Bradenton a tiny but fast-developing city that is situated on Florida’s coast, somewhere between St. Petersburg’s Tampa Bay region and Sarasota City. As at 2018, Bradenton had an estimated population of 58,000 residents. Bradenton is the headquarters of the metropolitan region that is made up of Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Bradenton history dates back to the 1840s and its inception has everything to do with two brothers Joseph and Hector Braden, who arrived in the region at around this time. Initially, the two settled 8 kilometers upstream in a log cabin. They intended on establishing a grand plantation here.
Unfortunately, in 1846, one of the brothers, Hector, drowned in the river and passed on. However, this did not stop Joseph Braden from realizing their dream of setting up an extensive sugarcane plantation. Joseph went on to construct a sugar mill near the point where Manatee and Braden rivers meet. He also established a pier that would help in loading processed sugar onto the shipping boats for transportation to neighboring markets.
With the plantation doing so well, Joseph constructed a plantation estate by the name ‘Braden Castle’ in 1851, and he moved out of the original cabin in which he used to stay. The new structure was constructed from Tabby, and it was only a short walking distance from the sugar mill.
While business was seemingly booming, Joseph was in so much debt, and he found himself unable to settle it. In 1857, his properties and land got confiscated. The ‘Braden Castle’ became a public space that was used as a pleasant picnic site in the early 1900s. Some castle remains are still available at the site.
In the 1860s, the land on the plantation, which is present day Bradenton, started undergoing major developments into a community settlement. In the 1870s, the region underwent major population growth. The land owner then, Major Turner, proposed that a post office be constructed, alongside a new city name. Unfortunately, city residents did not show up for the town meeting as expected.
Turner took an interesting measure; he hired residents from the nearby communities to come to his second meeting. Consequently, the town was given the approval to own its own post office. Turner also suggested that the city name be changes to Bradentown in a bid to honor Hector Braden. It was not until 1905 that the name Bradenton got officially adopted.