simplebooklet thumbnail

Old Manatee A to Z

Ol Manate
Written by Ryan G. Van Cleave
Illustrated by Don Brandes
Copyright © 2020 Realize Bradenton, Inc.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means,
including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher,
except by reviewers, who may quote brief passages in a review.
ISBN: 978-1-7338746-1-8
Library of Congress Control Number: 2020906470
Old Manatee A to Zis a children’s book that highlights the rich history and natural environment of the
area where Bradenton, Florida was founded.
A Realize Bradenton Production
For more information, please contact
Written by Ryan G. Van Cleave
Illustrations by Don Brandes
Illustrations rendered in colored pencil and tissue paper
Graphic Design by Paula Murray, Artefact Design, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Manatee County Public Library System Digital Collection
Printed in the United States of America
First Edition 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Note to the reader: This book’s purpose is to educate, inform and entertain.
The subject matter was drawn from a variety of sources and is presented as accurately as research and
recollection permits.
Ol Manate
A Realize Bradenton Production
Written by Ryan G. Van Cleave
Illustrated by Don Brandes
Ol Manate
Let’s adventure
through Old Manatee!
is for
is for Boat.
Before roads, people in Old
Manatee relied on boats to get
around. Most had more than
one boat, the way families
today often have more than
one car.
is for Crate Mill.
Wooden crates were built at a mill in Old
Manatee. The crates were used to ship
oranges, celery, and tomatoes up north.
is for Dock.
Since boats were
a popular way to
travel, people in
Old Manatee used
docks to “park” their
is for Dock.
is for Egret.
Great Egrets stand
as still as statues
when hunting for
is for Freedom
People escaping slavery often created their
own communities. Before becoming Old
Manatee, there was a community called Angola
where hundreds of freedom seekers built
houses, grew crops, and raised families.
is for Freedom
is for Gazebo.
Early settlers worked
together to build a big gazebo in
Old Manatee. Gazebos are wonderful
places for picnics, parties, and concerts.
is for Horse.
Cattle drivers and farm owners used the
speedy Florida Cracker Horse to herd cattle.
is for Ice Cream
Ice cream socials were popular Old Manatee
events. People ate chocolate and vanilla, but
also tea and oyster-flavored ice cream.
Would YOU eat oyster-flavored ice cream?
is for Jacks.
Jacks was a popular game in Old
Manatee and is still played by
children today.
is for Key.
Keys, like the ones we use today, were
invented in the 1840s. Anyone who needed
keys probably had them made by the Old
Manatee blacksmith, Thomas Kenney.
is for Landmark.
A landmark is an easily recognized building or place.
The remaining historic landmarks of Old Manatee are
identified with signs like this one.
is for Manatee.
Old Manatee was named after the gentle “sea cows”
that thrived in the Manatee River.
is for
Many Native Americans hunted, fished,
and lived along the Manatee River.
is for Oyster.
There used to be so many oysters in the
Manatee River that it was once called
the Oyster River.
is for Pumpkin.
People in Old Manatee loved to eat pumpkins.
They planted them at the base of trees, and the
vines would climb, so full-grown pumpkins
eventually dangled from the branches.
is for Quilt.
Women and girls of Old Manatee often came
together to host quilting bees. At these gatherings,
they made blankets and bedcovers as gifts
for weddings and other special days.
is for Railroad.
The most famous steam-engine
locomotive in Manatee County was
“Old Cabbage Head.” It was driven by
Florida’s first Black train conductor,
Solomon Williams.
How do you think Old Cabbage Head
got its name?
is for Railroad.
is for Spring.
For hundreds of years, people believed
that Manatee Mineral Spring had
magical healing powers.
is for Tin Can
Tin Can Tourists drove cars and trailers from northern
states to Florida to avoid the cold winter.
Do you think their vehicles looked like tin cans?
Or did the name come from tourists eating so many
meals out of tin cans?
is for
Beneath the Manatee River is a meadow
of seagrass that’s home to all kinds of
creatures. See for yourself!
is for
Villa Zanza.
Did you know there was a castle
in Old Manatee? It took Civil War
veteran Major Alden Adams seven
years to build Villa Zanza.
is for
Wiggins Store.
The settlers of Old Manatee got groceries
and supplies at Wiggins Store. Since there
were no phones or the internet then, people
gathered there to talk, laugh, and play.
marks the spot!
What would you find if you could go back in time to
visit Old Manatee when the settlers first lived there?
is for You!
What interests YOU most about
Old Manatee?
is for
The graceful Zebra Longwing often
flitted on the breeze in Old Manatee.
It became the ocial butterfly of the
State of Florida.
This is a photo of the Manatee Crate Company from 1926.
The Manatee Crate Company opened for business in 1920 in
Old Manatee. They made hampers, orange boxes, and celery
and tomato crates. The Crate Company was able to produce
more than 20,000 crates a day. During a lumber shortage,
they switched to making cardboard boxes which were cheaper
to create, transport, and store. The Manatee Crate Company
closed their doors in 1952.
This is a photo of the steam engine locomotive aectionately
nicknamed “Old Cabbage Head.” The engine was constructed in
1913; however, it didn’t arrive in Manatee County until 1948.
Constructed of steel, oak, and yellow pine, this particular engine
had a uniquely shaped smokestack, which lead to its iconic
nickname. While in operation by the Manatee Crate Company,
Old Cabbage Head traveled east, where it collected cut timber,
and then returned to the mill where the timber was used to build
crates. Under the operation of Solomon Williams, Floridas first
Black train engineer, Old Cabbage Head traveled the rails until it
was retired in 1951.
This a photo from the early 1900s of the gazebo at the
Manatee Mineral Spring Park in Old Manatee. The gazebo
was surrounded by three shell mounds, which were removed
and the shell was used for paving roads.
This photo of the City Dock of Manatee, dated between 1900-
1910, shows a steamboat named H. B. Plant. The Manatee
River was the main transportation route for Manatee County,
but navigation was challenged by the shallow water near the
shoreline. Docks were built to extend out into deeper water to
allow large boats access to Old Manatee.
is for Crate mill.
is for Railroad.
is for Dock.
is for Gazebo.
is for Crate mill.
is for Gazebo.
is for Dock.
is for Railroad.
In this 1905 photo, people pose near the staircase of Villa Zanza,
also known as Adams Castle. Major Alden Adams—a veteran
of the Union Army during the Civil War and a newspaper
correspondent from New York City—moved to Manatee County
in 1876. Over time, he became the largest landowner, owning
more than 300,000 acres in the county. In 1881, Major Adams
began building a 16-room concrete building shaped like a castle
that overlooked the Manatee River on a high blu. At the end of
seven years, this three-story home of Spanish architecture was
finally complete.
This 1915 photo captures the Tin Can Tourist Camp at Braden
Castle, part of Dr. Braden’s antebellum sugar plantation.
The origin of the term “tin can tourist” isn’t clear. Some
have suggested that it refers to the campers’ reliance upon
canned foods. Others believe the name refers to the small Ford
automobile of the era, the Model T. The Tin Can Tourists (TCT)
first organized as a camping club in Tampa, Florida, in 1919.
Today, the Milford, Michigan-based group has a membership in
excess of 2,000.
The interior of the K.W. “King” Wiggins Store is featured in this
photo dated 1911-1915. At the turn of the century, if you wanted
the best selection of groceries, dry goods, and gadgets in Manatee
County, you came here. King Wiggins, an entrepreneur in business
and agriculture, built his original store in 1903. The Wiggins Store
became a gathering spot for the Manatee community. Customers
lingered to catch up on village news, listen to Wiggins’ phonograph, or
play a game of checkers.
is for Tin Can Tourists.
is for Villa Zanza.
is for Wiggins Store.
is for Tin Can Tourists.
is for Villa Zanza.
is for Wiggins Store.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places youll go.
— DR. SEUSS, I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!
The Champions of Education believe that children are our future.
These Champions have invested in our communitys youth and education by partnering with Realize
Bradenton in this first-ever children’s book about Bradenton, Florida.
Reading a book about our community takes on special meaning when learning about the history, people,
plants, landmarks, and animals of the area where the City of Bradenton was founded.
Annie & Alex Breitinger
Realize Bradenton believes that our communitys history, art, and stories create a place where children and the
adults in their lives—parents, aunties, grandparents, neighbors, teachers, and friends— want to live and learn.
As a nonprofit organization, we work with our partners, volunteers, and donors to build a vibrant, healthy,
and FUN Bradenton.
Here are business partners that make our work possible:
feld-logo-B&W-vector.pdf 1 8/20/2018 1:33:31 PM
Champion o Educatio
In Memory of Morris D. Zeigler
Bud & Marjorie Martini
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
Realize Bradenton believes that a book created about the community, by the community, for the community is a
unique opportunity for all generations to embark on a journey through the alphabet to discover more about the
people, places, plants, and animals of the place where the City of Bradenton was founded—Old Manatee.
This picture book builds reading readiness, promotes family connections, and boosts civic pride. Content from
this book also comes alive as public art at the Riverwalk East Park.
Realize Bradenton is honored that an anonymous out-of-state foundation believes in Realize Bradenton and
our ability to make a dierence to the children in our community. Their generosity provided the start-up
funds to make this book a reality.
Realize Bradenton coordinated the team of 12 individuals and enlisted their talents to create Old Manatee A to Z:
Ryan G. Van Cleave is the
author of 20+ books and
heruns the kidlit blogwww. He also
directs the Creative Writing
Program at Ringling College of
Art and Design.
Don Brandes decided to be an
artist sometime around the
2ndgrade. He met his wife Katy
when they were illustrators at
Hallmark Cards. They have two
sons and now work at Ringling
College of Art and Design.
Paula Murray,
Creative Director,
Artefact Design, Inc.
Retired Director of Historical
Resources, Manatee County
Clerk of Circuit Court
Phaedra Dolan,
Deputy Director, Historical
Resources, Manatee County
Clerk of Circuit Court
Jodi Carroll, Special
Projects Manager,
Realize Bradenton
Krystin Miner,
Records Librarian for
Manatee County Clerk
of Circuit Court
Catherine Ferrer,
Community Engagement
Coordinator, Realize
David Breakfield,
Manatee County
Johnette Isham,
Executive Director,
Realize Bradenton
Sherry Robinson Svekis,
Vice President of Reflections
of Manatee
Karen Fraley Willey,
Naturalist,Around the
Bend Nature Tours LLC
Purchase this book at