Manatee County is a county in the U.S. state of Florida . As of the 2010 census , the population was 322,833. [13] Its county seat and largest city is Bradenton . [14] The county was created in 1855. It was named for the Florida manatee [15] (commonly called a “sea cow” and distantly related to the elephant), which is endangered and Florida’s official marine mammal .

Manatee County is included in the North Port - Sarasota - Bradenton , FL Metropolitan Statistical Area .

Features of Manatee County include access to the Southern part of Tampa Bay , the Sunshine Skyway Bridge , and the Manatee River . Rowing facilities are being developed in the area and the Upper Manatee River Canoe Trail has been created. There are several parks and preserves.

About 1.8 percent of all of Florida’s population lives in Manatee County and it ranks sixteenth amongst Florida counties in population. [16]

History

Prehistoric History

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 .

Settlement 1842-

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 about 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 in his horse during a hurricane. Despite this tragic event Joseph decided that he would still build his sugar plantation, the Braden sugarmill at the mouth of the Manatee River and the Braden River. He later built a dock where Main Street was at and fortified the area near his house building a stockade. A few years later in 1851 he would built 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 . [17]

Manatee County had the Gamble Plantation , a sugar plantation that was one of the South’s finest. The area Manatee County once had where Hardee County , Highlands County , Sarasota County , DeSoto County , Charlotte County and Glades County . [18]

Every January, the Manatee County Fair takes place at the fairgrounds.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau , the county has a total area of 893 square miles (2,310 km 2 ), of which 743 square miles (1,920 km 2 ) is land and 150 square miles (390 km 2 ) (%) is water. [19]

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Rivers

Lakes

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 854
1870 1,931 126.1%
1880 3,544 83.5%
1890 2,895 −18.3%
1900 4,663 61.1%
1910 9,550 104.8%
1920 18,712 95.9%
1930 22,502 20.3%
1940 26,098 16.0%
1950 34,704 33.0%
1960 69,168 99.3%
1970 97,115 40.4%
1980 148,442 52.9%
1990 211,707 42.6%
2000 264,002 24.7%
2010 322,833 22.3%
Est. 2016 375,888 [20] 16.4%
U.S. Decennial Census [21]
1790-1960 1900-1990 [22]
1990-2000 [23] 2010-2015 [13]

In 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the county's population was 363,369. The racial makeup of the county was 86.6% White , 9.3% Black or African American , 0.5% Native American , 1.8% Asian , 0.1% Pacific Islander , and 1.6% from two or more races. 15.3% 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/km 2 ). There were 138,128 housing units at an average density of 186/sq mi (72/km 2 ). 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.

Economy

Bealls of Florida has its headquarters and was founded 1915 in unincorporated Manatee County. [25] [26]

Libraries

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 Freegal Music. The library also hosts an online digital collection featuring historic images and documents from Manatee County during the late nineteenth century to early 1980's. Additionally, Ask a Librarian , the on-line Florida librarian reference service is available through the Manatee County Public Library System. [27] The library system also offers E-Books, E-Audio, music, and movies through five 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. Special events held annually include Mana-con, a comic book convention , and the Teen Recycled Fashion Show.

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. [28]

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 $20.00 annual fee. [29] [30]

History of libraries

Image
Official seal of Manatee County, Florida
Image
Original Bradentown Library

Public libraries in Manatee County began in the year 1898 with a privately owned rental library created by Mrs. Julia Fuller in the Mrs. Bass Dry Goods store. The first independent library building in the county was opened in Bradenton in 1907, followed by Palmetto building a Carnegie Library in 1914 and Bradenton doing the same in 1918. For much of the 20th century, libraries in both cities were free to city residents while county residents had to pay a non-resident fee. In 1964, the city library associations in Bradenton and Palmetto merged with the Manatee County government to create what is now known as the Manatee County Public Library System. This was followed by the establishment of a bookmobile for rural areas in late 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, eventually followed by the modern Central Public Library in downtown Bradenton in 1978.

The 1990s saw a period of rapid growth for Manatee County, and the library system grew to accommodate, with the Braden River, Rocky Bluff, and South Manatee branches opening in 1991, 1994, and 1998, respectively, and the Braden River branch subsequently moved to a new building in 1997, bringing the Manatee County Library System to its modern state.

Awards and Recognition

2016 Library of the Year - Florida Library Association
in recognition of the Manatee County Public Library System for the outstanding service it provides to the community [32]

2016 Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award - Florida Library Association
in recognition of Teen Recycled Fashion Show

2016 Lifetime Achievement Award - Florida Library Association
in recognition of Kevin Beach, for a long-standing, distinguished record of professional achievements and accomplishments.

2016 Outstanding Friends Member - Florida Library Association
in recognition of the outstanding service of Doris Pope, president of the Friends of the Rocky Bluff Library

2015 Keep Manatee Beautiful Recycling Award - Government Category
in recognition of the Recycled Dreams Teen Fashion Show of Recycled Materials [33]

2014 Libraries Change People's Lives Award - Florida Library Association
in recognition of expanded Hispanic Services [34]

2013 Library Innovation Award - Florida Library Association
in recognition of expanded services, programs, and activities focusing on community needs

2013 Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award - Florida Library Association
in recognition of Mana-Con Comics Convention

Education

See Manatee County School District [15]

Communities

Cities

Town

Census-designated places

Unincorporated places

Transportation

Manatee County has a county transportation service, MCAT. [15]

Airports

Major Roads

Waterways

Government

Political history

Manatee County is part of the strongly Republican Sun Belt region of Florida’s southwest coast, extending south as far as Collier County . 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 . [15]

Law enforcement and Justice

Sheriff's Office

Unincorporated Manatee County is served by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office . [15]

Justice

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

Manatee County has long been a conservative stronghold. In the 2016 election Donald Trump won the county with a margin of 17% – by 30,720 votes.

Manatee County vote
by party in presidential elections
[15]
Year GOP DEM Others
2016 56.40% 101,944 39.40% 71,224 4.20% 7,589
2012 55.65% 85,627 43.22% 66,503 1.13% 1,736
2008 52.94% 80,721 45.93% 70,034 1.12% 1,712
2004 56.62% 81,318 42.66% 61,262 0.72% 1,041
2000 52.58% 58,023 44.61% 49,226 2.80% 3,095
1996 45.56% 44,136 43.24% 41,891 11.20% 10,851
1992 42.63% 42,725 33.77% 33,841 23.60% 23,654
1988 65.53% 51,187 34.08% 26,624 0.39% 302
1984 72.75% 55,793 27.24% 20,889 0.01% 6
1980 61.81% 40,535 33.06% 21,679 5.13% 3,362
1976 53.90% 29,300 44.78% 24,342 1.32% 718
1972 79.79% 32,664 19.68% 8,058 0.53% 218
1968 52.51% 18,247 23.85% 8,286 23.64% 8,214
1964 56.74% 17,147 43.26% 13,074
1960 65.13% 16,462 34.87% 8,814
1956 68.82% 11,904 31.18% 5,394
1952 66.40% 9,055 33.60% 4,583
1948 44.30% 3,371 36.35% 2,766 19.35% 1,473
1944 32.80% 2,218 67.20% 4,544
1940 27.87% 1,983 72.13% 5,131
1936 29.44% 1,455 70.56% 3,487
1932 30.67% 1,280 69.33% 2,894
1928 63.87% 2,705 34.76% 1,472 1.37% 58
1924 32.54% 629 55.04% 1,064 12.41% 240
1920 30.83% 884 62.43% 1,790 6.73% 193
1916 18.67% 289 66.73% 1,033 14.60% 226
1912 5.31% 55 68.73% 712 25.96% 269
1908 10.23% 93 70.85% 644 18.92% 172
1904 10.64% 91 69.24% 592 20.12% 172

Government officials

United States Senate

Office Senator Party
Class 3 Senator Marco Rubio Republican
Class 1 Senator Bill Nelson Democratic

United States House of Representatives

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

Florida State Senate

District Senator Party
21 Bill Galvano Republican

Florida House of Representatives

District Representative Party
70 Wengay Newton Democratic
71 Jim Boyd Republican
73 Joe Gruters Republican

Manatee County Board of County Commissioners

The Manatee County Board of Commissioners include the following:

Manatee County Board [15]
District Name Party First elected Representing
District 1 Priscilla W. Trace Republican 2016 Duette, Ellenton, Palmetto, Parrish
District 2 Charles B. Smith Democratic 2014 Bradenton, Ellenton, Palmetto
District 3 Stephen R. Jonsson Republican 2016 Anna Maria, Bradenton
District 4 Robin DiSabatino Republican 2010 Bradenton
District 5 Vanessa Baugh Republican 2012 Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Mayyka City
District At-Large Carol Whitmore Republican 2006 Whole County
District At-Large Betsy Benac Republican 2012 Whole County

Manatee County School Board

Manatee County School Board [15]
District Member First elected Elementary schools representing Middle schools representing High schools representing
District 1 Gina Messenger [15] 2016 Blackburn, Freedom, Mills, Palmetto, Williams, Witt Buffalo Creek, Haile Palmetto
District 2 Charlie Kennedy [15] 2014 Ballard, Manatee, Orange Ridge, Palm View, Rogers Garden, Rowlett, Samoset, Tillman, Wakeland Lincoln, Johnson Southeast
District 3 Dave "Watchdog' Miner [15] 2012 Anna Maria, Miller, Moody, Palma Sola, Prine, Seabreeze, Stewart King, Lee, Sugg Manatee
District 4 Karen Carpenter [16] 2010 Abel, Bayshore, Daughtrey, Kinnan, Oneco Harlle Bayshore
District 5 John A. Colón [16] 2015† Bashaw, Barden River, Gullett, McNeal, Myakka, City, Tara, Willis Braden River, Nolan Braden River, Lakewood Ranch

† On September 4, 2015, Governor Rick Scott (R) appointed Colón to fill the then-vacant seat on the Manatee board following the death of Mary S. Cantrell. [16]

Other offices

Constitutional officers
Office Name Party First elected
Clerk of the Circuit Court [16] Angelina M. Colonneso Republican 2015†
Property Appraiser [16] Charles E. Hackney Republican 1992
Sheriff [16] Rick Wells Republican 2016†
Supervisor of Elections [16] Mike Bennett Republican 2013
Tax Collector [16] Ken Burton, Jr Republican

Voter registration

Information as of July, 23, 2017. [16]

Voter registration and party enrollment
Party Number of voters Percentage
Republican 101,162 43.42%
Democratic 71,152 30.86%
Others 60,018 25.72%
Total 232,332 100%

See also