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Tour the Postcards from the Friendly City
Baseball has been a Bradenton tradition since 1923 at the site now called LECOM Park. Many major and minor league teams have called Bradenton home. Since 1969 the Pittsburgh Pirates have used LECOM Park for spring training.
Tourism began when the first settlers told the country about the wonders of the Manatee River. In 1924, the City of Bradenton coined the phrase 'The Friendly City' which still characterizes Bradenton and Manatee County today!
Farming was a way of life for early settlers in Manatee. The Manatee River was the only connection local growers had to markets across the country. Later the Railroad Bridge, still in use today, expanded the connections nationwide.
Before reaching the Manatee River, water filters over and through the land of a 360 square mile watershed. This system has supported the animal and plant life in Florida for millions of years and we still rely on it today.
People have lived along the Manatee River for over 2,000 years. Spanish explorers met the descendants of the earliest inhabitants called Tocobaga, in the 1500's. The South Florida Museum features their pottery, tools, and artifacts.
Manatee County was once one of the largest cattle producing areas in the US. In the late 1800's and early 1900's local ranchers shipped live cattle to Cuban markets from docks on the Manatee River.
Imagine a world where roads were rivers. Docks along the river were the commercial ports of their day and everything moved in and out on boats, from small fishing boats to steamships. Boats have been critical to the county's growth.
Life on the river meant hard work in the Florida climate. Some African-Americans came to Manatee County as slaves. and following the emancipation, many of those who remained lived on homesteads along the river.
In the 1800s, Cuban fishermen made their homes along the river's shore. Fishing kept early residents alive, sustained people during the Great Depression and provides food and recreation today.
Before automobiles and the Interstate System, the Manatee River was the main transportation route for people and products. When first opened for settlement, the area was called 'Manatee Lands.'
From the original 1947 nomadic troupe of traveling community artists, The Manatee Players, Inc., and its venue, Manatee Performing Arts Center, are dedicated to inspiring artists, patrons, and performers through the arts.
Turn north towards the Manatee River and take a few steps toward today’s 4th Avenue. As you look down today’s Old Main Street, imagine the same street from that same spot at the turn of the 20th century. Sponsors: Mike & Jaymie Carter.
Astronomy, aquarium, artifacts and more come together at the South Florida Museum in mind blowing proportions—where space encounters sea, past meets future, and everything in between. Sponsor: Blalock Walters.
The Historic Manatee County Courthouse has always been more than a municipal center; it continues as a community gathering place and site of key events in Manatee County history. Sponsor: Grimes Goebel Grimes Hawkins Gladfelter & Galvano.
Historic buildings and public art along Old Main
Donated by Beall's Inc., and placed at the location of their first retail store 100 years ago, the mural honors the company's roots and commitment to the local community. Beall's employs 2,500 people in the region.
This building dates back to 1897. It is comprised of 3 structures that were joined in 1914. The west end was once the servant’s quarters for the St. James Hotel located on the 2nd floor. Now McCabes, Classic Ink Tattoo and Lou's Diner.
The Tri-City Trust, Sunnyland Restaurant and fifteen other businesses were located in the building to the right. The Mediterranean Revival Style architecture consisting of decorative ceramic and Spanish style has a tropical feel.
This three story building features prominent detailing and massing. Leon Harvey operated a drygoods store here until 1920 when Crews Department Store expanded into this space. The second and third floors were the Cecil Hotel.
This masonry building once housed Paul Duckwall's grocery store and Hawkins' Photography Studio. Much of the detailing was removed in the 1920's.
This building was opened by a real estate firm but later became Crews Department Store and the W.S. Babcock Corporation Furniture Store. The houndstooth course along the parapet is original and contributes to the building's authenticity.
This arcade was built by F.M. and C.W. Jennings and was the forerunner of modern day shopping malls. The upper level contained offices and stores including Foster's Tonsorial Parlor. Skylights and open air grills let in light and air.
This building was purchased by Mrs. S.A. Reasoner in 1911 and joined it and the building immediately to the south to form the Juplinor Hotel on the second level.
This building was originally constructed as two buildings, and then joined by a major alteration of the main facade. The original parapet and some floral designs are reminiscent of the original facade.
This building was built by Mrs. S.A. Reasoner as a second floor hotel and named for her children, Julia, Pliny and Norman.
This building was originally used as a commercial printing shop. A chamfer entrance is still adjacent to the alley which was once a narrow street. The southern elevation features the original circular headed windows. Now home to B'Towne.
Constructed of native stone from a quarry in Ellenton, FL, the building housed two drug stores, attorneys' offices and a meeting room. The decorative parapet and tile insets were added in the 1920's.
Although the store fronts are altered, this blond brick building retains the essential design of its original construction. The lower portion housed Lloyd's Drug Store and Wing Brother's Realty.
This was the first building in Bradenton to be made of reinforced concrete. Originally built with a dome, in 1926 the dome was removed and the courthouse was lengthened to add more offices. A second addition was made in 1966.
The Iron Block Building was originally located on the southwest corner of Main Street and Manatee Avenue, but was moved here to make room for a bank building. It has one of the best pressed metal facades in Florida.
In 1913, Whitney Curry built the first automobile garage in the city. He was the first person to operate an automobile in the area. His one cylinder Cadillac was the envy of every young man in town.
The Washington Square Building was constructed in 1925 and took its name from its location on Washington Avenue (now 6th Avenue). The rectangular one story structure had 7 storefronts still visible in the openings along the front facade.
The inspiration behind the mural is to embrace the future while remembering the past. The swirling vines resemble the community and the blooming flowers symbolize growth. The vibrant colors reflect the inescapable beauty of Bradenton.
The mural is Brasil’s tribute to the Village of the Arts Honorary Mayor Herbie Rose (1930 - 2017).
This art was designed to create visual connectivity between downtown Bradenton and the Village of the Arts. The abstract spheres are applied directly to the asphalt using commercial grade thermoplastic.
New art in the Village of the Arts