History

Bertha Honoré Palmer -- A Legacy of Greatness


At the turn of the last century an extraordinary woman discovered an unspoiled slice of paradise on the shores of Little Sarasota Bay in Osprey. The woman was Mrs. Bertha Honoré Palmer, a celebrated Chicago socialite, businesswoman and philanthropist, renowned for her substantial contributions to women's, children’s and cultural initiatives.

The land had no name. But Mrs. Palmer was enthralled by its picturesque splendor and tranquil ambiance. Over time, she purchased more than 80,000 acres, including a thousand-acre parcel on Little Sarasota Bay, and made it her winter home, bestowing on her estate the name we know it as today: The Oaks. 

In the years that followed, Mrs. Palmer created a gracious home with lavishly cultivated gardens, walkways and ponds. Sarasota quickly became a winter retreat for businesses leaders, politicians, artists, writers, and trendsetters. The world came to her door at The Oaks and she entertained it. Today, Bertha Palmer’s legacy of culture, love of nature and the finer things in life continues—at The Oaks Club.

Zoning and actual development of The Oaks Club was initiated in the early 1980’s. Two outstanding golf courses were designed and named by legendary golf course architect, Willard Byrd, and built by Ted Mc Andlis of West Palm Beach, Florida. In 1999, The Oaks Club was sold to its Equity Members. A 40,000 sq. foot clubhouse, designed by classical architect, Bo MacEwen, offers three outstanding dining venues open year-round. Rounding out the resort are twelve HAR-TRU® tennis courts, main pool, and playground.

We’re proud to participate in this tradition—and Mrs. Palmer's commissioned portrait hangs proudly in our Library.