Community defined by quirks and oddities
>> Hundreds gather to wish Snooty a happy birthday at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton. BRIAN BLANCOemail@example.com Braidentown. Fontana Lane. And that smell around town some mornings. These are but a few of the subtle charms that distinguish our fair city. Of course, not everyone may get that at first, but give it time and the place will grow on you. To wit: That citrusy aroma lingering over Bradenton some mornings is Tropicana's feed mill burning leftover orange peels after the juice has been squeezed out. The peels are cooked and then turned into cattle feed. The late Seymore Sailes liked to call that aroma, "The smell of money." Where did Braidentown come from? Blame it on the mail. When the town was officially named for Dr. Joseph Braden in 1878, the U.S. Post Office misspelled it and the name stuck until 1903 when it was incorporated as Bradentown. The "w" was dropped four years later. Interestingly, Braden, a sugar plantation owner and major land holder in what is now downtown, was long gone by the time the town was named after him by a founder, Maj. William Iredell Turner. Financial duress, which had forced Braden to leave Tallahassee in 1843, befell him again in 1857, whereupon he returned to Tallahassee. Fontana Lane, a lovers' lane for tree lovers, too. It's a cozy canopy of Cuban Laurel trees also called ficus nitila that embrace Harbor Road in the Harbor Hill subdivision in a living tunnel, giving the road continuous shade by day. The trees were planted in the 1920s by Reasoner Brothers Landscaping. Snooty. For many of us, the beloved manatee who resides in Parker Aquarium at South Florida Museum is probably the first manatee we've ever seen that up close and personal. By the way, Snooty turns 60 this July 21. What's with the way eastbound Manatee Avenue curves south and around downtown? It was the Florida Department of Transportation's solution to traffic congestion through Bradenton's urban core in the early 1970s. Businesses fought it because it took away their parking. The new route also hastened the exodus of downtown businesses to new shopping centers like DeSoto Square mall and Westgate. Legend has it the FDOT's re-routing of Manatee Avenue didn't stop the late Rut Robinson. A Cox Chevrolet salesman when the dealership was still downtown, he insisted on driving to work the old way, tickets be hanged. Turner Donuts. Started in 1960 by the late Carl Turner, the donut shop at the corner of Ninth Avenue West and Ninth Street West is a throwback to the good ol' days. It continues to be a favorite stop for folks who enjoy starting their day with a cup of coffee and neighborly conversation before heading off to work with a bag or box of donuts. When the town was officially named for Dr. Joseph Braden in 1878, the U.S. Post Office misspelled it as Braidentown until 1903, when it was incorporated as Bradentown. The "w" was dropped four years later.