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"Bradentown and Manatee County"



Why Florida Will Appeal to You—Florida attracts the home-seeker, the capitalist, and the tourist, because of its near perfect climate, the fertility of its soil and its unparalleled opportunities for the enjoyment of outdoor life at a time when the inhabitants of other states are ice-bound and blizzard-stricken. Practically all of Florida offers an Asylum from the rigors of a Northern winter. Many portions of the State can boast of fertile lands and modern, aggressive communities. No single locality, however has all the fish and game nor all the attractions that are part and parcel of the Land of Flowers and every-day sunshine.

Climatic conditions, perhaps, were primarily responsible for the popularity of this State, even before it had been ascertained that the soil of the State was possessed of great fertility, marvelous productivity, and almost inexhaustible resources for the agriculturalist, horticulturalist and capitalist. For a long time this has been recognized by many as an ideal place in which to spend the winter months. It is becoming more and more apparent that Florida, in a matter of salubrious climate, offers respite for the extreme heat of Northern summers as well as the rigors of Northern winters. But it is not so much to sing the praises of Florida’s climate that this booklet is written, as to emphasize the peculiar advantages and inducements which climate, soil, waters, and sunshine offer to home-seekers and investors in and around Bradentown.

There is always one spot in any large area of earthly surface that is just a little better than anything else of its kind. In every state there is a locality more highly favored by nature than other portions of the same geographical division. That Manatee County is a concrete illustration of the truth of this statement can be readily demonstrated.

It is the intensified garden spot in the Garden State; the particular point where every general climatic advantage is present, but withal a locality possessing positive attractions peculiarly its own.

Temperatures—Quoting from the United States Weather Bureau, based upon a series of observations covering a period of years, the warmest weather occurs in July and August. During the warmest days atmospheric circulation is most active, and breezes, sweeping across the Peninsula from ocean to gulf, or gulf to ocean, mitigate the disagreeable consequences of warm days and high humidity. The mean summer temperatures range from 80° to 82°, and continue about 80° during September in the southern portions. As a rule October is from 6° to 8° cooler than September. Mean temperatures continue well up into the 60’s during November, but in December and January the average is 60°. Judged by average temperatures February is not the coldest month, yet the lowest temperatures often occur in this month.

The period of greatest rainfall begins in June and terminates in September, the annual precipitation being 56 inches. At and around Bradentown the mercury rarely rises about 94° in the summer or falls below 40° in the winter.

Manatee County—Where it Is

Manatee County, of which Bradentown is the county-seat geographically, lies 40 miles south of Tampa. The Gulf of Mexico fronts the county on the west and south. Its coast line, including gulf and bays, reaches more than 150 miles facing toward every point of the compass. It has three rivers: the far-famed Manatee, navigable for more than 25 miles from where it empties into Tampa Bay, furnishing deep-water connection with Tampa; Braden River; and the Myakka, once the favorite haunt of the Seminole Indian, and furnishing to-day one of the great national game preserves of the State.

Along the banks of the Manatee are some of the most charming residence sites that can be imagined, backed by thousands of acres of richly fertile hammock lands, suitable for, and where now are located, some of the great orange and grapefruit groves of the State. The county has an area of 1,350 square miles, 48 miles north and south and a maximum of 45 miles east and west. There are 15,000 inhabitants besides the tourists who are here for months during a great portion of the year. There are a number of beautiful towns among them: Palmetto, Manatee, Sarasota, Oneco, Parrish, Terra Ceia, Ellentown, Cortez and Palma Sola, none of which is more than twelve miles from Bradentown. A system of good hard roads connects these towns.

On the Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico fronts the entire county on the west and south and not only gives to Manatee lands its immunity from ruinous frosts, but furnishes pure air laden with all the freshness of the salty breath of the Gulf Stream.

Water Protection

The reader will be quick to appreciate the protection from extremes of heat and cold which the Gulf bays, and rivers of this section afford. These combined with its geographical location place it practically below frost line. He will also appreciate that here is a rule working both ways. This water protection modifies the temperature summer and winter. Her is asylum from the heat of summer and the rigors of a Northern winter. During the summer cool breezes from the Gulf and bay blow soft o’er key and mainland, and the summer nights are so cool as to make sleeping under covering comfortable. This section is becoming famous as a summer resort, as well as a winter paradise.

The "Land of Manatee" first came into general notice after the historic freeze of 1894–95, when nearly all the citrus fruit trees in the State, outside of this section, were practically destroyed by unprecedented cold weather. The fact that the trees in Manatee County escaped serious injury attracted people from the middle and northern portions of the State, who found not only protection from the cold but much more fertile lands than could be had elsewhere, with abundance of water from flowing artesian wells for irrigation.

What the Railroads Have Done

At that time there were no railroads in the county. Seven years later, or in 1902, the Seaboard Air Line extended its service into this county, and through Bradentown. The East and West Coast Railway connects Bradentown with Arcadia, connecting with the Atlantic Coast line and Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway at Arcadia, and tapping a vast lumber section, and opning up rich vegetable and citrus lands. We also have the Favorite Steamship Line through the beautiful Manatee River and Tampa Bay to Tampa, and connecting with the Atlantic Coast Line for the north, thus giving us a double daily freight and passenger service by water.

Good Roads Bradentown on Tamiana and Paradise Loop—Official Tributaries of the Dixie Highway (see A. A. A. Blue Book)

Manatee County now has many miles of hard-surfaced roads, having recently expended in their construction $250,000, and has at present under construction $250,000 more worth of modified asphalt roads; and arrangements are now being made for the construction of a $150,000 concrete bridge across the mile wide Manatee River between Bradentown and Palmetto. Bradentown is located on the Tamiana Trail, and on the Paradise Loop, which are officially designated connections of the Dixie Highway. Hard roads are now built from Bradentown to Oneco, Sarasota, Cortez, Terra Ceia, and Parrish, so that all towns and villages in the county are connected by hard roads with the county-seat.

Bradentown, the Capital of Manatee,

Is the county-seat of Manatee County, and the metropolis of the vast territory on the west coast between Tampa and Fort Myers. The following figures suggest that it is the most rapidly growing city in the State.

Population in 1900, 300

Fine electric-light system.
Population in 1910 1,886 Public library
Population in 1915, 4,000 Three fruit-packing houses.
Tax Assessment, 1911, $1,086,000 Splendid school system, including County High School
Tax Assessment, 1913, $2,543,529 Two railroads and boat line
Tax Assessment, 1913 New public buildings:
Has 16 miles paved streets
County Court House
High School
Baptist Church
Presbyterian Church
City Hall
Passenger Station
Has 32 miles sidewalks.
A complete system of sanitary sewers covering the entire town.
Has 5 miles storm sewers.
Has municipally owned waterworks.

It is located on the South Bank of the Manatee River about five miles up from where it empties into Tampa Bay. Beautiful drives over a splendid system of hard roads connect it with other towns of the county.

Amusement parks, increased facilities for boating, bathing, fishing, and other sports will be provided. An active and far-reaching publicity campaign begun to be vigorously prosecuted, will serve as never before to spread abroad the varied incucements and attractions of this section

In General

All lines of business common to like communities are represented by up-to-date stocks in well appointed-modern, buildings. Bradentown has two banks of excellent standing: the First National, and the Bradentown Bank and Trust Co. The Peninsular Telephone Co. furnishes Manatee County a complete telephone system. This town is perhaps the only one of its size in the United States that has underground telephone wires. There are 1,400 ‘phones in the county, or one for every ten inhabitants, the fourth in size in the State, exceeded only by Jacksonville, Tampa, and Pensacola. Long distance connection is furnished to any part of the United States.

August 15, 1916

Charman Publishing Committee,
Board of Trade
Bradentown, Fla.

DEAR SIR:— Replying to your request for information in regard to my success in the trucking line in Manatee County, will state that I came here from Westerville, Ohio, in Spetember, 1907, and have been engaved in trucking ever since that time. Have had my ups and downs with the others, but more ups than downs.

Regarding my celery crop of last season, wish to state that on 1 2/3 acres I grew two crops of celery during the season of 1915–16. The first crop was planted in the field about September 15, 1915, and harvested the latter part of January, producing 1,130 crates, the gross sales amounting to $3,102.14. The second crop was planted immediately after the first and harvested the early part of May, 1916, producing 1,049 crates, gross sales of $2,026.11, making the gross sales for the 1 2/3 acres of the season $5,128.25. The gross expense on both crops amounted to $1,308.00, leaving a net balance from the 1 2/3 acres of $3,820.25. This same piece of land has been producing two crops of celery per year for several years.

I Purchased the land upon which this celery was grown together with other lands amounting to ten acres in all in May, 1915, paying $7,500 for the ten acres. My net profits on the crops raised on this ten acres of land during the season of 1915–1916 were enough to pay for the entire place.

Very truly yours,

Bradentown is electrically lighted and is perhaps the most thoroughly illuminated town at night to be found anywhere. Daily from the early evening till after dawn without reference to the lunar calendar the lights are on.

There are some exceedingly imposing and beautiful residence buildings, set in delectable environment. An exceptionally picturesque water front affords a perspective charming in the extreme. Numerous bungalows of varied architectural effects, in settings of natural and artistic design, flanking beautifully parqued streets, emphasize the desirable qualities of this city as a place of residence.

Points of Interest

The following places will be of interest, especially to tourists: The Gulf of Mexico, nine miles west; Braden Castle on a beautiful site overlooking Braden River, the scene of local excitement bordering on tragedy during Indian uprisings in the last century; a river trip to Mitchellville; the Royal Palm Nurseries; the Gamble residence, the hiding place of Judah P. Benjamin; the wonderful Atwood Grapefruit Grove; Palma Sola, Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay and Terra Ceia Bay; Hunting and Fishing on the Myakka; delightful and pictaresque drives over hard roads; and boat trips to Terra Ceia Island, Egmont Key, Fort Dade, Anna Maria Beach, Cortez Beach, and many other points of interest and beauty.

Sailing up or down the beautiful Manatee River one’s rapt interest is held by a charming near-tropical panorama, a veritable moving picture of palms, orange groves, green, elegantly kept lawn, live-oak trees draped in festoons of gray moss, flower gardens, sloping gently up and back from the water in whose crystal depth the scene is reproduced; palatial residences, modern bungalows, church spires, domes and towers in turn caught and pictured upon nature’s film, the while the air is redolent with orange loom and resonant with song of meadow-lark and mocking bird.


Bradentown schools will compare favorably with the graded schools of any state north, east or west, having a $35,000 high-school building. Both the grammar school and high school are under the supervison of a competent superintendent and corps of teachers.

Athletics are fostered, and for the past two years Bradentown High School has won the State Scholastic Championship in both football and baseball.

Nowhere in the United States is there a better or more wholesome religious atmosphere than in Bradentown, where three-quarters of its citizens are members of the church, and where over 1,000 are regularly enrolled in the Sunday schools. Eight denominations are represented here as follows: Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Primitive Baptist, Christian, Catholic, and Christian Science.

August 20,1916

Chairman Publicity Committee
DEAR SIR:—Replying to your inqurey as to my success since coming to Florida and as to how I liked the climate, will state that I moved to Bradentown from Baltimore, MD, in December, 1910, having been engaged prior to that time in the mercantile business. on coming to Manatee Count I purchased a small tract of combination land, growing some fruit and vegetables At the end of the first year, though entirely inexperienced in truck farming, my books showed a net profit for the year of over $1,500.
We have lived here constantly ever since, going north three times on visits. Have been uniformly succesful, and have enjoyed excellent health and am better satisfied with Manatee County every day.
I have just purchased 120 acres additional land, and am this year considerably enlarging my farming operations.

Very truly yours,


Bradentown has a number of hotels, among which are the following: Arlington, Cedarhurst, Elcoberta, Gaar House, Hotel Florida, Juplinor, Illinois Hotel, Keystone, The George, Manavista, Prospect House, and Redfern, besides numerous rooming and boarding houses offering accommodations ranging from the modest to the more elegant.


At no place on the Florida Coast is there better fishing than in the waters of the rivers, bays, and Gulf along the Manatee Coast. Tarpon, kingfish, mackerel, redfish, groupers, and in fact all fish that inhabit the Florida waters are caught here. Millions of pounds are shipped annually from this county by professional fisherman.


Bradentown is now expending $20,000 in the making of a first-class, nine-hole golf course on 70 acres of land peculiarly adapted to that purpose—only ten minutes’ walk from the Court House—and will conduct the same on a municipally owned plan, making a very modest charge for playing. A professional in charge during the Tourist Season assists novices and assures all appointments being first class.


Bradentown is unique for a town of its size in that it has a magnificent moving-picture theater for the entertainment of its citizens and visitors, where only Paramount and other high-grade feature pictures are shown. The building was built for this special purpose, being modern in its appointments, seating six hundred people.


The most important industries of Manatee County are the growing of citrus fruits and vegetables. Here grapefruit reaches perfection; not only is the soil perfectly adapted to its growth, but the climatic conditions are the best. Besides having the Gulf of Mexico on the west the waters of Tampa Bay reach for miles along the northwest portion of the county giving protection from freezes and ruinous frosts. Recognizing these advantages, the largest growers have located in this section. The famous Atwood Grapefruit Grove, which is the largest producing grapefruit grove in the world, is located on the north bank of the Manatee River, a short distance from Bradentown. The Manatee Fruit Company have a grove twice the size of the Atwood grove rapidly approaching its prime. In addition to having the largest groves this county has the distinction of having the most productive grove per acre in the State. This te-acre grove has paid to the owner more than thirty-one thousand dollars in two successive crops. The Manatee County oranges and grapefruit are famous the country over. Owing to the geographical location and the natural character of the soil, its exemption from cold, and an abundant supply of artesian water, it produces the largest variety and quality of vegetables of any county in the State. The vegetables are grown during the winter months, a time of the year when they can not be grown in the states further north, thereby enabling the growers to receive good returns from their labors.

The approximate output of fruits and vegetables is 6,000 cars, bringing into the county between $3,000,000 and $4,000,000 annually. Forty-four thousand carloads of fruit and vegetables were shipped from this state in a season, of which one-seventh was from Manatee County. Vegetables are grown during the winter. From Thanksgiving Day fresh, ripe tomatoes, eggplant, lettuce, celery, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables, or at least some of them, are included in the daily table menu of every well regulated family and boarding-house.


Manatee County is one of the leading celery districts in the State. During one week $50,000 worth was shipped, and the season was only just beginning to open. Here is produced the largest number of crates to the acre of the finest quality of any celery that goes to the market. To the successful grower, the yield is 600 to 1,000 crates per acre, often bringing $2.00 to $2.50 per crate f. o. b. shipping point.

It is not uncommon for a truck farmer to realize $1,000 per acre, with a rotation of tomatoes, lettuce, eggplant, and celery. The record crop from one acre of truck land is $3,500, with average yields from $600 up. In one day this season $63,000 was deposited in one bank as revenue from tomatoes alone. The reader should not conclude from these figures that every one who engages in trucking here would receive record results. As in every section of the country and in every enterprise the personal factor figures largely in successful operations. These figures illustrate what can be done and evidence the wonderful fertility of the soil of this section, and the generous cooperation of nature with human effort. Here, as elsewhere, the greatest successes accompany the most efficient methods.


The Citrus Fruit Exchange handles a large proportion of the citrus fruits in such a manner as to bring the grower much larger profits than in former years. The Exchange has been a great factor in improving the quality of the fruit produced, as well as the methods of handling and packing the same.


A citrus grove begins bearing at three years of age and increases in production, under proper treatment, until thirty years or more of age. There are thrifty trees in this county which were planted in the "sixties"


Manatee County employs both a County Demonstrating Agent and a Canning Club Demonstrator, and is producing results in agricultural products, live stock, and poultry raising that are occasion for great surprise to visitors from other parts of the country. Where heretofore dependence has been confined to native stock for dairy and beef, cattlemen are awaking to the advantages of the best breeds, using the cheap native stock as a basis for improvement. Jersey, short horn, and Hereford are among the most popular breeds, and do well because of the excellent foods grown here in abundance, and the climate so favorable to all kinds of live stock.

The Duroe Jersey, Poland China, Berkshire are among the leading breeds of hogs, and flourish for the same reason that cattle flourish. The native razorback is still raised more especially for the benefit of local epicures.

Pasture grows the year round for stock raisers. Rhodes grass produces well in the low, heavier soils, cutting from four to seven tons per acre. Natal grass does best on the higher and lighter soils, cutting from three to five tons per acre. Sorghum produces well as forage. Other stock food crops, including Indian corn, produce heavily. These facts combined with the equable climate make it possible to engage in the industry at the minimum cost for feed and shelter, with the advantage of the best markets, and live-stock raisers are being attracted hither.

A stranger coming here for the first time is agreeably surprised to find that the choicest poultry and dairy products are readily obtainable in these markets, at prices that compare favorably with prices in the markets of northern cities, and his surprise increases when he learns that these are "home products."


Poultry foods flourish and poultry raising is comparatively easy. Kaffir corn, Egyptian wheat, sunflowers and rice, all good foods, produce abundantly. Many of the high-grade strains are successfully raised. The several Rocks, Leghorns, Orpingtons, Brahmas, Cochins are in evidence. The display of poultry at the county fair, including turkeys, geese, ducks, etc., as well as chickens, was a thing of beauty to the layman and a joy forever to the fancier. Climatic conditions make it possible to hatch chicks all the year round, making it possible to put spring friers on the market ahead of all other sections.


Sugar cane planted in December and January (one planting good for from three to ten years) yields from 500 to 600 gallons of syrup per acre, worth to the grower from 60 cents to 75 cents per gallon.


Sweet potatoes planted in June, July, and August yield from 150 to 350 bushels per acre, and sell from $1.00 to $1.50 per bushel.

And what more can we say to those who are seeking new homes for health, business, or pleasure? A Splendid climate, winter and summer; golf; good roads for motoring; beautiful bays and beaches for boating, fishing, and bathing; electric lights, day and night; artificial ice; good schools, churches, and public library; a rapidly growing, prosperous, hospitable, cosmopolitan city, giving a cordial welcome to all. We stand at the dawn of a new days and bid you come and help us make it glorious.


Celery, planted in field October and November. Seed beds sown in July and August. Yield 600 to 1,000 crates per acre. Natal Grass makes 3 to 5 tons per acre of excellent hay.
Cauliflower, set out in September, October nad November. Yields from 200 to 600 hampers per acre.  
Beans, August and September (Fall Planting), Yields from 100 to 200 hampers per acre. Irish Potatoes, planted in January. Yields from 100 to 300 bushels per acre.
Lettuce, sown in September, transplanted in October and November. Yields from 400 to 800 hampers per acre. Onions,
Cabbage, sown in September and October, transplanted in October and November. Sweet Potatoes, planted in June, July and August. Yields from 150 to 350 bushels per acre.
Eggplant, sown in October and November, transplanted in November, December, and January. Yields from 600 to 1,000 crates per acre. Strawberries, set out in August and September, will produce fruit from November to April.
Sweet Peppers, sown in September, transplanted in October and November. Yields from 500 to 1,000 crates per acre. Sugar Cane, planted in December and January, one planting good for three to ten years, yields
Tomatoes, sown in December, January and February. Yields from 150 to 500 crates per acre. Rice, sown in June and July. Yields from 40 to 50 bushels per acre.
Cucumbers, planted in January. Yields from 300 to 600 crates per acre. Corn, planted in January and February. Yields from 15 to 75 bushels per acre.
Squash, planted in January. Yields from 150 to 200 crates per acre. Bermuda Grass, produces fine hay, and both Bermuda and Pern furnish excellent pasturage.
Beans, planted in January Sarghum, produces from 5 to 10 tons of hay per acre.
Okra, planted in January and February. Yields 200 to 400 crates per acre Velvet Bean, belongs to the family of legumes, adds nitrogen to the soil, and is one of the largest and best hay crops raised in the State.
Rhodes Grass, Excellent for both hay and pasturage. Will produce 5 to 7 tons of hay per year. Cassara, is one of the greatest forage crops, furnishes excellent feed for cattle, hogs and chickens, and produces 15 to 30 tons per acre.
Mengel Beets, sown in September and October. Produces heavy yield and is fine for cattle and hogs. Pern Grass, Yields from 5 to 8 tons of hay per acre.

Brochure "Bradentown and Manatee County," 1915.


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