Earlier this year I had the good fortune of taking a trip to The Bonnet House. A South Florida landmark on the coast of Ft. Lauderdale, the Bonnet House is full of interesting history. The land was given by Hugh Taylor Birch to his daughter Helen as a wedding gift when she married Frederic Clay Bartlett, an American Artist from Chicago.
The two began construction on the house in 1920 and wintering there. Unfortunately Helen died of breast cancer in 1925. Six years later Frederic married Evelyn Fortune Lilly and the two continued expanding the estate in the 1930s and 40s and escaping the cold of the north during the winters.
Thanks to Evelyn's generosity, the property was gifted to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation in 1983. Bordered on all sides by a highly developed commercial area, the Bonnet House offers a glimpse back in time at Old Florida and what once was the wilderness of a coastal barrier island.
The tour is very informative and full of interesting tidbits like the perils of getting people and construction materials to the property before roads existed, and monkeys (!), which still can be found on the property today. On the tour you also get to see Frederic's studio and some of his works.
The grounds offer a beautiful tour of a mangrove swamp, Hammock, Desert garden, Lilly pond (where the Bonnet Lily grows), Fruit Grove, Chickee Bridge, Island Theater and Orchid House.
There are art, orchid and birding classes offered as well as lecture series, art exhibitions and an Orchid Festival in December. I will be sure to be there! You can also find a Paddle board Eco Tour through the property offered by Sunrise Paddle Boards.
Click here for more info on the Bonnet House including information about having your wedding or event there.
Enjoy the pics below and when you have some time, check out this South Florida treasure!