Manatee County, Florida

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Manatee County
Manatee County Administration Building
Manatee County Administration Building
Official seal of Manatee County
Official logo of Manatee County
Map of Florida highlighting Manatee County
Location within the U.S. state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: Coordinates: 27°29′N 82°22′W / 27.48°N 82.36°W / 27.48; -82.36
Country United States
State Florida
FoundedJanuary 9, 1855
Named forFlorida manatee
Largest cityBradenton
 • Total893 sq mi (2,310 km2)
 • Land743 sq mi (1,920 km2)
 • Water150 sq mi (400 km2)  16.8%
 • Total399,710
 • Density450/sq mi (170/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Area code941
Congressional district16th

Manatee County is a county in the Central Florida portion of the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2020 US Census, the population was 399,710.[1] Manatee County is part of the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its county seat and largest city is Bradenton.[2] The county was created in 1855 and named for the Florida manatee,[3] 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.


Prehistoric History[edit]

The area now known as Manatee County had been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years. Shell middens and other archaeological digs have been conducted throughout the county including at Terra Ceia and at Perico Island. These digs revealed materials belonging to peoples from the Woodland period.[4][5]

European Exploration and Early Settlement[edit]

Map of Manatee County as it existed in 1856, one year after it was created.

Some historians have suggested that the southern mouth of the Manatee River was the landing site of the De Soto Expedition.[6]

The area was opened to settlement in 1842 with the passing of the Armed Occupation Act.[7] Early settlements included the Manatee Colony led by Colonel Samuel Reid, which numbered thirty one individuals both black and white.[8] Other prominent early settlers were Joseph and Hector Braden who moved into an area near the Manatee River in 1842.[9] 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. In Spring of 1856, the fortified home was attacked by Seminole Indians during the Third Seminole War.[10] 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.[11]

County Formation and the American Civil War[edit]

When Manatee County was created in January 1855, it covered 5,000 square miles and included all of what are now Charlotte County, DeSoto County, Glades County, Hardee County, Highlands County, Sarasota County and part of Lee County.[12][13] The original county seat was Manatee, a village in what is now eastern Bradenton.

Following the Seminole Wars, Manatee County continued to grow both in population and in economic output. Cattle, hogs, and some sheep were all raised, and processed sugar and molasses was produced and exported. This agricultural economy, like much of the south, was increasingly becoming reliant on slave labor.[14] A federal census in 1860 showed that the county had a population of 601 white people and 214 enslaved black people.[15] After the outbreak of the American Civil War, Manatee County provided supplies to the Confederate army. According to a partial list of soldiers of the Confederate States of America, the county also sent at least 100 of its citizens to fight.[16]

Within Manatee County is the Gamble Plantation, a sugar plantation and home of Major Robert Gamble.[17] According to some, following the Civil War, the Confederate Secretary of State, Judah P. Benjamin, took refuge at the mansion before escaping to England.[18] In 1866, the county seat was temporarily moved from Manatee to Pine Level but was moved back in 1889. The move was reportedly done in an effort to make the county seat more centrally located but some historians also contend that it was done by the reconstructionists to punish Manatee for being a hotbed of rebel sympathies before and during the Civil War.[19][20]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 893 square miles (2,310 km2), of which 743 square miles (1,920 km2) is land and 150 square miles (390 km2) (%) is water.[21]

Adjacent counties[edit]

State & Nationally protected areas[edit]




Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[22]
1790-1960[23] 1900-1990[24]
2000[25] 2010-2020[1]

In 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the county's population was 399,710. The racial makeup of the county was 86% White, 9.3% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 1.9% from two or more races. 16.9% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[26]

By age, the population was spread out as such: 4.6% under 5 years old, 18.0% under 18 years old, and 28.1% 65 years and over. 51.7% of the population was female.

The median income for a household in the county was $59,963 in 2020 dollars and a per capita income in the past 12 months of $35,146. There were a reported 10.9% of the popular living in poverty.


Bealls of Florida has its headquarters and was founded 1915 in unincorporated Manatee County.[27][28]

Tropicana was founded here in the 1950s.[29] They were later bought by PepsiCo who, in turn, sold it to a French private equity firm in 2021.[30]


Manatee County Public Library System
Location1301 Barcarrota Blvd West
Bradenton, Florida 34203
Coordinates27°29′55.2″N 82°34′29″W / 27.498667°N 82.57472°W / 27.498667; -82.57472
Items collectedbooks, movies, newspapers
Access and use
Population served322,000
Other information

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.[1] Additionally, Ask a Librarian, the on-line Florida librarian reference service is available through the Manatee County Public Library System.[31] The library system also offers E-Books, E-Audio, music, and movies through databases located on their website.[32]

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.[33][34]

The library system serves the residents of Manatee County with six locations:

In September of 2021, a 7th branch was approved by county commissioners, which is to be built in Lakewood Ranch.[35]

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.[36][37][38]

History of libraries[edit]

Original Bradentown Library
Original Bradenton Library
Palmetto's Carnegie Library
Palmetto's Carnegie Library, built in 1914.
Bradenton's Carnegie Library
Bradenton's Carnegie Library, built in 1918.

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.[39]

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.[40]

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.[41]

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[edit]

Higher education[edit]


Map of Manatee County indicating incorporated municipalities:



Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated places[edit]


Manatee County has a county transportation service, MCAT. It serves this county, Pinellas County, and Sarasota County.[42]


Major Roads[edit]




Political history[edit]

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.[43]

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.[44] 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.[45] 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.[44]

Law enforcement and justice[edit]

Sheriff's Office[edit]

Unincorporated Manatee County is served by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.[46]


Circuit Court[edit]

Manatee County is a part of the Twelfth Circuit Court of Florida.

Court of Appeals[edit]

Manatee County is part of the Second District of Appeals.

Recent presidential election results[edit]

Presidential elections results
Manatee County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year GOP DEM Others
2020 57.5% 124,987 41.5% 90,166 1.1% 2,319
2016 56.4% 101,944 39.4% 71,224 4.2% 7,589
2012 55.7% 85,627 43.2% 66,503 1.1% 1,736
2008 52.9% 80,721 45.9% 70,034 1.1% 1,712
2004 56.6% 81,318 42.7% 61,262 0.7% 1,041
2000 52.6% 58,023 44.6% 49,226 2.8% 3,095
1996 45.6% 44,136 43.2% 41,891 11.2% 10,851
1992 42.6% 42,725 33.8% 33,841 23.6% 23,654
1988 65.5% 51,187 34.1% 26,624 0.4% 302
1984 72.8% 55,793 27.2% 20,889 0.0% 6
1980 61.8% 40,535 33.1% 21,679 5.1% 3,362
1976 53.9% 29,300 44.8% 24,342 1.3% 718
1972 79.8% 32,664 19.7% 8,058 0.5% 218
1968 52.5% 18,247 23.9% 8,286 23.6% 8,214
1964 56.7% 17,147 43.3% 13,074
1960 65.1% 16,462 34.9% 8,814
1956 68.8% 11,904 31.2% 5,394
1952 66.4% 9,055 33.6% 4,583
1948 44.3% 3,371 36.4% 2,766 19.4% 1,473
1944 32.8% 2,218 67.2% 4,544
1940 27.9% 1,983 72.1% 5,131
1936 29.4% 1,455 70.6% 3,487
1932 30.7% 1,280 69.3% 2,894
1928 63.9% 2,705 34.8% 1,472 1.4% 58
1924 32.5% 629 55.0% 1,064 12.4% 240
1920 30.8% 884 62.4% 1,790 6.7% 193
1916 18.7% 289 66.7% 1,033 14.6% 226
1912 5.3% 55 68.7% 712 26.0% 269
1908 10.2% 93 70.9% 644 18.9% 172
1904 10.6% 91 69.2% 592 20.1% 172
1900 8.7% 60 77.8% 535 13.5% 93
1896 21.3% 135 75.6% 480 3.2% 20
1892 83.3% 348 16.8% 70

Government officials[edit]

United States Senate[edit]

Office Senator Party
Class 3 Senator Marco Rubio Republican
Class 1 Senator Rick Scott Republican

United States House of Representatives[edit]

District Representative Party
Florida's 16th Congressional District Vern Buchanan Republican

Florida State Senate[edit]

District Senator Party
21 Bill Galvano Republican

Florida House of Representatives[edit]

District Representative Party
70 Michele Rayner Democratic
71 Will Robinson Republican
73 Tommy Gregory Republican

Manatee County Board of County Commissioners[edit]

The Board of Commissioners include the following:[48]

Position Incumbent
District 1 James Satcher
District 2 Reggie Bellamy
District 3 Kevin Van Ostenbridge
District 4 Misty Servia
District 5 Vanessa Baugh
District 6[note 1] Carol Whitmore
District 7[note 1] George Kruse
  1. ^ a b At-large, representing the entire county.

Public education[edit]

Manatee County School Board[49]
Position Incumbent Term ends
District 1 Gina Messenger November 2024
District 2 Charlie Kennedy November 2022
District 3 Mary Foreman November 2024
District 4 Dr. Scott L. Hopes November 2022[note 1]
District 5 Rev. James Golden November 2022
  1. ^ On July 21, 2017, Governor Rick Scott appointed Hopes to fill the then-vacant seat on the Manatee board following resignation of Karen Carpenter's seat effective June 1, 2017.[50]

Other offices[edit]

Constitutional officers
Office Name Party First elected
  Clerk of the Circuit Court Angelina M. Colonneso Republican 2015†
  Property Appraiser Charles E. Hackney Republican 1992
  Sheriff Rick Wells Republican 2016†
  Supervisor of Elections [51] Mike Bennett Republican 2013
  Tax Collector[52] Ken Burton, Jr Republican 1992

Voter registration[edit]

Information as of March 31, 2022.[53]

Voter registration and party enrollment
Party Number of voters Percentage
Republican 119,860 43.78%
Democratic 79,634 29.09%
No Party Affiliation 69,324 25.32%
Minor parties 4,960 1.81%
Total 273,778 100%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Publications of the Florida Historical Society. Florida Historical Society. 1908. p. 33.
  4. ^ Willey, Gordon (January 1948). "Culture Sequence in the Manatee Region of West Florida". American Antiquity. 13 (3): 210. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  5. ^ Bullen, Ripley (1951). "Terra Ceia Site, Manatee County, Florida". Florida Anthropological Society: 7–9. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  6. ^ Bullen. p. 7
  7. ^ "An Act to provide for the armed occupation and settlement of the unsettled part of the Peninsula of East Florida". Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  8. ^ Knetsch, Joe (2000). "The Army Vs. The Indians Vs. The Settlers: The South Florida Frontier Between the Seminole Wars". Sunland Tribune. 26 (10): 2. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  9. ^ "Manatee History Matters: Braidentown, Bradentown, Bradenton - What's in a name?". bradenton. Archived from the original on May 22, 2017. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  10. ^ Camp, Paul (1979). "The Attack on Braden Castle: Robert Braden Castle: Robert Gamble t Gamble's Account". Tampa Bay History. 1 (8): 1-8. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  11. ^ "Manatee History Matters: Braidentown, Bradentown, Bradenton - What's in a name?". bradenton. Archived from the original on May 22, 2017. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  12. ^ "Pioneer Life in Manatee County". Archived from the original on February 1, 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  13. ^ Manatee County Sheriffs Office: 1855-2005 150th Anniversary History and Pictorial. United States: Turner Publishing Company. 2005. p. 7.
  14. ^ Matthews, Janet (1983). Edge of Wilderness. Tulsa, OK: Caprine Press. p. 249. ISBN 0914381008.
  15. ^ "1860 8th Federal Census" (PDF). Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  16. ^ Mathews, p. 254
  17. ^ "Manatee Genealogical Society - Manatee County". Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  18. ^ Murphy, Bob. "Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial at Gamble Plantation - Ellenton, Florida". Florida Memory. Florida Department of State. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  19. ^ Simpson, Joseph Herman. "History of Manatee County, Florida - Chapter 12". Sarasota History Alive!. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  20. ^ *Pine Level, DeSoto Co, Florida in Desoto Co FLGenWeb Project Archived June 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  22. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  23. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  24. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  25. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  26. ^ "QuickFacts Manatee County, Florida". United States Census Bureau. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  27. ^ "Contact Us Archived December 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine." Bealls (Florida). Retrieved on December 14, 2009.
  28. ^ "Samoset CDP, Florida[permanent dead link]." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on December 14, 2009.
  29. ^ Hawkins, R. Rossi, Anthony Talamo (1900-1993), businessman. American National Biography. Retrieved 28 Mar. 2022, from
  30. ^ Lucas, Amelia (August 3, 2021). "PepsiCo to sell Tropicana and other juice brands for $3.3 billion". CNBC. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  31. ^ ""Manatee County Public Library System" Retrieved March 15, 2015". Archived from the original on February 25, 2013. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  32. ^ "E-Source Home > Entertainment: Movies, Music, & More". Manatee Libraries. Manatee County. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  33. ^ Palmetto Friends of the Library. (Spring 2015). Palmetto Friends of the Library Newsletter.
  34. ^ Aronson, Claire. "Manatee County creates model for local Little Free Library program". Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  35. ^ Mendoza, Jesse (October 27, 2021). "New library coming to Lakewood Ranch". Sarasota Herald Tribune. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  36. ^ "Library Cards". Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  37. ^ ""Library Card Policies" Retrieved March 15, 2015". Archived from the original on March 26, 2015. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  38. ^ Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine "Locations and Hours: Manatee County Public Library System" Retrieved April 19, 2013
  39. ^ Jasper, C. & McCook, K. (1998). The Florida Library History Project. University of South Florida, Tampa. Retrieved from on 2022-02-19. pp. 180-181.
  40. ^ Jasper & McCook. p. 182
  41. ^ "Library History". Retrieved November 29, 2021.
  42. ^ "MCAT". Archived from the original on April 2, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  43. ^ Sullivan, Robert David (June 29, 2016). "How the red and blue map evolved over the past century". America: The Jesuit Review of Faith & Culture. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  45. ^ Paul, Brad (1999). "Rebels of the New South: the Socialist Party in Dixie, 1892-1920". ScholarWorks@UMass Amherst: 129–132 – via University of Massachusetts Amherst.
  46. ^ "Manatee County Sheriff's office". Manatee County Sheriff. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  47. ^ David Leip. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  48. ^ "Board of County Commissioners". Manatee County Government. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  49. ^ "School Board Members". School District of Manatee County. February 13, 2021. Retrieved February 13, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  50. ^ Anderson, Zac (July 21, 2017). "Governor appoints Scott Hopes to Manatee School Board seat". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Archived from the original on July 26, 2018. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  51. ^ "Manatee County Supervisor of Elections > Home". Archived from the original on April 13, 2017. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  52. ^ "Biography of Manatee County Tax Collector, Ken Burton, Jr" (PDF). April 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 6, 2019. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  53. ^ "Sarasota County, FL : Supervisor of Elections". Sarasota County, FL : Supervisor of Elections. SOE Software Corporation. April 20, 2022. Retrieved April 20, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]