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Manatee

MANATEE MINERAL SPRING
Location:14th Street East between 2nd Ave E and 4th Ave E.
County: Manatee
City: Bradenton
Description: Here flowed a spring which had been used by Indians and was found by Manatee's first white settler, Josiah Gates, who settled nearby in January 1842. It served Branch Fort, when the early settlers camped nearby for protection from the Seminole raid of 1856. During this encampment, the first child born (March 4, 1856) was Furman Chairs Whitaker, who became Manatee County's first native born doctor, practicing here from 1896, until shortly before his death in 1945. In the early 1900's the spring became the center of a small park which included a picnic pavilion.
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials in Cooperation with Manatee County Historical Society
MAJOR ADAMS CEMETERY
Location:Corner of 3rd St. W. and 9th Ave W.
County: Manatee
City: Bradenton
Description: This plot was donated by Major Alden Joseph Adams to the village of Manatee in 1892 "to be used as a burying ground forever." It was first called New Cemetery. Members of pioneer families, including Major Adams, are interred here. The property is now owned by the City of Bradenton. Major Adams moved into this area in 1876, and his homesite was on the Manatee River a few blocks northeast of here.
Sponsors: Erected by the Judah P. Benjamin Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy and Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials
MANATEE BURYING GROUND
Location:15th St. East and 6th Ave E.
County: Manatee
City: Bradenton
Description: This is one of the oldest organized burying grounds on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The property was deeded on May 30, 1850, and since 1892 only immediate members of families already interred here can be buried in the cemetery. The property is now owned by the City of Bradenton. Buried in this cemetery are members of Florida pioneer families, soldiers of the Seminole Indian Wars, and of the Confederate and Union forces. Numbered among them are three members of the Florida Secession Convention-Ezekiel Glazier, James G. Cooper, and Dr. John C. Pelot, temporary Chairman of the Convention-and Brig. Gen. John Riggin, aide to General Ulysses S. Grant.
Sponsors: Erected by the Judah P. Benjamin Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy and Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials
FIRST MANATEE COUNTY COURTHOUSE / MANATEE METHODIST CHURCH-ESTABLISHED 1849
Location:1404 Manatee Ave. E. in Manatee Historical Park
County: Manatee
City: Bradenton
Description: Side 1: Manatee County was created by legislative action signed January 9, 1855, from Hillsborough, St. Lucie, and Monroe Counties. Five years later, in 1860, Josiah Gates and Mary, his wife, deeded to Manatee County a parcel of land located here to be the county seat and a courthouse built thereon. The building was completed the same year at a cost of $700 and served as a courthouse and school until 1866 when the county seat was moved to Pine Level. Side 2: Oldest church of any denomination south of Tampa on Florida's west coast. Lot located here was sold to John W. Curry, Ezekiel Clazier and James G. Cooper in 1866 for the Manatee Methodist Church. It is believed that the church ownership of this represents the longest private ownership of land in Manatee County.
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials in Cooperation with Manatee County Historical Society
PALMETTO
Location:Riverside Drive West
County: Manatee
City: Palmetto
Description: Side 1: S.S. Lamb came here with his family from Mississippi in a covered wagon and barouche and purchased this property on February 3, 1868. Lamb laid out and named Palmetto. The Lamb home, which stood about 100 yards west of here, was built by Juliann (Madam Joe) Atzeroth, who acquired the property in 1850. A log cabin under the six oaks about sixty yards southwest of the house was used as a store by Madam Joe. It later became Palmetto's first public school, and the first religious services were held there. The first post office, established September 15, 1873 stood at 319 Ninth Avenue. Side 2: The first shipping dock was built at the foot of Ninth Avenue by Joel Hendrix several years after he came here in 1871. The narrow-gauge Palmetto Terminal Railroad was built in 1895 to haul produce from farms northwest of town to the dock. When the locomotive broke down, a flat car with canopy was pulled on the track by four horses. The town's first three stores stood just east of Ninth Avenue on Riverside Drive. The city was incorporated in June 1893. P.S. Harllee was the first mayor. Manatee County State Bank, the county's first, was established in 1899 at the northeast corner of this block in Palmetto's first brick building.
Sponsors: Manatee County Historical Society and Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials
PALMETTO BAPTIST CHURCH / DR. M.B. HARRISON
Location:11th Ave. W. between 5th and 4th St. W.
County: Manatee
City: Palmetto
Description: Side 1: The Palmetto Baptist Church was organized on January 5, 1892, and a few months later its first building was erected on this site. The Reverend R.H. Whitehead, under whose leadership the church was constituted, became its first pastor. Dr. M.B. Harrison and W.H. Harrison were elected deacons. They also were named trustees, together with John W. Mitchell, M.C.Davis, and W.M. Rowlett. There were 22 charter members, 18 of who transferred from the Benevolence Baptist Church, then located on Frog Creek several miles north of Ellenton. The original frame structure was replaced by the present brick building in 1926. Side 2: Micajah Berry Harrison (1844-1912) was a native of Greenville County, South Carolina. He served 4 years in Hampton's Cavalry, CSA, and took part in 29 battles. He was a graduate of the South Carolina Medical College. Dr. Harrison moved to Alachua County, Florida, in 1875, to Oak Hill (Parrish) in 1880, and to Palmetto in 1889. He bought the house across the street in 1890, and resided there until his death. He was the first doctor on the north side of the river, the first Worshipful Master of the Palmetto Masonic Lodge, and President of the first Palmetto City Council.
Sponsors: First Baptist Church of Palmetto in Cooperation with Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials
ATZEROTH HOME SITE
Location:728 Bay Shore Drive
County: Manatee
City: Terra Ceia Island
Description: Side 1: This is the home site of Joe and Madam Joe Atzeroth, first permanent settlers of Terra Ceia Island. With their daughter Eliza, a physician friend, and dog Bonaparte, they arrive via Tampa April 12, 1843. Living first in a tent, then a palmetto thatched hut, they finally built a two-room log cabin. They grew tobacco and vegetables and sold them to the garrison at Ft. Brooke (Tampa). In 1880 Madam Joe received a $10 award for growing the first pound of coffee in this country. Side 2: Terra Ceia Island was a dense jungle when the Atzeroths arrived to homestead 160 acres. Panthers and other wild animals abounded. Their log house was built of split cedar planks and moss and clay filled the cracks. The doors and glazed windows were imported from New Orleans. The family survived the many harsh rigors of frontier life. Mr. Joe participated in the 3rd Seminole War and Civil War. After his death in 1871, Madam Joe moved to Fogartyville.
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials
GAMBLE MANSION AND PLANTATION
Location:U.S. 301 on grounds of the Gamble Plantation State
County: Manatee
City: Ellenton
Description: Side 1: At the close of the Seminole War in 1842, this frontier was opened to settlement. Major Robert Gamble and other sugar planters soon located along the rich Manatee River valley, and by 1845 a dozen plantations were producing for the New Orleans market. The Gamble Mansion, built principally of native materials, 1845-1850, is an outstanding example of antebellum construction and stands today as a monument to pioneer ingenuity and craftsmanship. The plantation included 3500 acres, numerous outbuildings, slave quarters, and wharf from which sugar and molasses were shipped by schooner and steamboat. Side 2: The Gamble sugar mill, one of the South's largest, was destroyed by Union raiders in 1864. Ruins are located 1/2 mile north on State Road 683. During the Civil War the mansion was the home of Captain Archibald McNeill, famous Confederate blockade runner. Judah P. Benjamin, Confederate Secretary of State, took refuge here during May 1865 while making his escape from Federal troops following defeat of the Confederacy. The mansion was rescued from decay in 1923 by the Judah P. Benjamin Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials in Cooperation with the Judah P. Benjamin Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy
"BEAN'S POINT" / EARLY LEGEND
Location:310 North Bay Boulevard in Bayfront Park.
County: Manatee
City: Anna Maria Island
Description: Side 1: In May 1894, Anna Maria Island's first modern-day pioneer-George Emerson Bean-took up a homestead, signed by President Wm. McKinley, that embraced the island's entire north point. Other daring settlers, such as Samuel C. Cobb and John R. Jones, came shortly after, clearing the island's dense jungle to build homes. In 1913, George W. Bean, son of Anna Maria's first pioneer, founded the Anna Maria Development Company. This opened the island to its expansion as a uniquely appealing summer and winter resort for visitors as well as year round home for an increasing number of residents form almost every state of the union. Side 2: Earliest known dwellers of Anna Maria Island were Indians of the Timucuan Tribe, whose burial mounds, filled with tribal artifacts, were found years later. According to tradition, Ponce de Leon in 1513 visited this key (then joined to what is now Longboat Key) and in honor of his sponsor King Charles II, gave the island his queen's name. In 1539, Hernando DeSoto is said to have made his first new world landing near here. Replenishing his ships' water casks, the explorer then passed around Anna Maria's north point and sailed to the Manatee River, launching his historic expedition to the Mississippi River.
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials in Cooperation with Manatee County Historical Society
BRADEN CASTLE RUINS
Location:Braden Castle Drive and Plaza St. E.
County: Manatee
City: Bradenton
Description: Dr. Joseph Addison Braden, physician and native Virginian, came from Tallahassee to the Manatee River in the early 1840's. By 1850 he had acquired approximately 900 acres of land and built a steam operated sugar and grist mill. In that year using slave labor and local materials he constructed his "Castle" - a large two story structure. The walls were poured "tabby" composed of lime, sand, crushed shells, and water. In February 1856 the "Castle" was attacked unsuccessfully by Seminoles. Later abandoned it was destroyed by a woods fire in 1903. The ruins were purchased by the Camping Tourist of America in 1924.
Sponsors: The Manatee County Historical Society in Cooperation with Department of State
GAMBLE SUGAR CANE MILL
Location:S.R. 683 (Ellenton Gillette Road)
County: Manatee
City: Ellenton
Description: In 1842, as the Second Seminole War drew to a conclusion, Major Robert Gamble, Jr. established a sugar cane plantation along the banks of the Manatee River, as did others including Hector and Joseph Braden, William Craig and William Wyatt. By 1850 Major Gamble's plantation included over 3,000 acres of land, one hundred slaves, and a sugar mill that housed the best sugar processing machinery then available in the south. During the 1840's and early 1850's, Gamble was the leading producer of sugar and molasses in Florida. Falling prices and steadily mounting debts finally forced Major Gamble to sell the plantation to two Louisiana planters in 1858. With the outbreak of the Civil War, these men terminated their operation, and after selling most of the slaves and machinery, they abandoned the plantation. In 1873, the Mansion and approximately 3,000 acres of land were purchased at public auction by George Patten but the sugar mill was not restored to operation at this or any subsequent time.
Sponsors: Sponsored by The Manatee County Historical Society In Cooperation With The Department of State
PASSAGE KEY - GATEWAY TO HISTORIC TAMPA BAY
Location:North Bay Blvd in Bay Front Park.
County: Manatee
City: Anna Maria Island
Description: Less than a mile to the north lies Passage Key, marking the southerly entrance into Tampa Bay. Since Ponce de Leon explored this coast in 1513, this island has served to guide ships into the great bay beyond, called by early Spanish explorers "Bahia del Espiritu Santo." After being named "Isla de San Francisco y Leon" by the Spanish in 1757, and renamed "Burnaby Island" by the English in 1765, it was later called "Pollux Key," corresponding with the name "Castor Key" given to nearby Egmont Key. The island finally became known as "Cayo del Paseje" in 1783, during the second Spanish occupation. This is the origin of today's name - Passage Key. Formerly much larger than it is today, the island contained a fresh water lake surrounded by large trees. During the early 1830's Passage Key was the site of a fishing "rancho" operated by Baltimore sea captain, William Bunce. The island was later a haven for refugees seeking safety from marauding Indian war parties. The fresh water lake, probably spring fed, was a watering station for coastal voyagers. In 1836, the U.S. Schooner Grampus and Revenue Cutters Washington and Jefferson anchored close ashore while their guns and shore parties protected settlers from the Indians. Passage Key was designated a migratory bird refuge by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905. The island thereafter served for a time as the home of Captain Asa N. Pillsbury, Jr., a National Audubon Society warden, who in 1910 reported 102 species of birds sighted on the island. Captain Pillsbury remained warden of the island until 1921 when, during the night of October 25-26, the island disappeared under a hurricane-spawned tidal wave. Since then the island has gradually re-emerged and is once again a sea bird sanctuary, having been declared a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System by the U.S. Department of Interior.
Sponsors: sponsored by florida maritime historical socciety, inc. dewey a. dye, jr. in cooperation with department of state
FIRST SETTLER'S HOMESITE
Location:105 15th St. E., on grounds of Meadowbrook Manor,
County: Manatee
City: Bradenton
Description: Side 1: Located a few yards from this spot near the banks of the Manatee River is the site of the log home of Josiah Gates. Gates was the first Anglo-American settler in the entire Manatee area which at that time extended southward to the Caloosahatchee River and eastward to the Kissimmee River. After the Second Seminole War, the Armed Occupation Act of August 4, 1842, opened Central Florida to American settlers. Gates, a native of South Carolina, moved his family here from Fort Brook (Tampa) early in 1843. Side 2: In 1851, Josiah Gates replaced his first dwelling with a twenty room, three story frame home located a few yards further back from the river on this same site. The "Gates House" served newly arrived settlers and visitors as a hotel in the wilderness. Josiah Gates became a prosperous farmer as well as a successful innkeeper. He was also active in local government after Manatee County was created in 1855. He died in 1871. Neither of the two structures built by Josiah Gates is still standing.
Sponsors: sponsored by Manatee County Historical Society In cooperation with department of state
GILLETTE COMMUNITY
Location:3301 Moccasin Wallow Road
County: Manatee
City: Gillette
Description: This area, known originally as Frog Creek, received its first American settlers before the Civil War. Many of them came from Alabama, northern Florida, and Georgia. Among the Georgians was Daniel Gillett, who brought his family to Frog Creek in the late 1840s. Like many other area pioneers, Gillett raised cattle and citrus. He and his descendants were so closely identified with the Frog Creek settlement that it became known as Gillette, and a post office bearing that name existed here from 1895 to 1910. Benevolence, a Baptist church, formed the stable institutional backbone of the community. Formally organized in 1868, Benevolence loaned its facilities to other religious and secular groups in the area, emphasizing frontier cooperation rather than competition, and provided inspiration and leadership to nearby Baptist and other congregations. Gillette First Baptist Church is the present - day successor to Benevolence. Gillette has been known through the years as an agricultural community, producing winter vegetables, cattle, and citrus.
Sponsors: sponsored by gillette go getters 4-h club in cooperation with department of state
PALMA SOLA
Location:Riverview Boulevard at boat ramp east of the end of 59th St.
County: Manatee
City: Palma Sola
Description: In 1868, firearms manufacturer James Warner moved his family from Springfield, Massachusetts, to Manatee County, where he hoped to regain his health. He built a home on the shore of the Manatee River about half a mile east of this marker. The Warners were among the earliest northern families to settle in this area after the Civil War: Warner's Bayou bears their name. James Warner died about a year after his arrival, leaving his wife, Eleanor, and several children. In 1884, a son, Warburton S. Warner, founded a town, Palma Sola, on a portion of the family homestead. He promoted it as "the youngest and largest town in Floridaàmade up largely of New England people, where no liquor is sold." The name "Palma Sola" commemorated a single tall date palm that dominated the skyline on Snead Island, directly across the river from McNeil Point. The central section of town, which consisted of a huge sawmill and the homes of the men who operated it, was located on the point. The town also boasted the two-story Palma Sola Hotel, a general store said to be the largest between Cedar Keys and Key West, a long wharf, and an ice house large enough to hold a schooner-load of New England pond ice. Large quantities of pine and cypress lumber were shipped to New England, and the Palma Sola area also achieved some note as a shipping point for produce and livestock. Warburton Warner's hopes for Palma Sola were never completely fulfilled. He sought to sell land in an area extending from the Manatee River southward to Sarasota Bay, and from the range line starting at Shaw's Point, eastward to today's 34th Street, at prices ranging from five to twenty dollars per acre. Palma Sola grew and prospered for a time but began a gradual decline after the sawmill was destroyed by fire. Palma Sola's former central section is now a residential area. Warburton Warner's home, "Sans Terre," still stands on the shore of the Manatee River a short distance to the east, a reminder of Manatee County's pioneer days.
Sponsors: sponsored by manatee county historical society in cooperation with department of state
BRADENTON DEPOT
Location:426 Manatee Ave. West
County: Manatee
City: Bradenton
Description: The Atlantic Coastline Railroad Company Passenger and Freight Depot Bradentown Florida, built c. 1925, became the Bradenton Depot when Bradentown dropped the w from its name. The historical significance on local and state levels was tremendous as its completion created a terminus of rail, road and water travel in Southwest Florida, connecting freight shipments from the piers on the Manatee River and shipping of agricultural products north, along with bringing passengers and tourists south during the expansion boom. The depot served the area from the time of the economic boom, through the depression, up to and including the great Florida growth period. Its era of significance was from 1925 to 1952. The 9,000-square-foot Mission/Spanish Colonial Style Revival building was constructed at a cost of approximately $80,000 and still stands on its original location. The building fell into disrepair in the 1990s, with the roof falling in and facing condemnation. It was purchased by Daniel B. Pope, M.D., of Bradenton. With a great love of railroad tradition, he brought the depot back to its original glory with red tiled roof, and white stucco trimmed in red brick.
Sponsors: THE BRADENTON DEPOT INVESTMENT COMPANY AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
THE ANNA MARIA CITY PIER
Location:S. Bay Blvd. at City Pier
County: Manatee
City: Anna Maria
Description: Built in 1911, the Anna Maria City Pier welcomed visitors and residents to the island city arriving by steamship. The 776-foot-long pier accommodated paddle wheelers such as the Favorite and the Mistletoe prior to the construction of the first bridge from the mainland in 1922. The pier was commissioned by the Anna Maria Beach Company and was the brainchild of “Will” Bean, whose father homesteaded a large tract of land in 1893, and Charles Roser. Roser is credited by some with having developed the recipe (or baking process) for the famous Fig Newton cookie which he sold c. 1898 to the National Biscuit Company, now Nabisco. Bean and Roser built Anna Maria’s first church and bathhouse in 1913 on the Gulf of Mexico, along with cottages for their families and others. In a building barged down from Parrish, the city’s early promoters handed out flashy brochures of a young lady wearing a short dress, high heels, pearls, and holding a fishing pole reading “Anna Maria Beach, Florida’s Famous Year-round Resort.” Some of the island city’s first buildings survive today on Pine Avenue, a heritage area made possible by the construction of the Anna Maria City Pier over 100 years ago.
Sponsors: The Anna Maria Island Preservation Trust, Inc. and the Florida Department of State
9TH AVENUE BRIDGE WEST
Location:9th Avenue at Wares Creek
County: Manatee
City: Bradenton
Description: At this location over Wares Creek once stood one of the oldest concrete arch deck bridges in the State of Florida. Designed by noted local civil engineer Freeman H. Horton, the former 9th Avenue West bridge was constructed during World War II by the Bradenton Public Works Department using federal funds. The bridge was a relatively late example of a concrete arch deck bridge, a structurally more complex design than girder or slab construction. The 36.4-foot long bridge linked the Ballard Park neighborhood abutting Wares Creek, and served a vital role in providing safe, convenient east-west travel within the city. In addition to being well-known for his bridge design, Horton also holds the distinction of being the first Manatee High School alumnus to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his design for the 9th Avenue West Bridge, Horton used an unusual zigzag handrail that is found on only one other Florida bridge, the 7th Avenue West Bridge over Wares Creek, which he also designed. When the 9th Avenue West Bridge was replaced in 2012, its distinctive original handrail was preserved and incorporated into the design of the new bridge.
Sponsors: The City of Bradenton and the Florida Department of State