(WAGL 265: dp. 170; 1. 90'; b. 22'; dr. 4'; s. 7 k.; cpl. 12)
Palmetto was built at Jacksonville, Fla. in 1916 as a tender for the Lighthouse Service. Upon commissioning she immediately assumed tender duties out of her permanent station at Charleston, S.C. She continued to operate out of Charleston until 1939, when the Lighthouse Service became part of the Coast Guard.
She remained in an active status as a Coast Guard buoy tender until 1 November 1941, when Exccutive Order 8929 transferred the Coast Guard to the Navy. Palmetto continued naval service as a buoy tender stationed at Charleston until 1 January 1946, when she returned to the Treasury Department. Thereafter she functioned as a harbor and coastal buoy tender, servicing the nagivational aids in the Charleston area. She decommissioned Z3 May 1958 and was sold 13 April 1959 at Charleston.
Water brought the first settlers here in the middle 1800s and soon, yachtsmen and shippers discovered the beauty and allure of the mile-wide Manatee River. Fertile ground and a suitable climate attracted hearty young couples willing to accept the challenge of the future and the building of a community.
The City of Palmetto dates its beginning to the arrival of Samuel Sparks Lamb in 1868. He is called the &ldquoFather of Palmetto&rdquo and gave the town its name after his home state, South Carolina, the &ldquoPalmetto State&rdquo. In 1897, Florida&rsquos governor signed the charter declaring Palmetto a City in the Sunshine State.
A post office called Palmetto has been in operation since 1868.  Samuel Sparks Lamb is considered the "Father of Palmetto," having surveyed and plotted the city at its outset and donated several plots of land.  He owned a general merchandise store in town.  Samuel Sparks Lamb was from Clarke County, Mississippi and would arrive in the area near the Manatee River in 1868 establishing Palmetto.  The city received its name from the palmetto trees near the original town site.  Palmetto would first be incorporated in May 1893 as a village with it's first mayor being P.S. Harlee. Palmetto would be reincorporated as a city in 1897 and in the following years grew.  In 1902 with the arrival of the railroad, the center of town moved from the waterfront to the train station. 
Compiled during the late 1930s and first published in 1939, the Florida guide listed Palmetto's population as 3,043 and described it as:
on the north bank of the Manatee River, has low frame-and-brick business buildings and numerous clapboard houses. The river front is alive with fishing and pleasure craft. Much of the town's income is derived from the packing and shipping of fruits and vegetables. 
A dolomite mine would exist in Palmetto on the Manatee River from the 1950s to 1974. There would be several failed redevelopment attempts on the property. In 1974 it would almost be sold for residential development but the company purchasing it would back out of it because of an economic recession that was occurring. In 1978, a proposal would be made to create a residential community on the site. It would have contained a nationwide motel chain with a restaurant, high-rise apartments along the Manatee River, single family houses and a shopping center built around a lake created from mining activities. The former 214 acre dolomite mine site would be bought by WC Riveria Partners headed by Linda Svenson. It would be redeveloped starting in 1998 as Riveria Dunes, a residential community with a marina, townhouses and homes.  
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11 km 2 ), of which 4.3 square miles (11 km 2 ) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km 2 ) (2.92%) is water.
|U.S. Decennial Census |
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 12,606 people, 4,891 households, and 3,192 families residing in the city.  The population density was 2,865 inhabitants per square mile (1,106/km 2 ). There were 6,729 housing units at an average density of 1,529.4 per square mile (590.5/km 2 ). The racial makeup of the city was 72.10% White, 10.5% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 14.2% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28.3% of the population. 
There were 4,891 total households: 3,192 (65.3%) family households and 1,699 (34.7%) non-family households. Of the 3,192 family households 23.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 5.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present. Within all households, 28.1% were made up of householders living alone and 14.8% had the individual living alone and was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.07.
In Palmetto, the age distribution among the population includes 24.8% being 19 years old and under, 5.6% from 20 to 24, 21.6% from 25 to 44, 26.0% from 45 to 64, and 22.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.012 males. For every 100 males age 18 and over, there were 98.86 females.
Palmetto is home to Blackburn, Palmetto, James Tillman, Virgil Mills and Palmview Elementary Schools, Lincoln and Buffalo Creek Middle Schools and Palmetto High School. Charter schools include Manatee School for the Arts (grades 6-12), Imagine School of North Manatee (grades K-8), and Palmetto Charter School (grades K-8). [ citation needed ]
The metro area has TV broadcasting stations that serve the Tampa-Saint Petersburg-Sarasota (DMA) as defined by Nielsen Media Research. [ citation needed ]
The city acts as the background for the TNT drama Claws. [ citation needed ]
PALMETTO DUNES HISTORY
It began in the mid-1960s, when several physicians and business executives from Greenwood, South Carolina entered into an innovative business venture with Charles Fraser. For $1,000 an acre, the group bought a 2,000-acre no man’s land on Hilton Head Island. The property would become Palmetto Dunes Resort.
Ten years earlier, the president of Greenwood Mills, Jim Self, Jr. had started investing in Hilton Head property, when no bridge existed and it took a very creative mind to picture what the island could offer. He and Charles Fraser, the modern-day founder of Hilton Head Island, partnered at Sea Pines to build the island’s first golf course the Ocean Course at Sea Pines.
By the mid-1970s, Greenwood was developing a project in Columbia, South Carolina with Environmental Resorts (ERI) a firm whose principals included Bill Gregory, one of the first owners of Palmetto Dunes and Charles Bates, an architect who lived in Palmetto Dunes who designed the original Hyatt Hotel. They contacted the Self family about investing in another of their projects on Hilton Head, the Fazio Villas along the Fazio golf course. Bates was into the second phase of Fazio Villas and was somewhat bogged down, so he asked if Greenwood would take over the third phase of the project. And with that, Greenwood was back in the mix on Hilton Head.
Soon afterward, executives at Greenwood were approached to buy Palmetto Dunes. John Davis, who served as President of Greenwood Development from 1982 to 1999, said that things moved quickly: he decided to sign a 90-day option on Palmetto Dunes in June 1979. A few months later in November, Greenwood Development closed the deal on acquiring Palmetto Dunes, and the land that would become Palmetto Hall and Shelter Cove. At closing, Greenwood Development became Hilton Head’s second-largest landowner.
With a significant presence now secured on Hilton Head, the company determined to create a deliberate and sound development framework for Palmetto Dunes. The community’s legacy already was intact. Now, it was up to Greenwood Development to preserve it, and to advance it.
One giant advantage, already established, was the now-famous lagoon system. It was unlike anything else on the island, and it provided a unique template for future neighborhoods and amenities.
Work had begun to save the Palmetto Dunes beach in 1970. Led by Dr. Per Bruun and with the assistance from a British architect, a team of engineers and equipment operators constructed 11-foot high dunes using sand dredged from the lagoons. The scope of the project was mind-boggling. Massive pipes fed nearly 2 million cubic yards of sand from a 100-ton dredge out to the beach, where the dunes were bulldozed and shaped to the proper dimensions. Tidal gates were installed which today regularly flush the lagoons and control the tides.
“What we have at Palmetto Dunes is really a prototype for other coastal communities,” said Dr. Bruun. “When we developed the lagoon system and built the dunes, there was very little beach at high tide. Palmetto Dunes was all forest, and full of snakes. The solution was the canal system it was considered a radical way to handle things.” And it worked. Today, it is hard to imagine Palmetto Dunes without its 11 miles of navigable lagoons.
Greenwood Development moved its focus to the west side of Highway 278 in 1980, with another major dredging operation that fashioned the deepwater marina at Shelter Cove (and provided 600,000 cubic yards of new sand for the Palmetto Dunes beaches, a remarkable engineering achievement). Officially dedicated in August 1983, in a ceremony next to King Neptune, the largest sundial in the world.
As Shelter Cove grew, the island gained much-needed retail and office environments, as well as a diverse selection of residences. Even the famous statue of King Neptune became a destination, drawing visitors and occasionally curious glances.
“We had to adjust some things in the early 1990s,” said Mr. Davis. The drastically revised tax laws crimped the investor market for rental property. This forced site plan changes throughout Palmetto Dunes, scaling back multi-family homes in favor of single-family homes. Evaluating the market conditions, Greenwood Development made the right adjustments and repositioned its product in the increasingly competitive Hilton Head marketplace. “As a result, we sold out much more quickly than we’d originally anticipated,” said Mr. Davis.
The 21st Century brought continuing improvements and recognition to Palmetto Dunes. In September 2002, renovation of the Robert Trent Jones golf course – the original course in the Resort – was completed. The newly elevated 10th green and the addition of junior tees regenerated the course, adding excitement and accessibility.
Effective January 1, 2006, Greenwood turned over the ownership of the common areas and the operation of Palmetto Dunes (excluding the Shelter Cove and Leamington areas, which had been previously transitioned to its homeowner associations) to Palmetto Dunes Property Owners Association, Inc.
Greenwood retained ownership of the golf courses, the tennis center and certain commercial properties within Palmetto Dunes. The PDPOA had been formed in 1977 mainly to represent the property owners in Palmetto Dunes and to communicate significant events to them. In 2006, the PDPOA became responsible for all operations, including ownership of all streets and roads, the entire lagoon system, beach access paths, and other common areas.
Palmetto Electric Cooperative was formed in 1940 by enterprising rural residents in response to the refusal by investor-owned utilities to serve rural areas. Within two years, the co-op delivered electricity to rural Hampton County and, shortly thereafter, to rural Jasper County. In 1950, lines to Hilton Head were electrified, setting the stage for the island’s rapid growth.
Over the years, Palmetto Electric has purchased electricity from several sources to meet the growing needs of its members. In 1949, it began buying electricity generated by Santee Cooper from Central Electric Power Cooperative. Central, which today represents 20 electric cooperatives from Oconee County to the coast, purchases electricity at reasonable rates for its member cooperatives.
Our customers are also our owners. They have a voice in how the cooperative is operated. Our governing body, the Board of Directors, is composed of members who are elected by other members.
Our programs reflect a spirit of cooperation forged through more than half a century of partnership with our members. It is a way of doing business that sets us apart from other utilities and it is the foundation for our continued growth and success.
For 80 years, the co-op has been meeting the needs of its members by implementing new technology and developing consumer-oriented programs. Palmetto Electric began its partnership in 1998 with Touchstone Energy, a network of 746 cooperatives in 46 states serving more than 16 million customers every day. Through that partnership, we reinvigorated our focus on the core values of accountability, community involvement, innovation and integrity that guide our decision-making and strategic planning.
Today, the cooperative offers several innovative programs that reduce rates, simplify billing, enhance the safety and convenience of electricity, and fund community services to over 75,000 customers in Beaufort, Jasper, and Hampton counties.
Pioneering Palmetto, FL: A Look Back at its 122-Year History
Palmetto, Florida was incorporated on June 15, 1897, when Florida’s governor signed the charter declaring Palmetto a city. That’s almost six years earlier than its neighbor to the south, Bradenton, was recognized, five years before Sarasota, and thirty years before Venice.
A photo from the 1800s in Palmetto. J.K. Parrish’s store “The Old Reliable”. (State Archives of Florida)
Palmetto’s proximity to water, touching both Terra Ceia Bay and especially the mile-wide Manatee River, was an attractive resource for the first settlers who arrived in the mid-1800s. Considered the “Father of Palmetto”, Samuel Lamb relocated to the area in 1868 and named the town Palmetto after his home state of South Carolina, “the Palmetto State”.
Beyond the waterways, the railroad arrived in 1902 and with it, a flurry of new activity. Building was made easier thanks to the steady supply of materials. Palmetto and the region soon earned a reputation for its hospitality and abundant agriculture production.
1895. Thomas A. Mitchell engine of the Palmetto Terminal Company at Palmetto. (State Archives of Florida)
Today, nearly three-million Floridian’s live within a 50-mile radius, creating one of the state’s most stable marketplaces and workforce. But Palmetto itself has remained small with the population listed at 12,606 in the 2010 census.
“People are attracted to Palmetto for its affordable cost of living, rich history, and of course, its scenic waterfront location,” explained Linda Formella, Manager of the Michael Saunders & Company Bradenton offices. “It’s a true community rooted in its shared sense of history and appreciation for the natural environment.”
And Palmetto has done much to preserve its history and the natural environment. The Palmetto Historical Park, featuring buildings that date back as far as 1880, is always open to the public and can be freely explored any day of the week. Meanwhile, The Palmetto Historical Commission actively fosters an awareness and appreciation of the local heritage, preserving historical resources. Emerson Point Preserve is a 365-acre preserve at the tip of Snead Island in western Palmetto home to wildlife, native plant communities, and both prehistoric and historic sites.
Keep scrolling down for a series of photos that will have you truly wondering what life was like in this region over 100 years ago.
The Oaks Hotel, no longer in existence.
(State Archives of Florida)
The Seaboard Air Line Railway crew on a handcar at the depot in Palmetto. Between 1902-1905.
(State Archives of Florida)
The Palmetto Band in front of a store on old Main Street. 1910.
(State Archives of Florida)
Postcard with a note on the back: “New Palmetto Pier… Built by the City of Palmetto at the foot of Main St. overlooking the beautiful Manatee River.”
(State Archives of Florida/Smith)
Discover your own slice of history in this historic Sarah A. Harlee riverfront property for sale that dates back to 1915. Situated on 1.1 acres on the Manatee River, the estate is comprised of a 3,800 sq. ft. home and a detached garage with carriage house.
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Palmetto residents oppose development by boat ramp
PALMETTO, Fla. (WWSB) - A pending sale of a lot across from the Palmetto boat dock has residents attending community meetings in opposition to the sale.
Across the Palmetto boat ramp, boaters have used a large impromptu parking lot on busy weekends for their trailers. Now, that city-owned property is being sold to developers.
“Eighty of those vehicles are going to be turned away because there’s not going to be anywhere to park,” Palmetto resident Rod Griffon said. “I’d probably be one of them, therefore I’d have to drive a great distance to do my job, or not do my job.”
Griffon said that it would then drive that traffic to other boat ramps that don’t have the capacity to handle them. Manatee County Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge has taken up the lead on expanding boat ramp operations in the area. He says there’s an immediate opportunity to restore those spaces.
“In the short term, at Fort Hamer, we can possibly triple the number of spaces at Fort Hamer, we’re also looking to increase the number of spaces at the Kingfish boat ramp, and possibly at Coquina,” Van Ostenbridge said.
Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant said that information on the sale has been available for several years and that there are two bidders focused on the property.
History of Palmetto Bay
The Village of Palmetto Bay is located in an area of South Miami-Dade which has included many cultures inhabiting the land for over 10,000 years. Paleo-Indians, Tequestas, Seminoles, Afro-Bahamians, and Anglo-Americans have at different times lived here each new group literally following in the footsteps of the preceding one. The evidence left behind recounts the evolution of human housing along the Miami Rock Ridge, from stone cave dwellings to Mediterranean Revival style mansions.
A migration of Florida’s first settlers brought them to high ground along the shores of Biscayne Bay. In what is today the Deering Estate property, early inhabitants established a camp 10,000 years ago. In 1985, at the Old Cutler Fossil Site, archaeologists found human skeletal and charred animals remains from that early time. The site further contained fossilized remains from now extinct animals including mammoths, sloths, dire wolves, and saber tooth tigers. The Old Cutler Fossil Site represents one of the most important archaeological excavations in the eastern United States. Prior to its discovery within Deering, most thought human habitation in Florida dated back only 4,000 years. The sensitive artifacts were carefully excavated from the fossil site and are part of the archived collections at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida and the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.
Tequesta Indians appeared 4,000 years ago, roaming the region as hunters and fishermen. Their quest for game took them to the same high hammock lands (the Indian Hunting Grounds) that attracted earlier peoples. The Tequestas received their name by Ponce de Leon during his maiden voyage to the area in 1513 who estimated their numbers to be several hundred thousand strong. The arrival of the Spanish proved lethal to the Tequestas who had no immunity to European introduced diseases. By the end of the 1700’s, the Tequestas had completely vanished from South Florida.
In 1763, Spain lost Florida to England as a result of the Seven Years’ War. Florida again became a Spanish possession in 1784 through a treaty ending the American Revolutionary War. The United States acquired Florida from Spain for $5 million in 1821. The Seminole Indian Wars erupted in Florida over the Indian removal policies of President Andrew Jackson in the 1830’s. During the Second Seminole War in 1838, the federal government awarded a large parcel of land in South Dade to Dr. Henry Perrine.
The land grant encompassed 36 square miles covering the area that today is a part of Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay and the Falls. Dr. Perrine chose what he considered to be the best parcel of land in South Dade, the historic ridge overlooking Biscayne Bay, for the site of his township. Dr. Henry Perrine wanted to create an agricultural colony to introduce subtropical plants and trees which he had developed a deep interest in while visiting Cuba and Mexico. Congress granted the land with the provision that Dr. Perrine place a settler on each section who would cultivate valuable tropical plants and vegetables.
It was while serving as U.S. Consul in Yucatan, Mexico where Dr. Perrine studied tropical plants to be used for cultivation in the U.S. Dr. Perrine did not live to see his experiment of tropical agriculture and development of the area unfold. While staying on Indian Key, he was killed during an Indian attack in 1840. His wife and three children managed to escape. It was not until 1875 that Dr. Perrine’s son, Henry Jr., returned to reclaim the family lands and again draw settlers to farm.
The same climate and fertile soils that had attracted Dr. Perrine began to attract squatters in the years following his death. These settlers, though, had no intention of following Dr. Perrine’s vision they chose traditional farming over plant introduction. Several squatters chose to ignore the Perrine heirs’ questionable claims to the land and opened large farming enterprises. It was not until 1897 that the land dispute between the squatters and the Perrine heirs was resolved, so that the valuable farmland could be legitimately sold and settled.
Two such settlers were Francis and John H. Earhart, who owned 2,000 acres of farmland. They established a small farming community nearby which came to be known as “Franjo” in their honor. The road which led to the community became known as Franjo Road and still exists today. Another prominent settler was Thomas J. Peters, who owned and operated a vast tomato enterprise near the present-day intersection of Eureka Drive (SW 184th Street) and US 1. The Peters tomato farm was for years the largest commercial operation in that part of Dade County.
In 1862, the Perrine heirs attempted to secure a patent to the land, but were unsuccessful. Undeterred in his desire to prove the patent, Henry Perrine Jr. seriously pursued settling the family grant land in 1875. He offered free twenty-acre tracts to those who would build a home, clear one acre, and grow one tropical crop. Henry Perrine, with his two children, Carleton and Harry, moved onto the property in 1876. The Perrines set up a tent near the Addison family, who had moved to the Indian Hunting Grounds in 1864 and established a home near the present-day Charles Deering Estate.
In 1883, Dr. William Cutler arrived and acquired 600 acres next to the Perrine land grant. The Town of Cutler, formerly located at the intersection of SW 168 Street and Old Cutler Road, grew quickly. Vegetable farms and fruit groves arose when drainage canals were created which assured the cultivation of crops. A few hardy farmers lived in other settlements in South Dade—Kendall, Larkins and Silver Palm. Henry Flagler brought his railroad to Miami and had plans to extend it through South Dade to Key West. The railroad route chosen by Flagler bypassed the Town of Cutler several miles to the west and dealt a mortal blow to its development. A decade later, Charles Deering bought much of the land in dormant Cutler to build his estate.
Charles Deering was Chairman of the International Harvester Company, which revolutionized grain-harvesting methods. He and his half-brother, James (who built Vizcaya) were spending winters in Miami. Just as earlier settlers had been attracted to the area for its natural beauty, Deering chose to assemble 360 acres on which he built his Moorish style mansion on the ridge overlooking Biscayne Bay. He retained the lush, subtropical hammock (former Indian Hunting Grounds) while planting rows of Royal Palms near the water. Charles Deering lived amid his great art collection and splendid natural surroundings until his death in 1927. It was then when the Deering’s and the Connett’s, who designed and built Thalatta Estate met. We know today that the two families were friends and visited each other often back when there was no C-100 canal dissecting the two properties. The family continued to winter at the estate until it was bought by the State and County in 1985 for $24 million for a park site. Today, the Richmond Inn at the Estate, the last surviving structure of the historic town of Cutler, remains one of Miami’s best examples of early Florida frame-vernacular architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Estate grounds are environmentally protected lands and a historical preserve.
The next significant event came on November 6, 1995, the Alliance of Palmetto South Homeowners Association petitioned Miami-Dade County to incorporate Palmetto Bay. In 1996, after the Boundaries Commission recommended denial of incorporation, the County’s Planning Advisory Board voted for approval. The Board of County Com-missioners (BCC) deferred the petition at its September 1996 meeting. Area residents and volunteer attorneys filed a lawsuit in March 1998 compelling the County to allow citizens within the proposed municipal boundaries the right to vote on incorporation. It was not until April 1999 that the incorporation issue was heard by the BCC. On May 20, 2000, the BCC approved creation of the Palmetto Bay Municipal Advisory Committee to review issues and concerns relating to incorporation.
On February 5, 2002, Village voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of incorporation. Voters approved the municipal charter and the name on September 10, 2002. The Village of Palmetto Bay became Miami-Dade’s 33rd municipality!
Currently, our Village is home to over 24,000 residents. Palmetto Bay is governed by a five-member Village Council and operates under a Council-Manager form of government.
The palmetto is a branchless palm with long, fanlike evergreen leaves that spread atop a thick stem, or trunk. Botanists do not consider it a true tree since it lacks a solid wood trunk.
State tree. South Carolina&rsquos state tree is the Sabal palmetto, so designated by a legislative act approved by Governor Burnet R. Maybank on March 17, 1939. The palmetto has appeared on the state seal since the Revolutionary War and on the state flag since 1861. The word &ldquopalmetto&rdquo comes from the Spanish palmito (&ldquolittle palm&rdquo), and the origin of Sabal is uncertain.
The palmetto is a branchless palm with long, fanlike evergreen leaves that spread atop a thick stem, or trunk. Botanists do not consider it a true tree since it lacks a solid wood trunk. The palmetto&rsquos range is the coastal area from North Carolina to Florida and the Florida Panhandle. It can grow as high as sixty-five feet, and mature South Carolina natives average thirty-to forty-feet tall.
The popular name &ldquocabbage palmetto&rdquo comes from the terminal bud, or heart, of the stem. This can be eaten raw or cooked, and its taste resembles that of cabbage. Removal of the heart kills the tree. In the past some native Americans and European colonists also ate the ripe black berries, and these are still a favorite of birds.
Palmetto is a wind-adapted species, and its soft trunk and strong root system allow it to bend with high winds without breaking or being uprooted. Spongy palmetto logs were used in the construction of the Sullivan&rsquos Island fort (later called Fort Moultrie) that absorbed British navy cannonballs, without shattering, in the battle of June 28, 1776&ndashgiving South Carolina troops the victory that is commemorated on the state seal and flag. The Sabal palmetto is also the state tree of Florida and appears on Florida&rsquos seal and flag.
Heisser, David C. R. The State Seal of South Carolina: A Short History. Columbia: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 1992.
Laurie, Pete. &ldquoPalmetto Pride.&rdquo South Carolina Wildlife 35 (July&ndashAugust 1988): 16&ndash23.
Porcher, Richard D., and Douglas A. Rayner. A Guide to the Wildflowers of South Carolina. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2001.
Shumake, Janice. &ldquoIn Praise of the Palmetto.&rdquo Charleston Post and Courier, July 21, 2002, pp. D1, D4.List of site sources >>>