Plan Your Visit

Plan your visit to Manatee Village Historical Park.

Start now

Special Events & Programs

Mark your calendar for upcoming programs!

View Events

Needs & Fundraising


General Donation

Unspecified donations to Manatee Village Historical Park will be applied to exhibit enhancements, outdoor signage, archival supplies, volunteer incentives, and to enhance the visitor experience.

And support us through Amazon Smile! When shopping on Amazon, use and select the Manatee County Historical Commission Inc. as your charity: MCHC Amazon Smile Profile. Everything available on Amazon's regular shopping page is available on Smile, and items marked "Eligible for Amazon Smile" will result in a 0.5% donation at no cost to you.

Manatee Village Historical Park Restoration Fund

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.

Community Programming

Lectures, workshops, and other cultural programs are provided throughout the year, sometimes free or at a minimal cost to cover supplies, to bring high quality humanities presenters to our community and foster a deeper appreciation for Florida's history and cultural heritage. Community and individual sponsors help reduce, and sometimes eliminate, the need to charge an entrance fee for these events.

Manatee History Day Sponsorship

Manatee History Day

The Manatee History Day is a district competition in the National History Day program and is aimed at promoting civics and history education. This program engages students in grades 6-12 in the discovery and interpretation of historical research. Students choose an historical topic related to an annual theme and conduct extensive research using libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews, and websites. After analyzing and interpreting their primary and secondary sources and drawing conclusions about their topic’s significance in history, students work creatively and collaboratively to present their work in an original paper, exhibit, website, performance, or documentary. These presentations are held at the classroom, county, state, and national levels. Research has shown that students who participate in National History Day perform better on high-stakes tests, are better writers, more confident and capable researchers, and have a more mature perspective on current events than their peers. More information on this study can be found at

Each year, local sponsors, help strengthen education in our community and reward students for their hard work and dedication through support of programs costs, awards, and scholarships to help families cover travel expenses at the state and national levels of competition. Thanks to our 2014-15 History Fair sponsors, we were able to help support a team of 28 students who competed in Florida History Day and send seven students and one teacher at the National History Day competition in College Park, Maryland.

Manatee History Day sponsorship levels are as follows:

  • Platinum Sponsor $1,500 +: 12 awards, name listed in awards programs and promotional material, and will appear on the Manatee County State History Day Team T-shirts
  • Gold Sponsor $750 - $1,499: 9 awards and name listed in awards programs and promotional material
  • Silver Sponsor $500- $749: 6 awards and name listed in awards programs and promotional material
  • Bronze Sponsor $250 - $499: 3 awards and name listed in awards programs and promotional material
  • Friends of Manatee History Day Sponsor $1 -$249: name listed in awards programs and promotional material

Special Events Sponsorship

Our Public Programs aim to educate the public about life in Southwest Florida in the 19th and early 20th centuries and development of the Manatee lands.The Manatee County Historical Commission believes that history lays the groundwork for strong, resilient communities. Understanding who we are, where we came from, and why is vital to developing a sense of place, which connects people to each other and to their community. Special events like these allow us to broaden the reach of our mission to include new audiences and to encourage the appreciation and preservation of our rich local heritage. They are designed to make local history accessible and engaging – even for those who may not consider themselves “history buffs.”

For more information on becoming a sponsor for one of our Special Events, contact Village staff at or call 941-749-7165.

The Manatee County Historical Commission, Inc. is a 501©(3) organization. Contributions to it are normally tax deductible under current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) codes. ID Number 59-1905082

Every charitable organization or sponsor that is required to register under s. 496.405 or is exempt under s. 496.406(1)(d) shall conspicuously display the following statement on every solicitation, confirmation, receipt, or reminder of a contribution: “A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) OR ON THE INTERNET REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.” REGISTRATION #: CH418


1404 Manatee Avenue East 
(SR 64)
Bradenton, FL. 34208



Village Hours

Monday – Friday and 2nd & 4th Saturdays of each month

9:00am – 4:00pm

Closed holidays and their corresponding weekends.