Help Us Preserve Old Cabbage Head
The most recognizable icon and a popular feature for visitors to Manatee Village Historical Park is “Old Cabbage Head”, the 1913 Baldwin steam locomotive. For decades, visitors crossing the DeSoto Bridge were greeted at the riverside by “Old Cabbage Head” with the phrase “Welcome to Bradenton” painted on the tender car.
In 2002, it was moved from Rossi Park to Manatee Village Historical Park. In 2006, the structure was restored for preservation and public enjoyment. As with all historical structures, time and the elements take their toll, making preservation a constant process. With continued direct exposure to the elements, it is yet again time to restore the iron structure, and it has only been eleven years since the last effort at preservation was completed. In an effort to prolong the life of this beloved local landmark, as well as to ensure that the next planned restoration lasts as long as possible, the Manatee County Historical Commission is asking for $8,000 to build a simple structure which will shield the locomotive from the elements. Plans for this structure to protect “Old Cabbage Head” will maintain the visibility of the locomotive from Manatee Avenue and continue to allow visitors to access the landmark from inside Manatee Village, just as they do today.
Because “Old Cabbage Head” has been a visible part of our community for decades, it is a point of connection between generations. Many people share fond memories of the landmark, and wish to bring their children to Manatee Village to visit with the structure, take photographs with it, and relate experiences from days gone by. Completion of this project will help to prolong the life of a Manatee County landmark and reinforce the importance of preserving Manatee Village Historical Park’s collection of restored structures and the opportunities they present for visitors to connect with our local heritage.
Manatee Village includes twelve structures and points of interest which were originally constructed during Manatee County’s settlement period, between 1860 and 1918. Each of these serves as a sort of time machine - an educational tool and monument to those who established our community, as well as a place to create dialog which reaches across generations and bridges cultural differences. Yet, beyond these, there are many and varied benefits that come from historical preservation projects like ours. They keep our community beautiful, vibrant, and livable. Historic preservation supports community building by making our surroundings richer for having the tangible presence of past eras and historic styles.
In 2014, more than 12,000 visitors of all ages and backgrounds were immersed into Manatee County’s pioneer past through their “time travel” amongst the buildings and structures at Manatee Village Historical Park. Each restoration project completed is a testament to the success of the program. Our most recent success is that of restoring the 1887 Old Meeting House Church Steeple.
Current Preservation Project: 1886 William H. Vanderipe House.
The Vanderipe House was built by William H. Vanderipe, a prominent cattleman and store operator who served on the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners. The building was moved to Manatee Village Historical Park and is intended to be used for meeting space, records storage, and educational programming. The Vanderipe House project is an exciting opportunity for us to demonstrate that an historic building can not only be saved, but given a new purpose that fulfills modern needs and recalls our community’s historic character.
Currently, through a Community Development Block Grant, architectural plans and site evaluations are underway which will provide the groundwork for a comprehensive restoration plan. Funds are needed to continue the work that will be laid out with this plan.