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A Little History of Anna Maria Island

Published on March 23, 2016 by Terry Whyte

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Anna Maria Island’s history can be seen all around us today, with lots to discover and understand about how this beauty of a location came to be!

When you start to look you will find buildings, museums, murals, paintings, exhibits and events celebrating the rich history that has developed on Anna Maria Island and shaped this relaxed, beautiful location into what it is today.

With so much to see and learn, let’s have a quick look back to the very beginning, then you can go and explore the Island with a few pointers and fill in the details in between with some great afternoons visiting some special locations and enjoying the culture.

Anna Maria Island – The Beginning

The first permanent resident on Anna Maria Island was George Emerson Bean, in 1892, settling with his family at the North end of the Island. You can learn more about the beach named after him here. George and his son George ‘Will’ Wilhelm, along with Charles Roser, are the persons most responsible for developing much of what is now the City of Anna Maria.

From 1910 they surveyed, laid out streets as well as sidewalks and built houses. They assembled a dock, the same City Pier, which attracts fishermen and tourists today at the end of Pine Avenue; as well as large steamers which would bring supplies, mail and visitors to the Island. A bathing pavilion was constructed where the Sandbar restaurant sits today as well as many other historic landmarks, which can still be found on the Island.

Must See Historical Sites on Anna Maria

Bean Point

Named after George Emerson himself, Bean Point is the point at the very tip of the island, where the sandy beaches meet and showcases the most breath-taking views of the sunset on a beautiful, serene and secluded stretch of beach.

Historic Green Village


One, more significant development on the island is the Historic Green Village on Pine Avenue. It is home to several historic buildings including the Rosedale Cottage, built over 100 years ago by Captain Mitch Davies for George W. Bean. Captain Mitch also built the Roser Church, which is across the street from the Green Village, and you can see that both buildings use the same moulded concrete blocks they used to ship in from Tampa.

The City Jail

The City Jail was another construction by Captain Mitch, which still stands on Pine Avenue. See the Icehouse and the Anglers Lodge here too, both over 100 years old.

The Anglers Lodge was a huge process,  as alongside the Sears Cottage (an original Sears Catalog flat pack home), they were actually picked up and moved to the Pine Avenue site from other parts of the island. A significant investment not only of time and money but planning, determination and nerve at that time. As these two old buildings came across water and roads where they were then painstakingly and lovingly re-developed to become the most energy efficient buildings on the island, and one of only 100 buildings with the green accreditations they have in the world!
If you would like to read more about the Historic Green Village and the buildings on site click on this link.
All around the island you will find lots of information about historical sites. Plaques have been written and installed by the Historical Society at key sites of historical prominence and it’s a really great way to discover more about AMI.

Anna Maria Mural

A fantastic mural depicting Anna Maria during the early part of the 20th century when the City Pier was a hive of activity. Passenger steamers would bring visitors and produce from Tampa and fishermen sold their catch to buyers from the mainland, whilst the guitar players played for pennies from the visitors.
Commissioned by Mike and Lizzie Thrasher, it can be found on the wall of 314 Pine Avenue. Go and take a look, it is incredible and another wonderful part of the island heritage.

Anna Maria Historical Society and Historical Park

To find out more about our fantastic island, a visit to the Anna Maria Historical Society and Historical Park is the place to go. Find it in Anna Maria’s old ice house on Pine Avenue, which was built in 1920, you will discover Anna Maria through the years with lots of fantastic old photographs and artefacts from the early 1900’s.
The chance to really learn about the history of what we enjoy today is available here in Anna Maria Island – enjoy learning the fascinating history of this wonderful island on your visit to Anna Maria Island!

Win A Huge $350 towards your next stay with Absolute Anna Maria Island Rentals

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Meet The Author
Hi, I am Terry, my wife Sandy (who writes our blogs) are the caring, hands on owners and managers of Anna Maria Condo Rentals. We’ve been here for years, so we know Anna Maria Island, the island’s condos, and our island’s guests. We understand you – what you need, what you want, and what you’d really like to have. With us, every stay balances the rigorous requirements of professional managers with the enthusiasm, pride and personal touches of an owner-managed rental. That means that with us, you enjoy the dual benefits of an in-the-know local combined with the professionalism and expertise of a serious company. Come on down and experience the difference for yourself. Our family fell in love with Anna Maria Island the first time we visited in 1989. Every summer since, we’ve spent our vacations on this island, and in 1995, we bought our first condo here. Having a young family at the time meant we had to rent our condo to offset ownership costs. Thankfully, by offering luxurious accommodations at an affordable price, we were able to keep the condo booked for an average of 50 weeks a year. These steady bookings allowed us to purchase our second condo in 2013, and a third in 2014. While opening up these homes has allowed us to keep returning to the island—and even better, to a house that feels like home—we also truly enjoy offering a place to guests to discover Anna Maria Island and feel at home here, too.
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