Anna Maria Village is located at the end of a seven-mile long island with hundreds of years of history, and there are still many historical “secrets” in plain sight… that is if you know where to look! Anna Maria is 9 miles in length and 2 miles wide with beaches on all side of this island with a population was 1,814. The city occupies the northern part of Anna Maria Island and is one of three municipalities on the island. The others are Holmes Beach in the center and Bradenton Beach in the south all located in Manatee County, Florida. Click here to search homes for sale in this area.
Anna Maria Island is the perfect getaway for any ocean-seeker. In 1513 a man named Ponce de Leon started his quest for the Fountain of Youth. This spring was said to have the powers to give eternal youth and heal the sick. The fountain was also said to be surrounded by gold and silver. Ponce began his search for the Fountain of Youth and on his journey discovered Florida on Easter Sunday, naming it Pascua de Florida which means Feast of Flowers. His bold voyages to the East and West of our state opened the doors of imagination for many Spanish explorers. His quest continued through Florida and up the Gulf Coast nearly 500 years ago, during which time he found and named the island Ana-Maria-Cay in honor of theVirgin Mary and her Mother, Anne. He wanted to colonize the area; however, Timucan Indians prevented him from doing so. He decided to return to his base in Puerto Rico.
George Emerson Bean became the first permanent resident of Anna Maria Island in 1892. He was a world traveler who originally came from Connecticut. Today you can visit Bean Point and experience beautiful sunsets on this private stretch of beach near the home of Anna Maria Island’s first resident, George Bean. Bean died in 1898 but just after the turn of the century his son, George Wilhelm Bean joined up with a financier named Charles Roser. Together, they formed the Anna Maria Beach Company and started to develop the streets and lay out the town. Roser is also the inventor of the Fig Newton. In 1898 Kennedy Biscuit joined with other bakeries and formed the National Biscuit Company, now known as Nabisco. The stock purchase created a million-dollar windfall for Roser, who joined his father developing real estate in Florida. The Anna Maria Beach Company built a 678-foot long pier at the end of Pine Avenue in 1911 allowing visitors to come by ship. Through numerous hurricanes the pier survived and still stands to this day. The stroll to the end of the 678-foot Anna Maria City Pier has made Anna Maria Island a travel destination for nearly 100 years.
In 1921 the Original Cortez Bridge was built that connected Anna Maria Island with Cortez. This allowed visitors to commute easily to the Island. It was a wooden bridge linking the island to the mainland. Progress finally came to this island 10 years after WWII. In 1957 a drawbridge was opened on Manatee and Cortez roads. Since then, wining and dining continued on Anna Maria Island and has continued to grow and the towns of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach have become very popular tourist destinations in their own right, and each with their own unique history. Still surrounded by calm and beautiful beaches, Anna Maria Island has a unique history and is an exceptional place to spend your vacation.