What is the History of Anna Maria Island, FL?

Looking to vacation in Anna Maria Island for your next getaway? Your family will have tons to see and do, including learning about the fascinating history. Here, we’ve broken down a brief history of Anna Maria Island and its towns. Be sure to explore them all when you’re staying in one of our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals!

Anna Maria

Anna Maria Island is a barrier island found on the coast of Manatee County, Florida. It is roughly seven miles long and is bounded on the west by the Gulf of Mexico and on the east by Anna Maria Sound. Anna Maria Island was settled in the beginning of the 20th century by Confederate Deputy Marshall and Tampa Mayor Madison Post. Cuban fishermen were the first visitors to Anna Maria Island. 

In 1892, George Emerson Bean became the first resident of Anna Maria Island, homesteading much of what is now the city of Anna Maria. The first bridge that was built to connect Anna Maria Island to mainland Florida began construction in the summer of 1921. Nearly a century later, Anna Maria Island has become one of the most popular locations in Florida! Its wildlife and nature have attracted many to the island all year round. 

Holmes Beach

Holmes Beach is a city that occupies the central part of Anna Maria Island and is one of the three municipalities on the island. In 1896, Sam and Annie Cobb were amongst the settlers of the island and developed the homestead in Holmes Beach. Other settlers soon joined the Cobbs in developing the area. Holmes Beach was named after John E. Holmes, the property developer who started planning the community after World War II. 

The island’s first post office was established in 1902, and Halsey T. Tichenor served as Holmes Beach’s first mayor in 1950. The first settlers of the island had to hack through the dense jungles just to create a sandy washboard road. Back then, facing rattlesnakes, wildcats, and panthers was a common occurrence. Today, Holmes Beach remains a popular tourist destination with a wide array of vacation rentals and a dedicated community of permanent and winter residents. 

Plan Your Visit

Our Anna Maria Island rentals put you in the middle of the action! Contact us today for more information on the area or help with booking your vacation rental.

Bradenton Beach

Bradenton Beach was established in 1842. The town was originally spelled “Bradentown.” The city took its name after Dr. Joseph Braden, whose nearby fort-like house was a refuge for early settlers during the Seminole Wars. The current city of Bradenton was formed in 1943, when the Florida Legislature merged the cities of Manatee. There are many historical buildings in the area including the Braden Castle Park Historic District, the Bradenton Bank and Trust Company Building, the Bradenton Carnegie Library, Iron Block Building, the Manatee County Courthouse, and the Peninsular Telephone Company Building. 

From 1905 through to 1924, Bradenton Beach began to prosper as tourism began to take off.

A new city hall and courthouse was constructed in 1913. Tourism continues to flourish in the Bradenton Beach area with a bigger emphasis on vacation rental homes and other tourism-based industries being the central part of the economy. Tropicana Products is the big industry in Bradenton Beach, founded in 1947 by Anthony T. Rossi. By 2004, it had over 8,000 employees and marketed its products through the United States. In 2003, Pepsi relocated most of Tropicana’s headquarters to Chicago; the juice production, however, is still being facilitated in Bradenton. Other businesses in the area include Champ Sports, the nationwide sports apparel store. 

No matter which of the towns you stay in, there’s so much history to explore in Anna Maria Island, Florida. Your whole family (even the four-legged members!) will love getting out and about when you stay in one of our Anna Maria Island pet-friendly rentals. Contact us today to get started.