Anna Maria Island History

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Information for Florida Vacations on Anna Maria Island

The Timucan and Caloosan American Indian tribes were the first known inhabitants of the area, but the recorded history of the Island began around 1530 when Spanish explorers such as Hernando DeSoto claimed all of Florida for the Spanish Crown. Ponce de Leon named the island Ana-Maria-Cay to honor the Virgin Mary and her mother Anne. 

About Anna Maria Island | Anna Maria Island History

The first modern settler of Anna Maria Island was George Emerson Bean, who became the first permanent resident in 1892. In the early 1900s, Bean and the Anna Maria Beach Compan ybegan to develop Anna Maria city Laying out streets, builing sidewalks and houses and installing a water system. Another early inhabitant of Anna Maria City was John Roser, the creator of the Fig Newton, which he eventually sold to Nabisco Brands.

For years, boats were the only means of access to Anna Maria Island. It was not until 1921 that Anna Maria was connected to the mainland by a wooden bridge that extended from the fishing village of Cortez to the Island. The fishing pier in Bradenton Beach is the western end of that original bridge.

After World War II, Jack Holmes developed the town of Holmes Beach on 600 acres near the center of Anna Maria Island. In 1948, a small airstrip was built near Holmes beach, but the airstrip was closed after an airplane accident in 1970. The Actress Esther Williams bought property on the island after she fimed the movie "On An Island With You" with Peter Lawford here.

















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