Historic Preservation


Manatee County protects its historical resources in order to preserve the cultural, architectural and archaeological history of the County, and to provide opportunities for education, aesthetic value and passive enjoyment of the resources.

Manatee County’s Land Development Code (Zoning Code) protects historic resources by designating them with a Historical and Archaeological Overlay District. (HA) These areas have special regulations applied to them in order to preserve the character of the existing resource or resources. (LDC 403.5)

Development or construction within the Historical and Archaeological Overlay Districts may be subject to a review by the County’s Historic Preservation Board. That review is known as the Certificate of Appropriateness process. (LDC Section 347)

The Comprehensive Planning Division works closely with the Division of Historical Resources of the Manatee County Clerk’s Office. The Clerk's Office manages the Manatee County Historical Village as well as the 1912 Schoolhouse in Cortez. Manatee County also works closely with the state Division of Historical Resources and the federal National Register of Historic Places.

Meeting are held the second Monday at 3 P.M. in the 1st Floor Commission Chambers at the Manatee County Administrative Venter, 1112 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205.

All agendas will be posted through this system. Click the button below to access the new system. Watch a video about how to use the new system.

View current and upcoming agendas

FL Historic Preservation Comprehensive Planning Regional Meeting

Forms and Policies

Applications & Additional Information

Comprehensive Plan

Land Development Code (LDC)

Go to Municode to view the following sections of the Land Development Code:

  • Section 201 - Definitions
  • Section 306 - Historic Preservation Board
  • Section 401 - Cortez Fishing Village Design Guidelines
  • Section 509 - Variances
  • Section 514 - Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)
  • Section 514.2.1 - Whitfield Estates Historical and Archaeological Overlay District
  • Section 514.2.2 - Terra Ceia Historical and Archaeological Overlay District
  • Section 514.2.3 - Cortez Fishing Village Historical and Archaeological Overlay District
  • Section 522 - Historic Landmark Designation
  • Section 604.6 - HA: Historical and Archaeological Overlay District
  • Section 604.6.8.1 - Cortez Fishing Village Historical and Archaeological Overlay District
  • Section 604.7 - WR - Whitfield Residential Overlay District
  • Section 720 - Historic Vista Protection Area
  • Section 1106 - Alteration, Enlargement or Movement of Nonconforming Structure
  • Section 1204 - Additional Penalties

Historic Preservation Board - Certified Local Government

Manatee County’s Historic Preservation Board was established in order to preserve and protect Manatee County’s archaeologically and historically significant sites.

To further demonstrate the county’s commitment to saving what is important from the past for future generations, Manatee County Government became a Certified Local Government (CLG) as of October 27, 2014.

The Certified Local Government Program is a preservation partnership between local, state and national governments focused on promoting historic preservation at the local level. The program is jointly administered by the National Park Service (NPS) and the Florida State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

As a Certified Local Government (CLG), local cultural and historic resources, significant to the history of Manatee County, may be granted a locally significant historic landmark designation.

The designation provides protection to those sites worthy of preservation. Any exterior improvements/renovations would require a Certificate of Appropriateness.

Matching grant funds may be available to conduct surveys to identify and evaluate significant historic properties, to fund the preparation of National Register nominations as well as funding development of preservation education materials, publications or other media presentations of the community’s history.

As a Certified Local Government, the Historic Preservation Board is composed of five volunteer members who are appointed by the County Commission. The advisory board consists of professional members from disciplines such architecture, archaeology, conservation, landscape architecture, historic preservation or related areas. The HPB will meet a minimum of 4 times a year in the First Floor Board Chambers of Manatee County Administrative Building, 1112 Manatee Ave. W.

The Historic Preservation Board will continue to educate the public on the value of preserving historic resources, participate in training programs as funds are available, assist in the surveying and inventorying of historic and archeological sites and promote the local historic landmark program.


Historical & Archaeological (HA) Districts

What are Historical and Archaeological (HA) Overlay Districts?
Historical and Archaeological Overlay Districts are designated areas of the County whereby additional Land Development Code (LDC) and State Regulations are enforced to prevent destruction or modifications of historic structures, artifacts, and/or district characteristics. You must obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness before you will be allowed to obtain a building permit.

Below are links to the Historical and Archaeological (HA) Overlay Districts, Historic Vista Protection Areas, Mounds and associated Maps. Scroll through the following sections to find a specific subject.

Crosley Estate

Terra Ceia

Village of Cortez


Historic Vista Protection Areas

What are Historic Vista Protection Areas?
Historic Vista Protection Areas are designated areas of the County whereby additional Land Development Code (LDC) and State Regulations are enforced to protect and perpetuate certain vistas for designated public places within the County. You must obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness before you will be allowed to obtain a building permit.

Desoto National Monument

Gamble Plantation

Burial Mounds

Platform Mounds. There are four platform or “temple” mounds known in Manatee County. These are large structural mounds, usually in the shape of truncated pyramids with an access ramp up one side; similar mounds in northwest Florida had structures on their summit. Platform mounds were built by the latest prehistoric culture, known as Safety Harbor, and were being used when the first European explorers landed in Florida. Platform Mounds are associated with large village settlements and these sites offer a valuable look into the social structures of the Safety Harbor peoples. Of these four sites, the Madira Bickel Mound is a State Archaeological Site, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places; the Portavant and Pillsbury mounds are covered by the County Historical/Archaeological Overlays. The Harbor Key mound is located along the west shore of Bishop Harbor and seems to be protected from development by virtue of its mangrove wetland location, although its remote location makes it a prime target for vandals.

Source: “An Archaeological Resource Inventory and Archaeological Site Predictive Model for Manatee County Florida”, page 35. Study conducted by Piper Archaeology / Janus Research, St. Petersburg, Florida, January 1992.

Special Projects


The Burton Store is a visual document of the architectural, economic and social history of the Florida fishing village known as Cortez, Florida. It is the oldest commercial building in the community, and the center around which the Village of Cortez grew. This nineteenth century store is commonly referred to as the Burton Store after proprietor Jesse Burton who leased the building shortly after it was completed for W. A. Adams in 1890, later becoming an early turn of the century waterfront hotel.

Built on pilings over the water and connected to the Bratton Dock, the Burton Store is also referred to as the Bratton Store. The Bratton’s were among the first settlers in the area and their dock was one of the most important structures in the small community prior to 1890 when the area was called Hunter’s Point.

Due to the efforts of the Cortez Village Historical Society and the Organized Fisherman of Florida, the Burton Store was saved from demolition in 1991 when the original site was purchased by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Burton Store was held for 16 years on the Cortez waterfront. In 2007 the Burton Store was moved to the 1912 School House grounds. The school house had been purchased in 1999 with a Florida Communities Trust Grant.

Funding for rehabilitation of this 1890 waterfront store has been provided from six different sources, including Manatee County Board of County Commissioners, Marie Selby Foundation, Manatee County’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Manatee County’s Historic Society, and Bright House Network. When completed, the revitalized Burton Store will serve as a multi-use facility providing programs on the history and culture of Cortez. The store will also host a small research library that will serve to educate visitors about the chain of environmental interactions that occur in the bay.

Staff is provided from the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office of Historic Preservation to coordinate and oversee the restoration, and to coordinate volunteers for the rehabilitation.


The 1912 Cortez Schoolhouse/Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez was originally known as the Cortez Rural Graded School, one of the first brick schools in the county. This building was the second schoolhouse for the community of Cortez. The original school house was a one room wooden building, and still stands in the center of Cortez Village. When the new brick building was opened, it consisted of two classrooms with a small center storeroom and office space.

During the hurricane of 1921, it served as a refuge when most of the village of Cortez was destroyed. In 1933, under the Federal Works Progress Administration program, an auditorium was added, creating the current T-shaped floor plan. This building served as a schoolhouse until 1961, at which time it was leased out and used as an art school. It was ultimately sold to Robert Sailors, a master weaver, who made the building his home and studio.

The Cortez Schoolhouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Cortez Historic District, which was designated in 1995. The Schoolhouse and grounds were purchased with a grant from Florida Communities Trust in December, 1999.

The project undertaken has been a full restoration of the Schoolhouse, transforming the building into the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez. This restoration plan includes the removal of hazardous materials, structural stabilization and repair, joists, sub flooring, upgrade of electrical system, installation of environmental and mechanical systems, roof replacement, testing stucco for removal, cleaning and repair of exterior walls, the porch, addition of a handicapped ramp to the building and rehabilitation of exterior doors and windows.

Additional phases, completed through September, 2007, include the restoration of the interior and the addition of museum exhibits. Extensive site plan improvements include pathways, exterior lighting, parking lot, plantings of native species and improvements to groundwater retention.

Funding for this work is being provided by a grant from Florida Department of State, Bureau of Historic Resources, with matching funds from Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Courts, Manatee County Board of County Commissioners, Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage, and local donors.

The full time professional staff of Historic Sites Manager, Curator, and Educator/Volunteer Coordinator are working on site. Following completion of the exhibits, the building was opened to the general public in December, 2007.


Manatee County acquired the Crosley Estate in 1991. A great deal of time and effort has been invested in the restoration of the main house and property.

On May 12, 2008, the Historic Preservation Board of Manatee County approved a Certificate of Appropriateness to allow the restoration of the Carriage House. Manatee County has hired John Parks of Renker, Eich, Parks Architects, Inc., of St. Petersburg, Florida. John has 29 years of experience restoring historic structures. Manatee County will oversee the restoration work which will return the Carriage House to its original appearance. The Carriage House is to be used to support the activities at the main house as originally intended.

For more detailed restoration information clink on the following links:
Manatee County's excerpt of: "Restoration Commitment & Needs" (1 page) or
From Renker, Eich, Parks Architects, Inc. the: "Complete Preservation Plan" (6.87mb)


During the Imagine Manatee visioning project the citizens indicated a desire to protect historic buildings and areas. In response to this need, the Planning Department has instituted a phased approach to surveying the entire County for structures with possible historic value. The first area to be surveyed was the North Central / Parrish area. This area covered 56,302 acres of land.

Funding became available from the Florida Department of State Division of Historic Resources and matched by Manatee County to conduct the survey (State $28,800 / County $30,000). The County hired a historic preservation consultant to conduct the survey. This included the updating the basic information on the known historic buildings in the area and to prepare new additions to the Florida Master Site File. Some existing structures in this area include the Parrish School, built in 1924 and the Parrish United Methodist Church, built in 1899.

The survey was conducted in the first half of 2007. The survey updated 51 previously recorded Florida Master Site File listings and created 91 additional site listings.

Survey report for phase I (11.3 MB PDF)
Map of the study area for phase I

Eaton Room

Overview Manatee County

Historic Courthouse