Buildings and Exhibits
The Wars of Manatee
November 2021 - October 2022
Explore how the pioneers and settlers of what became Manatee County experienced the various armed conflicts during their time. From the Seminole Wars to World War I, settlers couldn't escape the fall out of the Wars of Manatee.
Exhibit made possible through generous loans from the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature,
The Florida Maritime Museum, Mrs. Katherine Van Leuven, Mr. William Tindle,
Mr. Mathew J Sterman, and Mr. Joshua Berschultzer
Map Credit: Military Map of Florida, 1856. Courtesy of the Special Collections Department, University of South Florida.
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Old Cabbage Head
This 1913 steam engine, known as Old Cabbage Head, got its name from its rounded smokestack. It served in northern Florida as part of the turpentine industry before coming to Manatee to shuttle supplies for the Manatee-Nocotee Crate Company.
Old Cabbage Head is in need of conservation. To make a donation, sign into Paypal and donate to "Manatee County Historical Commission, Inc." here.
Hear an "Ode to Old Cabbage Head"
by Brian Milgate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_sCpm_qNY4
Read an article about our restoration plans: https://www.observernews.net/2020/03/25/old-cabbage-head-locomotive-restoration/
Wiggins General Store
Our 1903 Wiggins General Store includes exhibits, Whistle Stop Gift Shop, and employee offices.
King Wiggins built the store from bricks shipped in on the railroad. The store served the Town of Manatee. Upstairs, Wiggins operated a boarding house for visitors who came from miles away to shop in his store.
Current exhibits include:
One Century Plus of Ranching in Manatee County
Old Cabbage Head
Religion in Manatee
The Curator's Corner display case is located on the second floor of the Wiggins General Store.
Currently, artifacts include a ca. 1911 corbel from the Covington House, a 19th Century surveyor's chain, and K. W. Wiggins' Merchandise Invoice.
Built by Captain Bat Fogarty, member of a boatbuilding and seafaring family, the boat shop contains original tools and equipment. The Fogarty family's arrival in Manatee County was the start of the boat-building business in our area.
A replica of a typical pioneer blacksmith shop. The blacksmith was essential to frontier settlements making everything from nails and horseshoes to wagon parts and farm equipment.
A typical Florida pioneer farmhouse built in a “Cracker Gothic” architectural design.
The Settler's House was constructed in 1912 by the Will Stephens Family and commonly referred to as the "Stephens House." It was originally located on a farm near the community of Ona in Hardee County, Florida.
Smokehouse and Mill
The smokehouse and sugar cane mill and kettle were important parts of a pioneer farm. They were used to preserve meat and to make cane syrup.
A replica of the Harllee Barn and represents a Florida barn. Barns in Florida did not have to be as large as their northern counterparts. Florida barns did not house animals since the mild climate allowed them to stay outside all year long. Florida barns typically housed seeds, tools, and equipment
The 1887 church took two years to build due to an outbreak of yellow fever. It was originally the home of the Union Congregation, which later became the Methodist-Episcopal Church South.
Manatee County was formed in 1855. Five years later, the community built this small wood framed courthouse. All government activities for the sprawling 5,000 square mile wilderness took place in this courtroom.
The community of Bunker Hill was located in Manatee County’s northeast corner. Community members built this one-room schoolhouse in 1908. It was a “strawberry school” as the children only attended class from August to December. During the rest of the year, they worked on their family’s farm.
1850 Manatee Burying Grounds
Located across 15th Street East (East of Manatee Village), this is one of the oldest organized burial grounds on the west coast of Florida and the final resting place of many Manatee Village pioneers. The Burying Grounds are open during museum hours, ask staff in the Wiggins Store for access and you will be given a key that allows a self tour.
This train-themed playground provides a place for visitors age 2-12 years to let off some steam during their time at the Park. Picnic tables and live oak trees provide a place for families to relax.
Thanks to our sponsors:
Kiwanis Club of Bradenton Foundation, Inc.
City of Bradenton
Kiwanis Club of Cortez, Inc.