A plant nursery on Heathcote Street in Scarsdale, New York, was the earliest seed of what has grown and blossomed into Heathcote Botanical Gardens. Like many New Yorkers, the business was transplanted to Florida. In 1960 owners Jim and Mollie Crimmins moved the business from its original Florida location on west Orange Avenue to its current Fort Pierce site on Savannah Road.
Then in 1972 the Crimmins moved their family home from Delaware Avenue to the nursery site. Now known as Heathcote House, the Crimmins’ home was built around 1922. Today the Frame Vernacular Style structure sits graciously amid old live oaks. Its second floor balcony, Dade County pine floors, and quaint fireplace all add to its charm. It presently houses administrative offices. In 2001 the City Commission passed a resolution to designate it as a Historically Significant Site based on its architectural characteristics and ties to the life of the community.
When the Crimmins retired, they put the property up for sale. A group of concerned citizens led by Gloria Moore, Chris Haynes, Jan Bals, Norma Carsens, Laura Baker, Gloria Rooks and Peggy Berg saw the unique beauty of the spot and worked hard to preserve it as a public botanical garden. Heathcote Botanical Gardens, Inc., was incorporated in 1985 as a non-profit; and in 1986 the property was purchased with private donations raised by Heathcote Botanical Gardens, Inc., and grants from the state, county, and city. Today the non-profit continues to maintain and operate the Gardens and carry forward its mission.