1302 (historically 1308) 4th Avenue East
Constructed c. 1860 This house fronts 4th Avenue to the north and is directly east of the Amelia Curry house, with both properties sharing the same lot. Samuel G. and Amanda (Andress) Curry were deeded the two Curry settlement houses under the probate that divided all of John Curry’s property among his heirs in 1884. Samuel G. and Amanda lived in this home until 1877, when the construction of their newer home across the street to the west was complete. They would live in the new home with their daughter until their deaths.
This house is a living history museum to show how late 1800s Floridians lived.
1302 4th Avenue East (constructed c. 1860, remodeled in 1898)
The home sits on a lot facing 4th Avenue and the Theodosia Curry Lloyd House to its north. After Captain John Curry passed away in 1884, Samuel George and Amanda Curry inherited the house. They would deed it to their daughter, Mary Amelia, known as “Amelia”, on August 18, 1899 when she first started teaching school. Born in the Manatee settlement in 1868, she would remain unmarried as an adult and served as a teacher and principal for the Manatee Academy School for fifty years. During the summer months, Amelia worked as the assistant post mistress in the Manatee Station post office for her father, who served as postmaster.
This house will serve as our interpretive museum with displays of artifacts and historical materials.
[in photo: Mr. and Mrs. Parker (the Mary E. Parker Foundation) Curry descendants on Mary's side, and Reflections Vice President, Sherry Robinson Svekis]
1305 4th Avenue East
Constructed in 1925, the house sits on the north side of 4th Avenue, facing south towards the Samuel G. Curry and Amelia Curry houses. The main (south) façade is dominated by an open porch. The rear elevation of the dwelling is dominated by an open porch with shed roof.
This Florida Craftsman style bungalow will serve as our education and meeting center.
THE BEGINNINGS OF A COMMUNITY
The Curry Houses Historic District in Bradenton, Florida, features three homes built by or for the extended family of Captain John Curry who purchased 30 acres of land, including a fresh water spring, from Dr. Franklin Branch. Branch had constructed two buildings near the spring, planning to operate a sanitarium, but they were instead used as a fort to house settlers for over a year during the Third Seminole War. Captain Curry purchased the property in 1859 and immediately began building homes for his extended family. Upon his death in 1884, Captain Curry’s property was subdivided among his heirs. The lots were officially platted in 1898 by the Town of Manatee, and those property divisions still exist today.
ABOUT THE CURRY FAMILY AND THE HOUSES
In the 1860s, the Curry family, hailing from Key West and the Bahamas, joined other early pioneer settlers in establishing residences and commercial operations in the Manatee River area. Thus the district is illustrative of the dynamic property division that marked the shift from early settlement land use to the creation of the first towns in the coastal areas of Florida. The district is significant for its association with Captain John Curry who constructed the two ca. 1860 houses, and whose ships operated for both the Confederacy and the Union during the Civil War Gulf Coast Blockade, and who provided the boat for the escape of Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin shortly after the end of the Civil War.
Three contributing buildings are set very close together, all clustered on 4th Avenue East. The two oldest houses face north and were part of the 30 acres purchased by Captain John Curry defined as “all the lands between the Manatee River and present Manatee Avenue and between Main Street (now 15th Street) and Curry Street (now 12th Street East). The third house, the Theodosia Curry Lloyd House at 1305 East 4th Avenue, is a one story bungalow that is representative of the homes built by the third generation of Manatee’s Curry descendants. There would have been a clear view to the spring (which at the time was a “pool, twelve feet across”) and the Manatee River when the 1860’s houses were first constructed, and directly north on the river was the Curry wharf.
The relationship between the houses represents the social organization of a close, extended family, and the land use changes that accompanied village growth as an early agriculturally focused settlement gave way to higher density. The dwellings are in their original locations and their design has not been altered since construction; although they have been restored, they still retain their original materials and workmanship.
A number of houses were built for members of the Curry family in Bradenton outside of the original Manatee settlement, but few survive. The Henry F. Curry House constructed c. 1904 was demolished in 2004. It was a large frame vernacular building that was converted into apartments after his death in 1917. There are five other Curry family houses in Bradenton, the most significant of which is the large frame vernacular Jack Curry House at 1219 East 2nd Avenue, which was built c. 1890.