|Summary of Features
Scenery - good
How Pristine? - in small park near downtown in neighborhood
Swimming - no
Protection - good
Crowds - low recreational use
Access - excellent
Facilities - good
Safety - unknown
Cost - free
From the intersection of State Road 64 and U.S. Highway 41 in Bradenton, drive south on U.S. 41 for about five blocks. Turn left (east) and go another two blocks to park/spring site. Note: JF did not write down the name/number of the side street from U.S. 41, and it may not be 5th Street but is nearby if incorrect.
For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address: http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida
The site of the historic spring is covered with a circular concrete plug that is about 7 feet in diameter and nearly one foot thick. There is no flow or evidence of flow (i.e., a dry run) a the site, which has evidently been dry or plugged for many years. It appears that the spring originally flowed north and emptied into the Manatee River a few blocks away.
- The site has a small park (about 2 acres) with picnic tables and playground equipment.
- A few blocks west of the park, across U.S. 41, is an historic district/village that was once the center of Bradenton.
An historic marker is next to the spring (see photograph) and has the following inscription:
MANATEE MINERAL SPRING
Here flowed a spring which had been used by Indians and was found by Manatee's first white settler, Josiah Gates, who settled nearby in January 1842. It served Branch Fort, when the early settlers camped nearby for protection from the Seminole Raid of 1856. During this encampment, the first child born (March 4, 1856) was Furman Chairs Whitaker, who became Manatee County's first native born doctor, practicing here from 1896, until shortly before his death in 1945. In the early 1900s, the spring became the center of a small park which included a pacnic pavilion.
JF stumbled across the park while visiting the historic district in 1993. He remembered the park and was able to find it again in December 2001, when the photograph was taken.
Other Nearby Natural Features
Lake Manatee State Recreation Area
Little Manatee State Recreation Area
Myakka River State Park
Myakka State Forest
Egmont Key State Park
Fort DeSoto Park/National Historic Site
Oscar Sherer State Park