Famed Immokolee is up for sale
Palmer home on register of historic spots
By Tyler Treadway
FORT PIERCE TRIBUNE
Posted July 6 2006
FORT PIERCE · Immokolee, the historic home west of Fort Pierce built by Dorothy Binney
Palmer in 1930, is for sale.
Palmer, the daughter of Crayola crayon inventor Edwin Binney, built Immokolee after she
divorced publishing heir George Putnam and married Frank Upton, a Congressional Medal
of Honor winner.
She would later marry two more times -- the poet and artist Don Blanding, who composed
most of the poems in his anthology Floridays while living at Immokolee -- and Lewis
Palmer was the first woman to climb America's highest mountain and the only woman to
swim to the surface from a submerged submarine. She also was active in St. Lucie County
social life and was a founder of the local garden club and Audubon Society chapter, often
holding the groups' meetings at Immokolee.
During World War II, Palmer opened Immokolee to sailors training in Fort Pierce for the
nascent Underwater Demolition Teams, the forerunners of Navy SEALs, and their families.
A world traveler, Palmer brought plant specimens home from her trips and placed them on
the Immokolee grounds. She furnished the home with artifacts she collected.
According to the St. Lucie County Almanac, the items included a gong from the Temple of
Heaven in Beijing and an African chieftain's chair.
When Palmer died in 1982 at age 93, a story in the Fort Pierce Tribune referred to her as
"one of Fort Pierce's most prominent benefactresses."
Immokolee was added to the National Register of Historic Places in July 1994.
The Mediterranean Revival-style house has five bedrooms and 6½ bathrooms. On the
grounds are a three-bedroom, two-bathroom guesthouse, swimming pool, exercise room
and a six-car garage.
The house sits inside an oak hammock on Immokolee Road, west of Kings Highway, and is
backed by 30 acres of citrus groves.
"In a way, I hate selling it," said Sally Putnam Chapman, Palmer's granddaughter, who's
lived in the house with her husband, Jack Chapman, for the last 15 years. "It's horrible
because I practically grew up in that house.
"But Jack and I decided that, at this point in our lives, it's time to scale down," Sally
Chapman said. "We want to do it while we're still in good health and under no pressure to
Chapman said she and her husband had assumed they'd leave the home to one of their
three sons, "but they all live too far away."