Riverview Boulevard is what did it for me.
The view of the Manatee River, along with the beautiful palms lining the street, made me fall in love with Bradenton 22 years ago. It’s one of the things I still love about living here and something that has not changed.
Even though I am far from an old timer, I have seen a lot of change in the years I’ve been here. Here are 10 (in no particular order and of no particular importance); I’m hoping you’ll add to my list:
1) Lakewood Ranch did not exist. In fact, East County was still a sleepy place. I am still amazed at the explosion of growth. I briefly entertained the idea of moving out East, but my five-minute drive to the beach means more to me than living close to the interstate.
2) Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston was the editor (and my boss) at the Bradenton Herald. At that time, the newspaper was named one of the best small newspapers in the country. Now, the newspaper industry is dying a slow death.
3) City Hall was located on the banks of Wares Creek, not the Manatee River. The County Building was across the street from the Bradenton Herald, not downtown.
4) Old Main Street was pretty dead. There was one bar: the First Mate. Downtown continues to grow and I look forward to the opening of two new restaurants in the near future.
5) Bradenton had its five minutes of trashy fame when it was revealed that a local woman had married her father. We’ve had a host of other Jerry Springer-like episodes, but that one really stands out. Anyone know where the Hendrys are now?
6) Only cows and a golf course could be found on the stretch of State Road 70 that starts at 34th Street West and curves around to become 75th Street West. Many of our golf courses are now housing developments (Palma Sola Trace, for one).
7) You could afford to buy property on the island. I’m still kicking myself over that one!
8) The county had to pass a law about T-backs, also known as thongs, on the beach.
9) Ron and Ron, popular radio DJs, hosted an event on Palma Sola Causeway that has now become legendary. For you relatively new residents, there was a restaurant on the causeway called the High Seas that also was legendary.
10) The demise of the Buccaneer restaurant on Longboat Key. This last change actually is more personal than the others, as I have distinct memories from childhood (40 plus years ago) of eating at the Buccaneer when I visited my grandmother, who would spend winters on Longboat. I loved the pirate theme and the treasure chest. I also loved going to the beach on Longboat and watching the coquinas burrow into the sand.
At least the coquinas haven’t changed!