Judge John G. Webb of Utica, New York was the first man to settle in the area he later named Osprey, after the large bird that nests in the loftiest branches of the town’s indigenous pines, live oaks and gumbo limbo trees. The Osprey Post Office was established in 1884 with Webb as its first postmaster.
Today’s Osprey, located on Little Sarasota Bay, is a thriving community with abundant residential opportunities. Osprey is noteworthy for being the site selected in 1910 by Bertha Honore Palmer, widow of Chicago magnate Potter Palmer and an early Sarasota visionary, for her winter estate and gardens.
At Spanish Point, site of the estate, she designed elaborate gardens while preserving early pioneer dwellings and the remains of the area’s prehistoric past. Historic Spanish Point remained in the Palmer family until 1980, when the site was donated to Gulf Coast Heritage Association.
Osprey is also home to Oscar Scherer State Park, 1,384 acres of pine and scrub flatwoods located on the banks of a small tidal creek. The park offers canoeing, a swimming lake, campgrounds, nature trails, bicycle paths and picnic areas.