Bonnet House Museum & Gardens in Fort Lauderdale

Bonnet House Fort Lauderdale famous museums in America

 Bonnet House Museum & Gardens in Fort Lauderdale

We like people who create something special and are interested in their way of life. We struck gold in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. However, the people referred to in this article are no longer alive. They left a house full of memories. However, it makes me feel as if the residents are stepping out the door every second. It is the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens in Fort Lauderdale.

The Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens in Fort Lauderdale, Florida



We were attracted by the gardens, which are announced together with the museum. At first we were disappointed, because apart from a garden with a few palm trees and other trees that are native to Florida, we didn't see anything at first. Only a wall behind which the house is hidden made us curious. However, don't let this impression fool you. Because behind this wall amazing things are waiting.


In the courtyard of the Bonnet House
In the courtyard of the Bonnet House


A guided tour of the Bonnet House

The inner courtyard and the rooms of the house can only be entered with a guided tour. This takes you into a world of artists and bon vivants. Bonnet House was built by one of the first settlers in the Fort Lauderdale area, Hugh Taylor Birch. He spent the winter months in this house, often with his daughter Helen. At that time the house was still in the middle of thick bushes that stretched to the sea. Today, the gardens at Bonnet House are the only green space in Fort Lauderdale that has been preserved in its original form.


You need that for a visit to the Bonnet House

  • Comfortable Sandalsso that you can enjoy the gardens and the house in peace.
  • A sun hat does a good job, as the Florida sun burns down from the sky in these gardens too.
  • We like to take one backpack with, in which we take our knick-knacks and a jacket with us when we go sightseeing.
  • What else you need for a vacation, you can do in our packing list for the vacation .
  • In Florida you always have the opportunity to swim in the ocean. This is where ours helps packing list for the beach vacationso that you don't forget anything.


Frederic Clay Bartlett painted ceilings and floors
Frederic Clay Bartlett painted ceilings and floors


The story of the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

The real story of Bonnet House began with Helen's marriage to Chicago artist and painter Frederic Clay Bartlett in 1919. Helen was Bartlett's second wife. His first had died a few years earlier. Hugh Taylor Birch gave the two of them the house on the Florida coast for their wedding. Bartlett had already made a name for himself as a painter of high society and with his pictures portrayed their representatives and their way of life. At the same time, Bartlett was a person who designed his house to suit his own taste. He was supported by Helen, whose early death after suffering from breast cancer kept him away from Bonnet House for several years. It was not until he remarried six years later - Evelyn Fortune Lilly - his third wife, that he returned to Fort Lauderdale with her.


Exotic souvenirs from all over the world
Exotic souvenirs from all over the world


Art and clutter at Bonnet House

Bartlett's third wife was also from a wealthy family. The relationship cemented his contacts in the community of the rich and beautiful of America. She brought him orders all over the world. Frederic and Evelyn traveled a lot in the years of their marriage and brought art - and clutter - with them from everywhere. The only decisive factor when choosing her souvenirs was that it fit into her idea of ​​a “plantation house”. This is what they called the style they used to design their home.


"Business card butler" at the bonnet house museum and gardens fort lauderdale
A “business card butler” from the Plaza Hotel in New York


Handicrafts from all over the world

Among the souvenirs were wood carvings from South Africa as well as two “butlers” from the Plaza Hotel in New York. These are two statues that hold a plate towards the guests. You could leave your business cards on this. No souvenir was too big or too small for them. If Evelyn liked a porcelain service because it was decorated with seashells - a motif that comes up again and again in the Bonnet House - then she simply had it shipped home. On another trip, Bartlett promised columns with capitals, which he found attractive. He had them cut in half and they now line the entrance to the Bonnet House drawing room. In addition, gifts from admirers from all over the world came in the course of time.


Orchids in the bonnet house museum and gardens fort lauderdale
The orchids of Bonnet House come from Evelyn Bartlett's breed


The orchids at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

From this hodgepodge of individual pieces, ceilings and room floors and an inner courtyard in which Evelyn grew the orchids, a mixture of vegetation, art and clutter emerged that is second to none. The decisive factor in furnishing the Bartlett's house was that the decorative objects match their idea of ​​a “plantation house”. Architectural purists are likely to clap their hands over their heads at the sight of what has come of it. However, it is undeniable that you can feel comfortable in this house and its inner courtyard.



Tips for Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding area


Do you like to travel by motorhome?

  • Do you want to rent a motorhome? Then you will find information and a selection in these  booking options.
  • Check our packing list for campers to see whether you have packed everything for your motorhome tour.
  • There are many campsites in and around Fort Lauderdale. For example, one is Easterlin Park, 1000 NW 38th St, Oakland Park, FL 33309, United States


Travel Arrangements

Excursions and tours

Excursions and Tours in and around Fort Lauderdale * get your guide

Travel guide for Florida

Florida Travel Guide *

Hotels in Fort Lauderdale

Accommodation in Fort Lauderdale * you can book here. We have stayed in these hotels. Or choose a hotel on the map:


Bonnet House Fort Lauderdale
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Source: On-site research supported by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photo: © Copyright by Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Video: © Copyright by Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

Bonnet House Museum & Gardens in Fort Lauderdale
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