Bradenton, Florida: Braden Castle Ruins

Dr. Joseph Braden built his hostile native-proof castle on the river in 1850, and good thing -- it was attacked in 1856. Fire gutted it in 1900; has been crumbling since.
Address:
Braden Castle Drive, Bradenton, FL
Directions:
East edge of town, off of I-75 exits 220 or 220B. From Hwy 64/Manatee Ave. E. turn north onto 27th St. E. In two blocks turn right onto Braden Castle Drive and drive two blocks to the Castle ruins, which will be on the left. The castle has a fence around it and a historical marker.
Admission:
Free.
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Braden castle. Braden Castle Ruins

Dr. Joseph Braden built the castle on the river in 1850. The large house was built out of tabby a combination of sand, lime, water and oyster shells. The walls were thick to make it a fortress against the hostile natives in the area.

In 1856 the castle was attacked at night by hostile Indians. Dr. Braden and guests put out the downstairs lights and went upstairs and armed and the battle began. He and his guests fired upon two forms identified as hostiles. The Indians ran off into the woods along with several slaves and stole blankets and mules. The next day the men from the castle tracked them and they were found camped on an island in the middle of a creek and an hour-long battle ensued. Three Indians were shot and some escaped including a sub-chief of the Billy Bowlegs band. Dr Braden lost the house in the panic of 1857. He left it with his major creditor and it changed hands several times eventually coming into the hands of The Camping Tourists of America. After a fire around 1900 that destroyed the roof, the walls began to break down.

I remember in 1969, 40 years ago, they were still quite high -- now they have crumbled. The ruins sit in a park full of friendly people living in very cozy looking cottages -- be sure and wave as you drive in. Whether Dr Braden knew it or not, he gave his name to the nice town of Bradenton, where the ruins sit. Now is on the National Historic Registry.

[Bill Carter, 01/17/2010]

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