Market snapshot: Palmetto Historic District maintains its quaint charm
With a rich history and old Florida charm, the city of Palmetto has maintained a sense of quiet, human scale, living atmosphere.
With a rich history and old Florida charm, the city of Palmetto has maintained a sense of quiet, human scale, living atmosphere. Surrounded by the waters of Terra Ceia Bay and the Manatee River, it was first settled in 1868 by Samuel Sparks Lamb, a merchant from South Carolina. Known as the “Father of Palmetto,” he surveyed and platted much of the area.
Palmetto was incorporated on June 15, 1897, when Florida’s governor signed its charter. That was five years before Sarasota and nearly six years earlier than Bradenton became official cities.
With the arrival of the railroad in 1902 – the tracks stopped by the river – Palmetto grew as a service center for the surrounding agricultural industry – citrus groves and tomato farms.
Tim Lester, a local realtor, grew up in Palmetto and is a big fan of the community. “I like how it’s still preserved with old, majestic trees and large lots,” he said. “The location is phenomenal, too. I can be in downtown Sarasota or St. Pete in 25 minutes.”
His company, Tim Lester International Realty, is located in the Palmetto Historic District. The area bordered by Twenty-first Avenue, Seventh Street, Fifth Avenue, and the Manatee River includes residential, commercial and industrial portions of the city. In 1989, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Most of the 208 historic buildings in the district are single-family residences. The one- and two-story houses come in a variety of architectural designs, from frame and masonry vernacular to Queen Anne, bungalows, cottages and Colonial Revival. There are also two, more recently constructed apartment buildings on Riverside Drive, overlooking the Manatee River.
Several parks offer athletic facilities and maritime activities. Sutton and Lamb Parks have tennis courts and a children’s playground. The Palmetto Living Seawall Park provides a fishing pier (the old Green Bridge) and a public boat ramp. Safe Harbor Regatta Pointe next door has a marina with docks and boat slips.
The district also contains Palmetto Historical Park, located at the southwest corner of 10th Avenue West and 6th Street West, which features a number of significant historic buildings. Notable are Heritage Station, Palmetto’s first free-standing post office, built in 1880; the Cottage Museum in a turn-of the-century cottage, the Cypress House, which hosts a military Museum; and the 1914 Carnegie Library, one of the first libraries built in South Florida.
For the latter, Andrew Carnegie, the Pittsburgh steel magnate, contributed $10,000, while the city gave $1,000 and donated the land. The building has been used as Palmetto’s town hall, housed a number of civic and church organizations, and now is the repository of historical archives.
Lester’s listing at 1411 4th Street West is a two-story Colonial home, just a block away from the river. It was built in 1900, but its current owner, Moore 2 Design, a local architecture firm with international renown, has done extensive renovations. The 4-bed, 3-bath homes has 2,268 square feet of living space with 11-foot, cedar ceilings, Italian marble floors, a wood burning fire place, a screened-in lanai and an open porch.
“They put in a cantilevered, Purpleheart staircase to the second floor and bamboo flooring in the upstairs bedrooms,” said Lester.