September 5, 2017
Chicago-born artist Frederic Clay Bartlett created Bonnet House in 1920 on South Florida oceanfront land given to him and his second wife, Helen Louise Birch, by her father, Hugh Taylor Birch, a prominent Chicago attorney, real estate investor, and naturalist. Tragedy struck in 1925 when Helen died from breast cancer and in 1931 Frederic married Evelyn Fortune Lilly. She spent winters at Bonnet House until 1995. Today, the estate is a preeminent house museum dedicated not only to historic and environmental preservation, but also to learning and creative expression – much like the Bartletts and Birches themselves.