Myakka City, Florida

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Myakka City (also Myakka) is an unincorporated community in southeastern Manatee County, Florida, United States. It lies along State Road 70 near the city of Bradenton, the county seat of Manatee County.[1] Its elevation is 43 feet (13 m), and it is located at 27°20′59″N 82°9′41″W / 27.34972°N 82.16139°W / 27.34972; -82.16139Coordinates: 27°20′59″N 82°9′41″W / 27.34972°N 82.16139°W / 27.34972; -82.16139 (27.3497671, -82.1614780).[2] Although Myakka is unincorporated, it has a post office, with the ZIP code of 34251;[3] the ZCTA for ZIP code 34251 had a population of 6,351 at the 2010 census.[4] up from 4,239 in 2000.[5]

History[edit]

Myakka is a name believed to be derived from an unidentified Native American language, from the same word used as the namesake for Miami.[6] Myakka City was founded by Frank Earl Knox (1870-1950) in 1915, after purchasing early pioneer William Durrance’s land a year earlier.[7][8] Knox’s original plan was for 91 blocks, each with 10 home sites.[9] The new town also opened its post office the same year, as well as a new school.[10][11] The school opened November 2, 1915, and registered 35 pupils, and Mr. and Mrs. Carl Park were the first teachers.[12] Knox chose to call the new town Myakka City to differentiate it from Old Miakka, an early pioneer settlement that lay to the west.[13] A retired judge from New Jersey, Knox became interested in the area due to rumors of an east-west railroad to be constructed. Knox wanted the track to go through his planned dream town.[14] The East and West Coast Railway, a subsidiary of Seaboard Air Line Railroad, was constructed at the same time the post office opened.[15] The opening was delayed by several days due to floods destroying Horse Creek Bridge, affecting the areas between Arcadia and Myakka. The route from Bradenton to Myakka was unaffected.[16] The train depot was constructed from Florida-based materials, in Myakka City’s own sawmills.[17]

The little town’s hotel was owned and operated by James Q. Baker, and locals and visitors alike stayed there.[18][19] The town was prospering so well that there was even discussion of building a junior high school in the area.[20] Lumber sawmills, turpentine, and agriculture were the main industries.[21] Baker also operated a sawmill, but by 1916, had sold the hotel and moved into East Myakka, where his mill was located.[22] In the late 1910s, the E.E. Edge Turpentine Company operated there, coming from Groveland, a town in Polk County, Florida.[23][24] By the 1920s, the Florida land boom was in full swing. Knox responded by issuing a second plan of the town and renaming his company, from Myakka Fruit Farms to Bradenton Suburban Company, as well as the town’s streets, for the sake of modernization.[25] A 1926 advertisement noted that the new town consisted of 300,000 acres and a population of 250. In addition to a railroad station, the town also sported a four-room school building with three teachers, plus two churches, three stores, a warehouse, a hotel, and a large garage.[26] Knox and other county officials desired a hard-surface highway that connected the town with Bradenton, with the intention of taking the highway further east to the border with Desoto County.[27][28]

Up until that point, travelers journeyed on sandy, rutted and often flooded roads, particularly during rainy seasons. The land boom was short-lived; with the onset of the Great Depression, the town saw a decline.[29][30] The area had been deforested, despite a railroad official’s claim that there were abundant trees to last the sawmills fifty years, and timber to keep several sawmills in operation for half a century.[31][32] The railroad tracks were subsequently removed and reportedly sent to South America by the mid-1930s.[33][34][35]

Compiled in the late 1930s and first published in 1939, the Florida guide listed Myakka City's population as 125 and described it as:

a roadside settlement and trading center for near-by truck farmers and citrus growers along the Miakka River ... In this section live many old-time Floridians, who settled here shortly after the War between the States. Almost all are landowners; their sun-bleached one-story frame houses, with center hall or 'breezeway,' sit well back from sandy roads. They are raised high above the ground on posts to prevent dry rot and to escape attacks of termites; all have vine-shaded verandas, occupied on Sunday by a rocking-chair brigade; even the poorest houses have well-tended vegetable and flower gardens about them, and in many cases a few citrus trees. These people live on their own garden produce, slaughter and cure their own meats, and depend on the market for little. [36]

— Federal Writers' Project, "Part III: The Florida Loop", Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State (1947)

In 1953, the little town’s population was about 100, with 36 residences.[37] Today, the area has continued to be largely agricultural and sparsely populated, and the post office is still in operation as of 2021. The original schoolhouse has been preserved, and is undergoing renovation as a multi-purpose community and history center.[38]

A 1940 US Census enumeration district map showing Myakka City within Manatee County.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rand McNally. The Road Atlas '08. Chicago: Rand McNally, 2008, p. 25.
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Myakka City, Florida
  3. ^ Zip Code Lookup
  4. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  5. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ Grimes, David (November 23, 1979). "The Legends Behind Manatee Names". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. pp. 3B. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  7. ^ Speech by Bill Hancock on Myakka City, 1920-30. Manatee County Historical Society, September 22, 1983. https://cdm16681.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16681coll2/id/5256/rec/19
  8. ^ "Men Who Will be Prominent in Affairs of the New Bank” Evening Herald, March 21, 1925. Newspapers.com
  9. ^ “The Last Remaining Railroad Town” by Merab Favorite, The Bradenton Times, August 8, 2021 https://thebradentontimes.com/sunday-favorites-the-last-remaining-railroad-town-p23146-133.htm
  10. ^ “Myakka City is Granted a Post Office”, The Manatee River Journal, September 16, 1915, Newspapers.com
  11. ^ "Manatee County". Jim Forte Postal History. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  12. ^ “To the Wilderness They Came: The Story of Myakka City”, by Joe and Libby Warner. Manatee Historical Society (1980) https://cdm16681.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16681coll2/id/6589/rec/2
  13. ^ “Myakka-Miakka? It Depends on Several Things” The Bradenton Herald, August 5, 1941, Newspapers.com
  14. ^ "To the Wilderness They Came: The Story of Myakka City”, by Joe and Libby Warner. Manatee Historical Society (1980) https://cdm16681.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16681coll2/id/6589/rec/2
  15. ^ “Myakka City to Shine with New Station” Manatee River Journal, September 2, 1915, University of Florida Digital Collection. https://original-ufdc.uflib.ufl.edu/fdnl
  16. ^ “Manatee Section Cut Off by Big Washouts” The Tampa Tribune, August 6, 1915, Newspapers.com
  17. ^ “Myakka City to Shine with New Station” Manatee River Journal, September 2, 1915, University of Florida Digital Collection. https://original-ufdc.uflib.ufl.edu/fdnl
  18. ^ “To the Wilderness They Came: The Story of Myakka City”, by Joe and Libby Warner. Manatee Historical Society (1980) https://cdm16681.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16681coll2/id/6589/rec/2
  19. ^ “Myakka City Opens First Public School” The Manatee River Journal, November 4, 1915. Newspapers.com
  20. ^ “General Prosperity Settles at Myakka” The Manatee River Journal, January 20, 1916. Newspapers.com
  21. ^ "Lumber and Turpentine Activity" The Manatee River Journal and Bradentown Herald, January 6, 1916. Newspapers.com
  22. ^ "To the Wilderness They Came: The Story of Myakka City", by Joe and Libby Warner. Manatee County Historical Society, 1980. https://cdm16681.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16681coll2/id/6589/rec/2
  23. ^ "Life in Myakka City Section Described By Resident, 83", by J.H. Young, The Bradenton Herald, November 29, 1953. Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ “Life in Myakka City Section Described by Resident, 83” by J.H. Young. Bradenton Herald, November 29, 1953, Newspapers.com
  25. ^ "To the Wilderness They Came: The Story of Myakka City", by Joe and Libby Warner. https://cdm16681.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16681coll2/id/6589/rec/2
  26. ^ “Myakka City is in Manatee County” Advertisement, The Bradenton Herald, March 5, 1926, Newspapers.com
  27. ^ “New Highway Will Develop Myakka City” The Bradenton Herald, January 8, 1925, Newspapers.com
  28. ^ “Agrees to Change in Road No. 107” The Manatee River Journal/Bradentown Herald, May 3, 1923
  29. ^ "To the Wilderness They Came: The Story of Myakka City", by Joe and Libby Warner. Manatee County Historical Society.https://cdm16681.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16681coll2/id/6589/rec/2
  30. ^ "Speech by Bill Hancock on Myakka City, 1920-30" Manatee County Historical Society, September 22, 1983. https://cdm16681.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16681coll2/id/5256/rec/19
  31. ^ "To the Wilderness They Came: The Story of Myakka City", by Joe and Libby Warner. Manatee County Historical Society. https://cdm16681.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16681coll2/id/6589/rec/2
  32. ^ “The Last Remaining Railroad Town” by Merab Favorite, The Bradenton Times, August 8, 2021 https://thebradentontimes.com/sunday-favorites-the-last-remaining-railroad-town-p23146-133.htm
  33. ^ Speech by Bill Hancock, Manatee County Historical Society, September 22, 1983. https://cdm16681.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16681coll2/id/5256/rec/19
  34. ^ “To the Wilderness They Came: The Story of Myakka City”, by Joe and Libby Warner. Manatee Historical Society (1980) https://cdm16681.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16681coll2/id/6589/rec/2
  35. ^ "Trade Body Protests Removal of 'Southland' By Atlantic Coast Line" The Bradenton Herald, March 22, 1932. Newspapers.com
  36. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1947). Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 470. ISBN 9781595342089.
  37. ^ "Life in Myakka Section Described by Resident, 83", by J.H. Young. The Bradenton Herald, November 29, 1953. Newspapers.com
  38. ^ "Myakka Schoolhouse Restoration Moves Slowly Forward. More Hands and Money Welcome", by James A. Jones, Jr. The Bradenton Herald, March 6, 2021. Newspapers.com