Chicago socialite Mrs. Potter Palmer. She added her own touches to the landscape in the form of gardens and garden architecture.

As this region’s premier historic site museum, Historic Spanish Point actively preserves and interprets its valuable archaeological record. Prehistoric people occupied the site as early as 3,000 BC and lived along the shoreline for nearly 4,000 years. They hunted, fished, built villages, and made pottery as part of their daily lives. Evidence of this can be found in the prehistoric middens that comprise much of the landscape of Historic Spanish Point. Their refuse of shellfish, fish and animal bones, pottery sherds, firepit ash and other daily discarded materials built up over time and formed the large shell middens which are still present today. For several generations, they buried their dead in a burial mound and at one point ceremonially interred an alligator. Other grave goods like sharks teeth, sawfish vertebrae made into a necklace, chert and shell tools, and decorated pottery were also placed in the burial mound. These middens and burial mound constitute one of the largest intact prehistoric sites along Florida’s west coast.

Enjoy shady nature trails through native plant communities and stunning views of Little Sarasota Bay from large boardwalks and scenic overlooks.

Directions: From I-75 coming south from Tampa area: Exit 205 (SR 72) west 2.9 miles then turn left at BENEVA Rd head south 2.4 miles then turn left on US41 go south 2 miles to right turn at Visitors Center.

Directions: From I-75 coming north from Charlotte area: Exit 195 (Laurel/Nokomis) west 3 miles then turn right(north) onto US 41/Tamiami Trail go 3 miles then turn left at Visitors Center.

Historic Spanish Point is operated by Gulf Coast Heritage Association, Inc. a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.

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