Wares Creek is a small waterway that runs through the city of Bradenton, Florida. The creek starts in east Manatee County and empties into the Gulf of Mexico at Longboat Pass. It was named after William Ware who owned one of the first sawmills on its banks. Originally called Mill Creek, for this reason, it eventually became known as Wares Creek to honor his legacy.
The headwaters are located just outside Lowdermilk Park in East Manatee Gardens near where State Road 64 crosses U.S. 301; however, much of what used to be wetlands south of Interstate 75 has been drained by developers over time which feeds pollution downstream from Lakewood Ranch and other subdivisions draining into the Gulf of Mexico.
The creek has a history that dates back to at least 1835 when it was used as an industrial waterway for transporting timber. In 1868, a sawmill and grist mill was constructed on its banks by William Ware. The mills operated until 1899 with the sawmill closing down in 1895 due to competition from larger industries such as those along Tampa Bay’s coast which had more access to transportation routes via railroads or shipping lanes.