See Rock City

See Rock City

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bradenton, FL

Bradenton is a city in Manatee County, Florida, United States. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's 2007 population at 53,471. Bradenton is the largest Principal City of the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a 2007 estimated population of 682,833. It is the county seat of Manatee County. Bradenton is pronounced BRAY-den-ton.

Wares Creek Bridge on Manatee Avenue : Bradenton, Florida 63, 1956


Originally discovered by Hernando De Soto at Shaw's Point in 1539, the city took the name of Dr. Joseph Braden, whose nearby fortlike house was a refuge for early settlers during Indian attacks. The current city of Bradenton was formed in 1943, when the Florida legislature merged the cities of Manatee (incorporated in 1888) and Bradentown (incorporated in 1903).

View of Road 55 : Manatee County, Florida 63, 1956


Bradenton Beaches

Bradenton is located on US 41 between Tampa and Sarasota. The area is surrounded by waterways, both fresh and saltwater. Along the Gulf of Mexico and into Tampa Bay are over 20 miles of Florida beaches - many which are shaded by Australian pines. Bordered on the north by the Manatee River, Bradenton is located on the mainland and is separated from the outer barrier islands of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key by the Intracoastal Waterway. Anna Maria Bayfront Park located on the north end of Anna Maria island is a park overlooking Tampa Bay. The business district and community of Bradenton Beach on the southern end of Anna Maria island is oriented toward vacationers who come to enjoy the surrounding beaches. Longboat Key, the next barrier island south, is popular with shell hunters along its beaches.

Aerial view of Manatee River Bridge completed : Bradenton, Florida 63, 1958

Downtown Bradenton is located on the west side of the city. Home to many of Bradenton's offices and government buildings, it is a lively place with new buildings currently under construction. The tallest is the Bradenton Financial Center, 12 stories high, with its trademark blue-green windows. It is currently owned by BFC Joint Ventures. Employee Leasing Solutions lease office space and the sign on top of the building. Next tallest is the brand new Manatee County Judicial Center with eight floors, located next to the historic courthouse.

Trailer enters the Bradenton Trailer Park : Bradenton, Florida, 1949

The Eastern side of Bradenton is growing at a rapid rate. Initially starting as the popular subdivision Lakewood Ranch, it is now becoming a heavily populated part of town. Most of the buildings are newer than that of West Bradenton.


Tropicana Products is one of the world's largest producers and marketers of orange juice. Founded in 1947 by Anthony T. Rossi, an Italian immigrant, it has grown to over 8,000 employees in 2004, and has markets its products throughout the United States. It has been owned by PepsiCo, Inc. since 1998. Tropicana has entered a business deal with CSX to haul their famous juice trains, a relationship in effect since 1971. In 2003, Tropicana's corporate headquarters were relocated to Chicago when PepsiCo consolidated their beverage business after the acquisition of Gatorade, but their juice production still remains in Bradenton. Champs Sports, a nationwide sports-apparel chain, is headquartered in Bradenton, as is department store chain Bealls. Bradenton has been hit considerably hard by the United States housing market correction, as reported by CNN, projecting a 24.8% loss in median home values by the third quarter of 2008.

Monument marking the De Soto Trail : Bradenton, Florida, 1965


Colleges near Bradenton include State College of Florida(formerly Manatee Community College), New College of Florida, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), Gordon University and Manatee Technical Institute. Some of the middle schools are Martha B. King Middle School, W. D. Sugg Middle School, Louise R. Johnson Middle School, Braden River Middle School, Sara Scott Harllee Middle School, Electa Lee Middle School, and Carlos E. Haile Middle School. High schools include Manatee School for the Arts, Southeast High School, Bayshore High School, Palmetto High School (Florida), Manatee High School, Braden River High School, Lakewood Ranch High School, Community Christian School, Saint Joseph's Catholic School, Bradenton Christian School, the oldest private Christian school in the county, the Out of Door Academy, and Saint Stephen's Episcopal School. The University of South Florida also maintains a Sarasota-Manatee branch which serves college students in the area. International Theological Seminary is headquartered in Bradenton. The world-renowned tennis academy, run by Nick Bollettieri, bears a Bradenton address. The academy is managed by IMG and is also the home of the David Leadbetter junior golf academy. IMG also runs the IMG Soccer Academy for the United States Soccer Federation's (USSF) full-time residency program for the US Under 17 Men's National Team. The Bradenton facilities graduates include U.S. international soccer stars, Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley and Freddy Adu.

Children with Snooty the manatee at the South Florida Museum : Bradenton, Florida.1976


Bradenton is served by Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport in nearby Sarasota, Florida and is connected to St. Petersburg, Florida by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The Sunshine Skyway is a 5.5-mile (8.9 km) cross-bay bridge that rises 250 feet (76 m) above the bay at its highest point. Remnants of the old Skyway bridge have been converted into a fishing pier extending into Tampa Bay from both sides of the bay.

View of Bradenton Municipal pier and Chamber of Commerce : Bradenton, Florida, 1949

Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) buses serve Bradenton, with transfers to Sarasota and Palmetto. Trolleys run north-south on Anna Maria Island. Amtrak charter buses run through downtown Bradenton outside the courthouse to Tampa Union Station and Venice.

Tropicana's headquarters plant : Bradenton, Florida, 1952


Bradenton's Riverfront Theatre has a three-year record of first-place wins within the Florida Theatre Conference and the Southeastern Theatre Conference competitions. In addition, the theatre currently holds the first place title from the American Association of Community Theatre competition.

Employees in the Lone Palm Preserving Company filling guava jelly into jars : Bradenton, Florida, 1949

Located on the Manatee River in downtown Bradenton is the South Florida Museum, Bishop Planetarium and Parker Manatee Aquarium. This one-stop museum-planetarium-aquarium offers a glimpse of Florida history, a star and laser show, and viewing of Snooty and other live manatees.

Braden Castle : Bradenton, Florida, 1938

ArtCenter Manatee in downtown Bradenton is Manatee County's premiere visual arts center featuring the artwork of many talented local, state and national artists.

Bradenton city hall, 1928

Bradenton also is home to the Village of the Arts, a neighborhood immediately south of downtown where special zoning laws allow residents to live and work in their homes. As a result, about 50 of these once dilapidated houses have been converted into studios, galleries, small restaurants and other small businesses, mostly catering to the arts. The Village of the Arts prides itself as the largest arts district on the Gulf Coast.

Railroad station : Bradenton, Florida, 1923

Because of the Village of the Arts, the City of Bradenton was recently recognized as one of the Top 10 cities in the country for working artists by Art Calendar, a business magazine for visual artists.

c. 1920

Famous residents

Among famous residents of Bradenton are tennis players Max Mirnyi, Tommy Haas, Jelena Janković, Mary Pierce, Taylor Dent, and Maria Sharapova. Many successful tennis players have called Bradenton home at one point or another, as the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy is located in the city. Peter Warrick, Tommie Frazier, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, and Monica Seles all went to high school in Bradenton. In addition to tennis, the United States National Soccer Academy is located in Bradenton and is known for producing players such as Landon Donovan, Freddy Adu, DaMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey, Jozy Altidore, and Eddie Johnson. Pittsburgh Pirates baseball player Lastings Milledge was born in Bradenton. Dick Vitale, golfers Paul Azinger and Tony Jacklin, and American Reporter founder and editor Joe Shea also call Bradenton home. Bradenton is the home of Danielle White, the winner of American Juniors. Bradenton was in the national news in July 2007 as the home of NBA referee Tim Donaghy, the central figure of an NBA gambling scandal. The lead singer of Aerosmith, Steven Tyler also has a house in Bradenton. The drummer for The Moody Blues, Graeme Edge also calls Bradenton his home, The famous saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis was born in Bradenton. The Pop punk band We The Kings are also from Bradenton and have written a song about it titled This Is Our Town. Popular techno disc jockey and Billboard (magazine)-charted dance artist DJ Sharaz calls Bradenton home. Baltimore Ravens cornerback, Fabian Washington was born and raised in Bradenton, and graduated from Bayshore High School. 2000 USA Track & Field Olympian Curtis Johnson Jr. was born in Bradenton.

Bradenton In Pictures:

c. 1912

c. 1911

Samuel Ward Stanton : owner of the Manatee, 1910

The "Manatee" at Saint Petersburg, 1910

Ward Stanton home on the Manatee River : Bradenton, Florida, 1910

c. 1910

Manatee Avenue in Bradenton, 1908

Ward Stanton home on the Manatee River : Bradenton, Florida, 1918

Samuel Ward Stanton : Bradenton, Florida, 1918

Michiana Motel : Bradenton, Florida

Southland Hotel : Bradenton, Florida

A Tropicana truck in Bradenton, Florida

Bradenton FL.  Dixie Grande Hotel

Hotel Dixie Grande : Bradenton, Florida

Municipal pier and Chamber of Commerce : Bradenton, Florida

Manatee Light and Traction Company trolleys in car barn : Bradenton, Florida

Ward Stanton home on the Manatee River - Bradenton, Florida.

Ward Stanton home on the Manatee River : Bradenton, Florida

Sharps' Drugstore in Bradenton

Samuel R. Neel Auditorium : Bradenton, Florida

Points of interest:

Cortez Fishing Village

Palma Sola Botanical Park

South Florida Museum, home of Snooty the manatee

DeSoto National Park

Pittsburgh Pirates spring training at McKechnie Field

Gamble Mansion (Ellenton)

Myakka River State Park

ArtCenter Manatee

External links:

City of Bradenton

Bradenton Herald

Manatee Chamber of Commerce

South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium