Manatee Forest Reserve
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Manatee County is a county in the U.S. state of Florida. Its 2010 population was about 300,000. Its county seat and largest city is Bradenton. Manatee County is a part of the North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota Metropolitan Statistical Area and along with Sarasota County to the south and several counties to the north is often considered part of the Tampa Bay Area.
The area now known as Manatee County was inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years. The southern mouth of the Manatee River was likely the landing site of the De Soto Expedition and is the location of the U.S. National Park Service's De Soto National Memorial.
Manatee County was created in 1855. It was named for the Florida manatee (commonly called a "sea cow" and distantly related to the elephant), which is endangered and the state's official marine mammal.
Every January, the Manatee County Fair takes place at the fairgrounds.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 892.75 square miles (2,312.2 km2), of which 741.03 square miles (1,919.3 km2) (or 83.01%) is land and 151.72 square miles (393.0 km2) (or 16.99%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 264,002 people, 112,460 households, and 73,773 families residing in the county. The population density was 356/sq mi (138/km²). There were 138,128 housing units at an average density of 186/sq mi (72/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 86.36% White, 8.19% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.90% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.84% from other races, and 1.39% from two or more races. 9.30% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 2005 Census estimates show the racial composition of the county as being 77.6% non-Hispanic whites, 11.8% Hispanic, 8.7% African-American and 1.3% Asian. (Source=http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12/12081.html)
In 2000 there were 112,460 households out of which 23.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.70% were married couples living together, 9.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.40% were non-families. 28.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.78.
In the county the population was spread out with 20.70% under the age of 18, 6.50% from 18 to 24, 24.60% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 24.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 93.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $38,673, and the median income for a family was $46,576. Males had a median income of $31,607 versus $25,007 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,388. About 7.10% of families and 10.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.30% of those under age 18 and 6.20% of those age 65 or over.
Bealls of Florida has its headquarters in unincorporated Manatee County.
The Manatee County Public Library System serves the residents of Manatee County with six locations:
The library system provides a variety of services which include adult, young adult, and children's materials, as well as a genealogy section and the Eaton Florida History Reading Room. The libraries also offer extensive programming that includes author luncheons, children's story-times and summer reading programs. Computers for all to use are also provided at all locations. Residents may obtain a library card with a driver's license with their current Manatee County address, or a tax receipt.
Public libraries in Manatee County began in the year 1898 with a privately owned rental library was created by Mrs. Julia Fuller in the Mrs. Bass Dry Goods store. The first independent library building in the county was opened in Bradenton in 1907, followed by Palmetto building a Carnegie Library in 1914 and Bradenton doing the same in 1918. For much of the 20th century, libraries in both cities were free to city residents while county residents had to pay a non-resident fee. In 1964, the city library associations in Bradenton and Palmetto merged with the Manatee County government to create what is now known as the Manatee County Public Library System. This was followed by the establishment of a bookmobile for rural areas in late 1964 and a Talking Books program for the blind in 1966.
As demands on the bookmobile grew and the library collection outstripped the existing buildings in Bradenton and Palmetto, the first branch of the Manatee County Public Library system was built in Bayshore in 1967, followed by a new branch on East Ninth Street in 1969 and an Island branch in 1971, the last of which later moved into a new building in 1983. A new building for the Palmetto Library was built in 1969, eventually followed by the modern Central Public Library in downtown Bradenton in 1978.
The 1990s saw a period of rapid growth for Manatee County, and the library system grew to accommodate, with the Braden River, Rocky Bluff, and South Manatee branches opening in 1991, 1994, and 1998, respectively, and the Braden River branch subsequently moved to a new building in 1997, bringing the Manatee County Library System to its modern state.
Coordinates: 27°29′N 82°22′W / 27.48°N 82.36°W / 27.48; -82.36
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