Steamship Mistletoe: Sarasota’s first reliable link to towns along Manatee River

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Photograph: Mistletoe/City of Sarasota steamship Courtesy of the State Archives of Florida By Krystin Miner It may surprise some to hear that Manatee County did not always look the way it does now. In fact, at one point, our county included what became DeSoto, Highlands, Glades, Hardee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. Sarasota would remain as […]

The Great Depression hit Florida before 1929

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A family of migrant fruit pickers from Tennessee is shown in Winter Haven in 1937. Arthur Rothstein Florida State Archives By Kristin Sweeting In the minds of many, the stock market crash of 1929 identified the beginning of the Great Depression. A lot of us know the history of events surrounding this economic downtown through […]

Egmont Key provided shelter against Confederates in Civil War

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Egmont Key during the Civil War Illustration courtesy of the Florida Memory Project By Krystin Miner Florida was the third state to secede from the United States and join the Confederacy. It was also one of the pivotal states when it came to the blockade, which intended to keep the South isolated from trade with […]

Temple Mounds and Tampa Bay

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Image provided by the Florida Memory Project BY JOHN BEALE Archaeologists found stone tools and mastodon bones with cut marks earlier this year in the Aucilla River, near Tallahassee. These finds could mean the first humans lived in Florida about 14,500 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, when giant sloths and […]

Powel Crosley Jr. Built an Engine for War

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Image provided by the Florida Memory Project BY JOHN BEALE In 1939, Powel Crosley Jr. felt the time was right for Americans to have the option of a small inexpensive car. His first model was a tiny two-seater powered by an air-cooled two-cylinder engine. Two years later, he started production, using the same engine, of […]

Passage Key, a small island with a big history

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Photo courtesy of the Florida Memory Project. Just off the northern coast of Anna Maria lies a small sand island with a big history. Passage Key, once an island of more than 60 acres with a rich ecosystem, including a freshwater lake, was first identified by Spanish and British explorers as they entered Tampa Bay. […]

Behind every great fisherman… the great women of Cortez!

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Photo courtesy of Florida Memory Project. While the rich wilderness and abundant marine life was very appealing to Florida’s early male settlers, it presented many challenges for their female kinfolk. Often relocating from communities with established social, educational and religious structures, these women were faced with re-creating their societal comforts from scratch, in addition to […]

Cuban fishermen set up ranchos in Manatee

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Palmetto thatch huts, courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. Starting in the early to mid-1700s, Cuban fishermen began sailing north to the Gulf Coast of Florida. They would set up seasonal camps and fish with nets for four to six months. They would dry their catch in the sun, pack the fish with […]

Shell middens hold pieces of Manatee County history

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Photo courtesy of the Florida Memory Project It’s a simple concept: a pile of discarded shells. They’re not at all the beautiful sea shells that are collected along the shore not far away. The simple mound, also called a midden, is all that remains of many of the local native villages. Although humble in their […]

Steam locomotive launched Gulf Coast fishing industry

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Image credit: Florida Memory Project By JOHN BEALE When one thinks of early Florida fishermen, there are a lot of images that come to mind: nets being dried in the sun, fish smoked for another day, the thunk thunk thunk of a boat being repaired to get through one more season. What doesn’t usually come […]