North Port – Sarasota – Bradenton, Florida This tri-city region is also one of the country’s happiest communities, which may explain why it is the 10th fastest-growing metropolitan area in the United States. Located on the Gulf Coast of Southwest Florida, this region is known for its cultural attractions including museums, free outdoor concerts, and unique restaurants. The natural beauty of Manatee and Sarasota counties draws visitors in and they never want to leave.
Railroad service would be extended from Palmetto across the Manatee River to Bradenton in 1902. Bradenton would be incorporated on May 19, 1903. One of the earliest moves made by the municipal government was amending the name to “Bradentown”. The city took the name of Dr. Joseph Braden of Virginia, whose nearby fort-like house was a refuge for early settlers during the Seminole Wars. On December 29, a streetcar line would begin operation going from Bradenton to the neighboring city of Manatee and would go west crossing Wares Creek to the nearby community of Fogartyvill The company operating the line would have financial difficulties likely due to a lack of ridership and would cancel the line in 1906.
In 1912, the first road, Range Road leading from present day Bradenton (then, Manatee) to Sarasota was built. Also during that year, the original county courthouse was bought and moved to a new location becoming a grade school for black students in the area, Lincoln Academy Grammar School. A new courthouse would be built on the site of the old one which still stands today in the following year, 1913.
The current city of Bradenton was formed in 1943, when the Florida legislature merged the cities of Manatee (incorporated in 1888) and Bradentown.