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The area that would become Bradenton (originally spelled “Bradentown”) was first explored in 1539 by the Spanish during the famous expedition led by Hernando De Soto. Bradenton was established in 1842. The original town of Bradentown was incorporated in 1903. The city took the name of Dr. Joseph Braden, whose nearby fort-like house was a refuge for early settlers during Seminole Indian attacks. The current city of Bradenton was formed in 1943, when the Florida legislature merged the cities of Manatee (incorporated in 1888) and Bradentown.
Historic properties in Bradenton include:
- Braden Castle Park Historic District, off of Manatee Avenue and 27th St East
- Bradenton Bank and Trust Company Building, 1925, now the Professional Building, 1023 Manatee Avenue, West,
- Iron Block Building, 1896, 530 12th Street West (Old Main Street)
- Manatee County Courthouse, 1913, 1115 Manatee Avenue, West
- Old Manatee County Courthouse, 1860, 1404 Manatee Avenue, East
- Peninsular Telephone Company Building, 1925, 1009 4th Avenue, West
Geography and climate
According to the United States Census Bureau, Bradenton has a total area of 14.44 square miles (37.4 km2). 12.11 square miles (31.4 km2) of it is land and 2.33 square miles (6.0 km2) of it (16.14%) is water. Bradenton is located on US 41 between Tampa and Sarasota. The area is surrounded by waterways, both fresh and saltwater. Along the Gulf of Mexico and into Tampa Bay are over 20 miles (32 km) of Florida beaches – many which are shaded by Australian pines. Bordered on the north by the Manatee River, Bradenton is located on the mainland and is separated from the outer barrier islands of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key by the Intracoastal Waterway.
Downtown Bradenton is located in the northwest area of the city. Home to many of Bradenton’s offices and government buildings, the tallest is theBradenton Financial Center, 12 stories high, with its blue-green windows. The next tallest is the brand new Manatee County Judicial Center with nine floors, located next to the historic courthouse. Other major downtown buildings include the Manatee County Government building and the headquarters of the School Board of Manatee County.
The eastern side of Bradenton is growing at a rapid rate. Initially starting as the popular subdivision Lakewood Ranch, it is now becoming a heavily populated part of town. Most of the communities are newer than in West Bradenton. However the majority of foreclosures in Manatee County have taken place in that area due to the fact that a much higher loss in value happened compared to the areas of West Bradenton which is located nearer to the beaches.