While out for a drive yesterday, I came across a tiny neat little neighborhood tucked away in North East Bradenton. It's just off of Manatee Ave and 27th St E. I just happened to glance up and saw a sign that said Historic Neighborhood with an arrow, so I quickly turned down the street and ended up in this neat little community.
It's a 55 and over community that sits where the Braden River meets the Manatee River. The first thing I noticed were that the streets are only wide enough for one car to pass and these homes are pretty close to each other, so there isn't much yard to worry about for maintenance. As I drove through the winding streets and up and down a few hills, I knew I was in a historic community. You could tell just from looking at the homes. They were all old homes that were built back in the 1920's and 1930's. Each one different from the next. Unique in it's own way.
As I continued to drive through the community, every person that I saw walking, driving a golf cart, riding a bike or just sitting outside of their home waved at me. All of them. This is small community full of friendly people. It was so nice to drive through someplace unknown to me and have people smile and wave as I passed them.
Making my way around this unique community, I came across the ruins of the Braden Plantation House, that was long known as Braden Castle. The Braden Plantation house was built in 1850 by Dr. Joseph Braden, whom Bradenton was named after. The Castle had 20 inch thick walls, was two stories high and measured about 100 ft on each side. There were 4 rooms on each floor that were all the same size measuring 20 sq ft each. The Castle also had 8 fireplaces and 4 chimneys.
In March of 1856, Indians attacked Braden Castle.
Dr. Braden fell onto some financial hardships in 1857. The home was foreclosed on by Daniel Ladd, but Ladd did not evict him. Braden later left Manatee for Texas around 1864.
The Braden Plantation was then purchased by Mary El Pelot and J. Crews Pelot after the civil war for $2,000. She then gave 320 acres to her father. For the next 10 years, Braden Castle was center of social life on the Manatee. When Mary's father died, the Plantation House and land was then deeded back to J. Crews Pelot. He later sold 34.75 acres that is now known as Braden Castle Park to Schmidlapp and McPherson.
Sometime around 1903 a fire that was reportedly started by vandals destroyed most of the home leaving only the concrete walls standing. A short time later, the walls collapsed into the ruins that still remain today. A fence has been placed around the ruins, but they still remain. It truly is a historic site to see.
In 1924 the Tin Can Tourists (Camping Tourists of America) purchased the 34.74 acres.
By 1930, most of the 197 bungalows had been built. Many of them have undergone several renovations yet still remain as they were, when they were built.
Originally there was a barbershop, post office, western union office, general store, a filing station, fire station, men's club house, women's club house, pavillion and 13 rental tourists cabins.
Today, this small 55 and over community has boat ramps, shuffleboard courts, a pier, a lagoon with a gazebo in the middle of it and beautiful views of the Manatee River. Sorry, but they don't allow pets here!
If you're looking to live in a historic community, this may be the place for you. The bungalows range in size from about 450 sq ft to 1700 sq ft. Most are on the smaller side though. They make perfect winter residences or year round living if you don't mind a small home to take care of.
*The above information and images are Copyright © 2007 Becky Troutt and may not be copied, reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed or published. All rights reserved. Plagiarism will be detected and is punishable by law.