MANATEE County, FL
Manatee County is a county in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2020 US Census, the population was 399,710. Manatee County is part of the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its county seat and largest city is Bradenton. The county was created in 1855 and named for the Florida manatee, Florida's official marine mammal. Features of Manatee County include access to the southern part of the Tampa Bay estuary, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and the Manatee River. Manatee County ranks 15th among Florida counties in population.
The area now known as Manatee County had been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years.
De Soto Expedition
The southern mouth of the Manatee River was likely the landing site of the De Soto Expedition and is the location of the U.S. National Park Service's De Soto National Memorial.
The area was opened to settlement in 1842. The first two settlers were Joseph Braden and Hector Braden who moved into an area near the Manatee River. The two had lost their land for their plantations in Northern Florida during the Panic of 1837. They were said to have heard that there was abundant land in the area. The brothers moved into a log cabin 5 miles north of the mouth of the Manatee River. Four years later Hector had drowned while trying to cross the Manatee River on his horse during a hurricane. Despite this tragic event, Joseph decided he would still build his sugar plantation, the Braden sugar mill at the mouth of the Manatee River and the Braden River. He later built a dock where Main Street was and fortified the area near his house building a stockade. A few years later in 1851, he would build the Braden Castle, which was made out of tabby and served as his residence. It would later become a popular tourist attraction in the early 1900s with Tin Can Tourists. He would only stay there for the next six years before moving to Tallahassee.
Manatee County had the Gamble Plantation, a sugar plantation that was one of the South's finest.
When Manatee County was created in 1855, it included all of what are now Charlotte County, DeSoto County, Glades County, Hardee County, Highlands County, Sarasota County and part of Lee County
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of , of which is land and (%) is water.
State & Nationally protected areas
thumb|right|A great egret in Myakka River State Park
In 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the county's population was 385,571. The racial makeup of the county was 86.2% White, 9.2% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 1.8% from two or more races. 16.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 264,002 people, 112,460 households, and 73,773 families residing in the county. The population density was 356/sq mi (138/km2). There were 138,128 housing units at an average density of 186/sq mi (72/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 86.36% White, 8.19% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.90% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.84% from other races, and 1.39% from two or more races. 9.30% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
In 2000 there were 112,460 households, out of which 23.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.70% were married couples living together, 9.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.40% were non-families. 28.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.78.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 20.70% under the age of 18, 6.50% from 18 to 24, 24.60% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 24.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $38,673, and the median income for a family was $46,576. Males had a median income of $31,607 versus $25,007 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,388. About 7.10% of families and 10.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.30% of those under age 18 and 6.20% of those age 65 or over.
Bealls of Florida has its headquarters and was founded 1915 in unincorporated Manatee County.
Tropicana was founded here in the 1950s. They were later bought by PepsiCo who, in turn, sold it to a French private equity firm in 2021.
The Manatee County Public Library System offers a collection of adult, young adult, and children's materials, as well as a genealogy section and the Eaton Florida History Reading Room. Public computers for all to use are available at all library locations. The library's online resources include licensing to OverDrive, Inc., Hoopla (digital media service) and Flipster. The library also hosts an online digital collection featuring historic images and documents from Manatee County during the late nineteenth century to the early 1980s.[https://web.archive.org/web/20160814224338/http://cdm16681.contentdm.oclc.org/] Additionally, Ask a Librarian, the on-line Florida librarian reference service is available through the Manatee County Public Library System. The library system also offers E-Books, E-Audio, music, and movies through databases located on their website.
The libraries also offer extensive programming that includes author luncheons, children's story-times, summer reading programs, job fairs, and book discussion groups.
Manatee County participates in the Little Free Library program. The Palmetto Branch will place their Little Free Library in 2015, and then all six Manatee County Libraries will have them. Several Manatee County Parks have Little Free Libraries including Emerson Point Preserve, Robinson Preserve, Greenbrook Park, Bennett Park, Jigg's Landing and Conservatory Park.
The library system serves the residents of Manatee County with six locations:
Library cards are free to those who reside, own property, attend school, and/or work in Manatee County. Non-residents may obtain a temporary card upon payment of a $25.00 annual fee.
History of libraries
Manatee County's first public library was a privately owned rental library created by Julia Fuller at the Mrs. Bass Dry Goods store in 1898. The county's first independent library opened in Bradenton in 1907, followed a Carnegie Library in Palmetto in 1914 and another in Bradenton in 1918. For much of the 20th century, both cities' libraries were free to city residents while county residents had to pay a non-resident fee. In 1964, Bradenton's and Palmetto's library associations merged with the Manatee County government to create the Manatee County Public Library System. This was followed by the establishment of a bookmobile for rural areas in 1964 and a Talking Books program for the blind in 1966.
As demands on the bookmobile grew and the library collection outstripped the existing buildings in Bradenton and Palmetto, the first branch of the Manatee County Public Library system was built in Bayshore in 1967, followed by a new branch on East Ninth Street in 1969 and an Island branch in 1971, the last of which later moved into a new building in 1983. A new building for the Palmetto Library was built in 1969, followed by the modern Central Public Library in downtown Bradenton in 1978.
The 1990s saw a period of rapid growth in Manatee County, and the library system grew accordingly, with the Braden River, Rocky Bluff, and South Manatee branches opening in 1991, 1994, and 1998, respectively. The Braden River branch moved to a new building in 1997. The Rocky Bluff location would be moved to a larger location, featuring a built in café, in 2011. The new location is still physically within Ellenton. The additions as well as investment into various technologies such as modern computers, a 3D Printing Lab, as well as new loanable items, brings Manatee County Libraries to its modern services.
Reciprocal borrowing began in 2000 between Manatee and Sarasota County Libraries, which would be followed by statewide reciprocal borrowing programs. Starting in 2017, the Manatee County library system began offering items including musical instruments, tools, telescopes, binoculars, cake pans, hotspots, and museum passes. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the library system began offering WiFi hotspots to patrons in order to provide internet service remotely to work safely and at home. This began in Spring of 2020.
Primary and secondary education
thumb|400px|Map of Manatee County indicating incorporated municipalities:
Manatee County has a county transportation service, MCAT. It serves this county, Pinellas County, and Sarasota County.
Manatee County is part of the strongly Republican Sun Belt. The area became a Republican stronghold following World War II and has remained so since: the last Democrat to win Manatee County was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944.
During the peak of the Socialist Party's prominence in the early 20th century, Manatee County would elect the only socialist to the state legislature, Andrew J. Pettigrew to the Florida House of Representatives in 1906 for one term defeating John A. Graham (who was a Democrat) in the general election. As a state legislator he would make several proposals that were inline with what the Party reflected at the national level such as making US Senators popularly elected and creating a national income tax. Overall as a state legislator he would make little progress in getting legislation proposed by him passed. Prior to the 1906 race he would run in 1904 for the same position unsuccessfully losing to A.T. Cornwell (also a Democrat) who had served as Bradenton's first mayor and in a variety of positions at the county level. Pettigrew would later go on to run for Governor in 1908 and Secretary of Agriculture in 1912 being unsuccessful in both races.
Law enforcement and justice
Unincorporated Manatee County is served by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
= Circuit Court =
Manatee County is a part of the Twelfth Circuit Court of Florida.
= Court of Appeals =
Manatee County is part of the Second District of Appeals.
Recent presidential election results
United States Senate
United States House of Representatives
Florida State Senate
Florida House of Representatives
Manatee County Board of County Commissioners
The Board of Commissioners include the following:
Information as of January 12, 2019.
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article Manatee County, FL, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 4.0.