The Bradenton's area ties to history
Florida: Home to an abundant citrus crop, beaches, an animated mouse with a theme-park empire, and deep ties to history. Yes, history.
"A lot of people dont realize how much history Florida has," says Ted Unger, a park ranger with the Florida Parks system. "Florida has an extensive history."
While Florida only officially became a state in 1845, the state can trace its earliest roots to Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer who discovered the land in 1493, just a year after Columbus's discovery of America. The Bradenton area in particular is no stranger to Florida's deep historic roots. The area boasts a unique tie to Florida's history: The Robert Gamble Plantation.
Located in Ellenton, Fla., the Gamble Plantation is the only surviving antebellum mansion in south Florida. Now a museum open to the public 365 days a year, it has a unique appeal for history buffs and architecture fans alike.
The house was originally built by Colonel Robert Gamble, who went down to the state to claim land.
"Anyone who came here under the Arms Occupation Act, you got 160 acres of land for free as long as you stay here for 5 years," says Unger, who works at the plantation.
Gamble set to work building a working plantation for himself. Built over the course of seven years in the Greek Revival Vernacular style, the plantation made use of what modern architects would call green building practices.
The house has two-foot thick walls and patio that circled the entire house to help keep it cooler. Gamble used local oyster shells to create a cement-like substance that made up the house's bricks.
Eventually Gamble went into debt, selling the estate to his creditors in 1856 and laying the foundation for the house's most critical historic role: shelter for a fleeing member of the Confederate government. Secretary of State for the Confederacy, Judah P. Benjamin, hide out in the Gamble House while he was waiting to secure a safe passage to England.
The house, which has been owned and operated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy since 1925, now has guided tours six times a day to detail the property's connections to history.
"The house is the way Robert gamble would have had it," Unger says.The tours run about an hour and visitors can spend the rest of the day picnicing at one of the house's two picnic areas.
The Gamble House is open to the public 8 a.m. to sundown 365 days a year. Learn more about planning a visit on its website.
- June 8 - 3rd Annual Ultimate Kentucky Derby Bash at the Polo Grill
- June 15 - Bradentucky Bombers Women's Roller Derby
- June 21-23 - Onshore Offshore Boat Show
- June 22 - Mixon's Antiques, Arts and Crafts Fairs
- June 29 - 6th Annual Fish Fry and Shrimp Boil
- July 4 - Palmetto Fourth of July Festival