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MEANINGFUL RUINS: PUBLIC MEMORY AND THE TRANSITIONAL LANDSCAPES OF THE BRADEN CASTLE OF BRADENTON FLORIDA By RACHEL D ROACH A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulfillment for the requirement s for the degree Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology Under the sponsorship of Uzi Baram Sarasota, Florida April, 2013
MEANINGFUL RUINS: PUBLIC MEMORY AND THE TRANSITIONAL LANDSCAPES OF THE BRADEN CASTLE IN BRADENTON FLORIDA Rachel D. Roach New Colleg e of Florida, 2013 ABSTRACT The research design of this thesis is a foundation for understanding the community evolution of Braden Castle Park Historic District and the significance of the Braden Castle ruins to the current residents in Bradenton Florid a. It also contributes insight on challenges confronted in historic preservation and historical archaeology as well as further research regarding public memory, landscape transitions and the role these memories play in contemporary society. This thesis r eviews literature associated with landscapes, collective memory and heritage and the ways in which places are commemorated or forgotten. It also examines the history and archaeology of the Braden Castle with a photographic timeline as well as a detailed a nalysis of the castle ruins in its present day condition. An ethnographic evaluation, made possible by conducting community interviews, is also provided and reveals the public collection of memories from the residents of Braden Castle Park and how those m emories spring from the historic ruins of the Braden Castle. The impetus of this thesis is to obtain an understanding of the Braden Castle as a focal point on a transitional landscape made possible through public memory. The thesis was inspired by one ma in research question; how do collective, public memories in regard to historic places, become inscribed upon
landscapes and effect contemporary society and heritage? Secondary questions include; which historical events are remembered or forgotten and why? How is heritage connected to a place through public memory? And, why are there so many missing is just a small example of the dilemmas associated with historical archaeology, historic preservation and ways in which public memory effects the landscape just as the landscape effects society. Uzi Baram Division of Social Science
Meaningful Ruins Acknowledgements i v Acknowledgements The decision to write my thesis on the Braden Castle was presented to me when I was first introduced to it in late 2010 by my professor and advisor Uzi Baram. I would like to thank him for his introduction to the fascinating ruins, advice, kindness and for standing by me throughout my educational journey at New College o f Florida. His guidance has helped me tremendously for which I will always be grateful. I would also like to thank Maria Vesperi, Brendon Goff and Erin Dean for taking time to discuss my thesis with me and for offering their assistance. Your efforts wil l not be forgotten. To all of my friends that supported me throughout this process or took time out of their day to read or edit a draft for me; Jodi Rossi, Roz Crews, Mendy Easterly, Ashley Parks, Michael Waas, Alexis Santos, Travis Small, Brie McLemore, Silvia Uolla, Evan Darrow, Mike Lessard, Sherry Svekis and Felicia Silpa, I appreciate your encouragement and recommendations more than you realize. And a special thank you to my sweetie Mamoun, Jodi Rossi and family as well as Mike Lessard and Dani Bork iwoski for not only being supportive but also sharing meals with me and letting me breakdown when I needed to vent. My clients; Peggy Berra, Jack Anderson, Patricia Carter, Cynthia Herbert and Wendy, thank you from the bottom of my heart for always being so flexible and patient with my scheduling and for showing such interest in my project. Ann Quinn, my New College Admissions Representative and my landlord, Tom Molby, also regularly asked me about my thesis. Tom even gave me a month off in paying the rent just to be helpful; for which I am extremely grateful. The professionals at Archaeological Consultants Inc. (ACI), where I worked as an intern for twelve weeks, were wonderful and expressed their interest in my
Meaningful Ruins Acknowledgements v project; showing me how to do more intensiv e research and giving me access to records I had not known where to find. The residents that I interviewed at Braden Castle Park; Glenna Shanahan, Lois McClure, Sandy Lane, Steve and Nancine Briggs, Forest and Jeri Bone and Henry and Betty, were not only a pleasure to talk to but very helpful to my research and without their enthusiasm and willingness to help this project would have not been possible. I would like to especially thank Glenna Shanahan for eagerly assisting me and allow me inside the Braden Castle fence, showing me the parks archives and for supporting my efforts over the past year. She was amazing. My acknowledgements would not be complete without noting my family. My niece Alyssa and Nephew Wyatt gave me motivation to be better for them and to be able to introduce them to new and exciting things. My pets; Jackson, Maris and Lola gave me love everyday and reminded me to stay calm and still enjoy the little pleasures in life. They are my peace. Last but not at all least, I would like to thank my parents; for not only helping me financially when I needed it but, for just being there. Every conversation with my Mom ended in her me to keep moving forward n o matter how difficult things may have gotten. She is my rock. I would also like to thank my Facebook Community for sending supportive messages and for keeping me laughing; that always helps. To the negative reinforcements, i.e., my loud and horribly ru de neighbors and those of whom continually wanted me to fail, your general disgust for my success and accomplishments helped me to rise above and push myself harder than ever before. I knew I could do it, you should have too. Thank you to all of you f or being there and inspiring m e.
Contents 1. Acknowledgements iv 2. List of Figures vi 3. Introduction The Braden Castle of Bradenton Florida 8 4. Literature Review Landscapes, Public Memory and Heritage 11 5. Historical Background The Histor y of the Braden Castl e 1 8 6. Photographic Timeline The Braden Castle Present to Past 3 1 7. Architecture Current Condition of the Braden Castle 50 8. Ethnography The Residents of Braden Castle Park 68 9. Con clusion Why the Braden Castle is Important and What is Next 90 10. Appendixes 94 11. References 10 2
Meaningful Ruins Figures vi List of Figures 1. Figure 4.1 The Braden Castle between 1876 and 1903. Bradenton Times 2011 3 1 2. Figure 4.2 Map of Braden Castle Park and the surrounding area. This photograph is from the Braden Castle Park archival photograph collection. 3 3 3. Figure 4.3 The Braden Castle ruins in 2012. Photograph by Rachel Roach. 3 4 4. Figure 4.4Front entrance of the Braden Castle 2012. Photo graph by Rachel Roach 3 5 5. Figure 4.5 The Braden Castle in 1964. Posted on City Data webpage, accessed in October 2012. 3 6 6. Figure 4.6 A postcard rendering of the Braden Castle ruins in 1940. Housed in a collection at Braden Castle Park 3 7 7. Figure 4.7 The Braden Castle ruins 1930. Published in Florida: Empire of the Sun, by the Florida State Hotel Commission, Tallahassee, Florida (library of Roy Winkelman). 3 8 8. Figure 4.8 The Braden Castle ruins 1910. Housed in a collectio n at Braden Castle Park. 3 9 9. Figure 4.9 A postcard rendering drawn from a photograph taken in 1908. Housed in a collection at Braden Castle Park 40 10. Figure 4.10 An old Braden Castle porch column now used as a planter 2012. Photograph take n by Rachel Roach 4 1 11. Figure 4.11 The Braden Castle 1907. Marie Gorham, "Man's Dream Castle Leads Way For Others." The Bradenton Press 14 January 1987. 4 2 12. Figure 4.12 The Braden Castle between 1876 and 1903. Bradenton Times 2011. 4 3 13. Figure 4.13 The Braden Castle between 1876 and 1903. Arthur C. Schofield, Yesterday's Bradenton. Miami, Florida: E.A. Seeman Publishing, Inc., 1975: Page 32. 4 4 14. Figure 4.14 A wood cutting of the Braden Castle from a photograph dated 1890, by C .J. Romanchock, a previous resident at Braden Castle Park. 4 5
Meaningful Ruins Figures vii 15. Figure 4.15 A wood cutting of the Braden Castle from a photograph dated 1890, by C.J. Romanchock, a previous resident at Braden Castle Park. 4 6 16. Figure 4.16 The Braden Castle ea Historical Society. 4 7 17. Figure 4.17 4 8 18. Figure 5.1 molded tabby. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012. 50 19. Figure 5.2 The first bench and sign observed when approaching the castle ruins. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012. 5 2 20. Figure 5.3 Tabby columns used as pl anters with flowering trees in between them. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012. 54 21. Figure 5.4 Tabby covered in mold, moss and lichen. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012. 5 7 22. Figure 5.5 A banyan tree growing over the tallest section of tabby left of the B raden Castle. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012. 59 23. Figure 5.6 The second tallest remaining wall section of the Braden Castle. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012. 60 24. Figure 5.7 Discolored tabby. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012 62 25. Figure 5.8 A red c lay brick within the fireplace of the northwest room. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012. 6 4 26. Figure 5.9 A wooden plank still nailed to a slab of tabby. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012. 65 27. Figure 5.10 Rectangular slits carved out of the tabby. Photo b y Rachel Roach 2012. 66 28. Figure 6.1 Interview questions used during research by Rachel Roach 2012. 71 29. Appendix A: A Copy of the Booklet: Historical Information and a Map for Visitors Provided by the Residents of Braden Castle Park Historic District 95 30. Appendix B: Historical Information on the Braden Castle Ruins Historic Marker 96 31. Appendix C: A Plat map of the property purchased by the Camping Tourists of America. Drawn by Dr. H. E. Robbins March 16, 1936. 101
Meaningful Ruins Introduction 8 Peo ple are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. James Baldwin Chapter One: Introduction I chose to focus on the ruins of a historic building in Bradenton Florida because I am interested in the reasons for which people deem a place significant and how much of that reasoning is based on factual historical accounts and how much is recalled from a collection of public memories. I am also intrigued by what specific historical events, throughout landscape s spatial frames, are focused on in the pre sent day as part of heritage. It is amazing how we affect the landscape just as the landscape affects us. Select memories are, although not necessarily purposefully chosen, collaborated by others and is what is remembered and retold in the present. Sel ective memory is the norm Many people tend to remember the good parts of situations and forget the bad as a way of coping with unexplained, unexpected, emotional or traumatic circumstances. The problem is that this is not really a logical means of copin g but, a conscious or unconscious decision to forget or erase what was troubling by only recalling and repeating select events or people. The use of public memory to erase, alienate or place special importance on a particular event or person(s) causes an incomplete history and can be observed throughout what we refer to as history today. Sadly many people and important historical accounts are erased or forgotten, making history a one sided dialogue where those with the loudest voices prevail, muting othe r versions that are just as significant and inclusive. This focus on specific events or people give rise to other issues such as
Meaningful Ruins Introduction 9 inequality, injustice, fear, racism and intolerance and can cause conflicts derived from false information, misconception or l ies for generations to come. The study of public memory in association with landscapes allows us to uncover and connect links with the gaps in the history of a landscape. This permits us to discover a more holistic view of a place, how it has become wha t it is today and where the focus is currently placed on the landscape. Studying a landscape can be tedious and even more so in North America where landscapes are altered drastically in the name of capitalist progress by tearing down and removing the old and completely modifying the landscape the owner of that land to completely make it something different without regard to what once was or what it may have meant to oth er individuals. This practice removes remembered and/ or felt connected to it will soon forget and the importance of it fades away as they feel powerless for not being he ard. This assignment of significance or lack thereof placed on a landscape can have serious implications for its future. The Braden Castle and the landscape, on which it has stood for the last 162 years, contain a vast history regarding historical peopl e and events, many of which or who have been forgotten. The Braden Castle was a large two story plantation home built on the Manatee River in 1850 and became known as the Braden Castle during the Third Seminole War. It continues to be called that today. The ruins of the castle are currently surrounded by a neighborhood. What remains is an emphasis on two specific spatial frames that have a connection and are linked by the Braden Castle; past and present. Although the landscape has changed, the castle has remained its focus for decades.
Meaningful Ruins Introduction 10 What I wanted to know was why there was a connection made between two specific time periods and how the Braden Castle ruins linked them. The connection is reviled in the current narratives and collections of public memorie s about the Braden Castle, its history and feelings the material structure invokes. The community of Braden Castle Park has expressed interest in the Braden Castle ruins. They speak of the history they recall and why the ruins are significant t o them and their heritage The present community is saddened by the current condition of the ruins. There is however, vagueness to what history is known by the current residents. As Barbara Little (2007: In chapter two we will explore the theory behind landscapes and public memory and the ways in which they influence contemporary society. Chapters three and four look re and how it has changed over time. Chapter five documents the material remains of the building and its immediate landscape as it is today and discusses the causes of its deterioration. Following is an ethnographical chapter on the residents of Braden Ca stle Park and their perspective on its history in chapter six. In conclusion, why the ruins are significant to archaeology and the community will be established.
Meaningful Ruins Landscape and Public Memory 11 History is not just the story you read. It is one you write. It is the one you remem ber or denounce or relate to others. It is not predetermined. Every action, every decision, however small, is relevant to its course. History is replete with horror, and replete with hope. You shape the balance. Visitor quotes Canadian War Museum, Ottawa Chapter Two: Landscape and Public Memory The material past is productive in understanding history and the events that took place in it. Historic preservation laws are a challenge and unfortunately, and far too often, historical information is missing an d contributes to hardships in commemoration or preservation efforts. Landscape materiality or famous structures like that of the Ernest Hemingway House are historically preserved, protected and remembered due to the vast amount of information and importan ce linked to them. Heritage is significant to any form of commemoration but, also includes issues such as who is included, excluded and how something should be remembered for generations to come. Sadly, the Braden Castle and those who feel connected to i t will face problems in their endeavors to have it commemorated. The lack of information in regard to the ruins and the fact that the location and structure are not well known will cause preservation dilemmas. The Braden Castle ruins are just a small examp le of the challenges confronted in historic preservation and historical archaeology. By examining landscapes and public memory we gain valuable insight in reference to historic silences associated with heritage and can contribute to the overall understand ing of history as well as historic preservation prospects.
Meaningful Ruins Landscape and Public Memory 12 Studying landscapes are an important aspect of the understanding of history and heritage. The experiences of individuals throughout time and their recollections have an influence on contemporar y places. Ideals and memories in regard to the past and how things used to be are selectively constructed, forgotten or preserved. By repetition they are then inscribed upon the landscape. Between perception that is reflexive and the experiences lived t hroughout the space the memories and ideas created are reinforced (Van Dyke 2008: 277). These specifically recalled and repeated ideals of history reinvent the landscape, aligning it to meet the needs of contemporary society. Legitimizing heritage throug h nostalgia felt by a community protects their collective memories for generations. The public memories that are repeatedly regenerated align the future focus of what is recalled in regard to the past and reveal where the people from earlier generations p laced significance or lack of Heritage is potentially isolating as a set of memories into which it is possible for 143). Archaeological data are g reat tools used in the field of historical archaeology but without considering the formation of designated heritage on a landscape, agency and practice are remo ved from understanding the past mobility and conflicts. All tha t is seen then, in regard to landscape and historical accounts are what has already been documented for us and important social and cultural we balance our understand ing that present perceptions of the past cannot be completely accurate with the desire to remember and learn from a representative, inclusive, and true
Meaningful Ruins Landscape and Public Memory 13 those of higher social or political status, become what is remembered as the history of a said location. These collections of memories are valid to a specific group but leaves out all of the events and remembrances of those individuals considered of lower social or pol itical status, leaving the history of place one sided and incomplete. Commemorating a historical location or structure by designation, adding them to the list of historic places, is a means of heritage preservation. I agree with Barbara Little (2007: 140) about tourism or outsiders than about identifying and preserving aspects of heritage that Commun ities selectively, not necessarily consciously, focus their attention on specific historical events because they are what the society relates to due to the narratives and collective memories passed down to them from past generations. Contemporary struggles involving heritage and changes to the landscape has an impact on the future identity of an area and sets in motion a drive for society to preserve heritage they feel belongs to them. The director of the U.S. National Park Service heritage areas program, Brenda Barret and her coauthor Augie Carlino clarify, Most heritage area initiatives arise in communities that are under stress: losing their traditional economic base, whether it be industry or farming, facing a loss of population, particularly young p eople; or growing rapidly with an influx of people who do not know the old stories or the history of the region. It is no surprise that communities across the nation are looking at this new kind of partnership to preserve what they care about as they face an uncertain future. It is no surprise that heritage areas appeal to regions that are trying to preserve some element of the authentic past in a culture that is moving toward uniformity and sameness (quoted in Little 2007: 140). Although definitions of landscape vary, one given by Matthew Johnson (2007: 3) in his book Ideas of Landscape best exemplifies the term;
Meaningful Ruins Landscape and Public Memory 14 Landscape is not merely an aesthetic background to life, rather it is a setting that both expresses and conditions cultural attitud es and activities, and significant modifications to landscapes are not possible without major changes in social how and why we know them. rld or engaging it as a result of conditioning through agency and practice. In regard to landscape archaeology in the present Johnson (2007: 162) states, way process: it is about the viewer and his or her social, cultural and politic F acts do not speak for themselves. In order to link the data and theory together properly we must take into account the context withdraw our own moral, political and social individuals and cultural shifts that have and are taking place upon landscapes. Although we all may have our own personal views, whether or not we agree with a moral, social or political aspect is not what matters. It is about an honest and factual account, one tha t includes a better understanding of the hardships, disappointments and enjoyments of those in the past. culture so, it is important to understand other aspects of a landscape for a given tim e in order to establish these links (2007: 143). Landscapes are a part of human relations, actively constituted lived in spaces and recursive of human social relationships all of which incorporate some form of relatable emotion which leads to selective
Meaningful Ruins Landscape and Public Memory 15 Shackel writes (2010: 386). The misconception that people of the past were fundamentally the same as ourselves can d istort historical data (Deetz 1977: 276).When something is relatable, good or bad, it has meaning and is remembered and given significance to those who relate to it. The ability to relate or not relate to a landscape has everything to do with what and who is or is not remembered and documented in relation to it. Selected memories, though not necessarily consciously chosen, are molded, shaped and agreed upon making them collective of a particular community or group (Shackle 2010: 385). Collective memory v agreeing with the ways in which they see the past and become clear through narratives in regard to place. A sense of place is created when memories, meanings and places become entangled with one another. Th e landscape and the social engagements taking place with them ultimately adjoin with remembrance, reconstructing history (Van Dyke 2008: 278). Memories are persuasive. They are produced by practice and the actions of people within an environment they the mselves created based on their view of the world around them. agency over generations (Johnson 2007: 147). The Braden Castle is a product of material culture on a landsca pe where contemporary society commemorates it and their heritage not solely based on its origin but also how it relates to the collectively embodied set of memories of significance and relevance today. Linked closely to heritage is nostalgia. Paul Shacke l (2010: 394) makes
Meaningful Ruins Landscape and Public Memory 16 a valid point that chapter 6 will show resonates with the contemporary Braden Castle Park community, Nostalgia for things that are reminders of earlier days has replaced the early development. Nostalgia is about nurturance and stewardship. Beleaguered by loss and change, Americans remember a bygone day of economic power. They have angst about the loss of community. In a throwaway society, people are looking for something more la sting. The groupings of public memory that have continued over the generations show a connection between the early history of the Braden Castle and the establishment of the present day community of Braden Castle Park. The Braden Castle links the past and present landscape. The castle ruins are tradition and to associate their meaning with only their origins is far too historically linear and would not be acceptable for individuals who find meaning in it today (Little 2007: 139). Through selective memory two spatial periods on the landscape are what is remembered and commemorated by the contemporary community. The first, is a narrative about an attack on the Braden Castle during the Second Seminole War and the second, is in regard to the beginnings of a community: Braden Castle Park reflect on the traditional meanings associated with a collective national memory, it is as good and forget the rest. False notions of the past may be upheld in order to create and
Meaningful Ruins Landscape and Public Memory 17 The Braden Castle ruins are meaningful. They are central to the changing landscape and have much more to tell us than what has been remembered. If we are a product of our environment then we are al l affected by public memory in one form or another. Karl Marx states, Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly found given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living (Marx 2005: 43). Only when we begin to think more critically will we enable ourselves to see what is absent and find the a nswers that lie in between; not just being mere subjects to an Braden Castle.
Meaningful Ruins History 18 The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the story Present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. Abraham Lincoln Cha pter Three: History of the Braden Castle In order to understand the complete history of the Braden Castle, events prior to Tampa Bay, including Manatee, was inhabited by Native Americans and freedom remain safe (Baram 2008). Cuban fisherman and their rancheros occupied the coast and had established a flourishing trade relationship that would continue until the Second Seminole War. The Native Americans and the Cuban fisherman had become informal allies and were considered a threat to settlers (Knetsch 2007: 2). d shellfish and a sufficient location for trade and water navigation. The landscape was filled with thickets and hammocks, abounded with wildlife. It was also swampy due to river overflows in the rainy season. The land was fertile and Seminoles cultivate d crops and raised cattle and horses. They also had used metal tools and had material wealth that rivaled or went beyond that of their white neighbors (Knetsch 2007: 2). The landscape enticed settlers to arrive with their families looking for areas cond ucive to growing crops or cattle farming, for new and expanding industries. In doing so more and more Native Americans were forcibly displaced from their homes and moved to assigned territories and maroons continued to run, looking for a new place to hide from slave traders. This was a period of great uncertainty and hostility not only for new settlers but, also for
Meaningful Ruins History 19 maroons and Seminoles, who were uprooted, forced to leave and not allowed to return to their homeland. In 1821, three years after the First Seminole War (1816 1818) Spain ceded Florida to the United States with the signing of the Adams Ons Treaty That same year Andrew Jackson, on behalf of the United States, formed a new territorial government. At ccupied by Spaniards, Seminoles and enslaved individuals whom escaped. Florida became a slave state under Governor Jackson and soon became a destination for people from Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia, areas of older southern plantations. Pressure o n the federal government to remove Seminole populations increased as more and more white settlers immigrated to Florida and wanted the lands promised by the Treaty of Moultrie. In 1830 the U.S. Government attempted to forcibly move the Seminoles to the wes t of the Mississippi with the Indian Removal Act. The Second Seminole War began in 1835 with the ambush of the Dade Expedition. The fighting between Seminoles and African Americans against white settlers and the Army left many homeless, wounded or dead. Seminoles were forced from their land and many settlers had their homes burned to the ground or ran away from their settlements in fear. When the Second Seminole War ended in 1842 the remaining Seminoles were forced to only occupy southern Florida if th ey wanted to be left at peace. After many years of conflict tensions remained high between settlers and the Seminoles. After the Second Seminole War, the U.S. Government sought to encourage settlement with the Armed Occupation Act in 1842
Meaningful Ruins History 20 In 1842 the Ar med Occupation Act was concocted by Congress and put into actio n as a means to entice new, arm bearing settlers to come to Florida in exchange for free land as well as control the placement of Seminoles by keeping them from returning to areas now inhabited by new settler plantations. This act offered single men 18 years of age or older and/or male heads of households who would arm themselves and protect an area against Seminoles a quarter section of land totaling 160 acres. The land given had to be undevel oped and prepared by the settler, settlement had to occur within one year of the years (Knetsch and George 1993). The Armed Occupation Act contributed to an influx of new settlers on the Manatee River, created the Village of Manatee. Josiah Gates was one of the first settlers to take advantage of this act and began a colony called Village of Manatee It consist ed of thirty one individuals; ten black males, fifteen white males, four black children under the age of fourteen and two black females over the age of fourteen ( Kentsch 2007: 10). Colonel Sam for mapping the region and leader of Manatee until he left the area in 184 7 (2007: 11). In April of 1842 a colonization effort on the Manatee River was led by Reid. Dr. Joe Knetsch (2007: 10) writes, There was a difference between those who were on the suffering inhabitants list and those allowed to found new colonies on the frontier. The suffering inhabitants were allowed to receive rations for up to one year whereas the new colonists were given seed and expected to provide some of their own provisions. What was novel for the army was the supplying of arms and ammunition t o some of the colonist s most notably that of Colonel Sam Reid on the Manatee River. hundred buckshot and cartridges. The names of his colonists are familiar to many, they i ncluded: Josiah Gates, Michael Ledwith, John Craig, Miles Price,
Meaningful Ruins History 21 William H. Wyatt, John Addison, Daniel Buchanan, John Bowers, John Griseth, F. Follansher and Mr. Retterline. Notably the Braden Brothers and their neighbor across the Manatee River, Robert Gamble came to create plantations as well. Joseph Addison Braden, a non practicing physician from Virginia, and his brother Hector W. Braden, a lawyer and Union Bank director, like Gamble, were wealthy planters living in Tallahassee, Florida. In 1836 th e requirements to pay for federal land were changed when Andrew Jackson initiated Specie Circular. This new act by the government would only allow payments in the form of silver and gold. When Americans rushed to the bank to withdrawal their money in orde r to pay land debts, they found that the bank had loaned out too much money and could not afford to pay them. This shift in policy not only resulted in a decline of foreign investments but also the collapse of individual investments and the Union Bank as well (Wyman 1988). Due to this collapse many, including the Braden brothers, lost their heavily mortgaged plantations. This failure by the Union Bank resulted in the Panic of 1837; the effects were felt nationwide with a recession that would last into t he early Joseph Braden, his wife Virginia Ward Braden, their two children Anny and Robert and (Lawrence 1978: 53) The land they acquired was attained through several diffe rent venues including military bounty warrants bought b y soldiers of the Mexican War, the Armed Occupation Act of 1842 and they also purchased portions through the General Land Office in Tallahassee (Mathews 1983: 155).
Meaningful Ruins History 22 The Braden s first home in the Ma natee area was a temporary cabin. While living in the cabin they had another child, a daughter, Mary Virginia and they continued to purchase parcels of land. Located where the Braden River enters the Manatee River, t he holdings consisted of 900 acres, 30 enslaved workforce and required massive amounts of capital equipment to even get up and running. Factory built mills, plows, tools, carts, hoes, axes, blasting powder, and livestock were put to work to clear out hamm ocks of dense vegetation and prepare it for cultivation, along with fifty oxen and a few hundred enslaved laborers; seventy nine of Manatee River area such as Robert Gam ble (Mathews 1983: 155, 156). The Braden brothers had initially planned to plant tobacco crops but changed their minds when they realized it was financially unfeasible. After abandoning the plans for growing tobacco, in 1845, Hector and Joseph decided to plant sugar cane like that of Robert Gamble because it grew well in the Florida environment and was in demand That fall their factory built, iron mill was shipped in from New York and production began immediately. Their land holdings would include a su gar mill and plantation that was located along a waterway that branched off of the Braden River and stretched to the s outh; this waterway became known as Sugar House Creek (Mathews 1983:155). A hundred hogsheads worth of molasses and sugar were forcibly m anufactured by fifty nine enslaved laborers and were exported to New Orleans via boat on Sugar House Creek and Braden Creek before it would arrive at the river that led it to Louisiana. In 1846 a series of hurricanes and fl drowned while attempting to cross the Little Manatee River (Mathews 1983: 163,165).
Meaningful Ruins History 23 In 1848 Braden began to increase his l and holdings along Braden Creek. Throughout the ing existence, its grandeur reached well over 1000 acres of land in total and its sugar mill produced ro ughly 250,000 pounds of sugar. One coastal merchant claimed it was rior to the best in New Orleans (Mathews 1983: 163). Joseph Braden and Robert Gamble began having their plantation homes built in Glazier, a local cabinet maker and justice of the peace of Hillsborough, to build his new plantation home (Lawrence 1978: of tabby, a locally acquired mixture of sand, lime, shell, and water. Enslaved individuals by wading into the river, among the sharp oyster shell colonies, and filling up woven sacks that were then carried to the construction site (Historic 1970). Once they were collected they were burned and crushed before being added to the rest of the mixture. Blocks were formed by pressing the mixture into wooden boxes to dry in the hot Florida sun. Wooden pegs were also added in order to remove the tabby blocks from the wooden frames once they were dried and ready for use. The use of these wooden pegs is still evident on the pre sent remaining ruins of the castle in the form of golf ball sized holes that form an uneven vertical line from top to bottom of the structure. Other materials used in the construction of the castle include wood such as pine, hickory and oak that was collec ted from the property itself. The windows for the Braden Castle were sent from Mobile, Alabama (Lawrence 1978: 53). home was complete it included four rooms on each level, four chimneys, and eight fireplaces. T he sugar grist mill was located on Sugar House Creek some distance away
Meaningful Ruins History 24 from the Braden residence. Not far from the house, there were slave quarters which housed roughly eighty enslaved workers many of which Joseph Braden brought with him from Virginia a nd Tallahassee, Florida The large plantation home stood where the two waterways flowed into the river along the stretches of his land holdings (Mathews 1983: 224) Due to battles for land rights at that time between settlers and Seminoles the walls o f the plantation house were built to be 20 inches thick, two stories high, and 100 feet along each side in order to help protect its inhabitants from raids. Aiming for more territory, settlers began rallying and again pushing the government for more contr ol over land. Attacks upon settlers and their homes were not uncommon as the settlers continued to encroach upon Seminole territory. Many of these attacks resulted in neighboring families having to take refuge in large homes like that of Robert Gamble, Jo seph Braden or Fort Brooke for protection. Captain John Casey was warned by the Seminoles that repeated military presence on Native American lands would only instigate hostilities however; he did not heed these warnings (Mathews 1983: 214). Joseph Brad en himself supported Indian removal and was angry that the government was not forcing the issue. Colonel Sam Reid, other than being a surveyor of territories and a promoter of military colonization of Florida, had been a business partner of James Gamble a nd was highly supported by Robert Gamble and Joseph Braden. Frontier conditions were well known by Gamble and Braden and were relayed to the Army and civilians in the area regularly (Knetsch 2007: 11). Joseph Braden felt that they had dealt with the burd ens of Native Americans long enough and wanted south Florida to be filled by people emigrating from Southern states which was not possible without
Meaningful Ruins History 25 removing the Seminoles (Mathews 1983: 204). To the new frontiersman the Seminoles were jeopardizing the pros perity of the settlements in that new arrivals were afraid to offering them money to leav e their land. Frontiersman believed that the Seminoles were 1983: 205). This plan did not work. Seminoles stood their ground and refused to leave their homes and understan dably, would not take the money offered to leave. The less the Seminoles cooperated the more forceful the government became. Newspaper articles circulating through the Village of Manatee and the surrounding colony were ablaze with news of Seminole attack s on settlements and that action was again needed. Floridian frontiersman were angry and wanted the Seminoles out of Florida immediately stating, cowboys of Florida a fter them and see how quickly the kingdom and power of Billy in Mathews 1983:215). Seminole raids, reactions of frontiersman hostilities, ensued and many settlers were forced to abandon their settlements. Due to the current frontier situation, the Braden family, including their now four children, routinely came in from the outside at sunset; the men armed themselves with guns and plenty of ammunition and all of the wind ows and doors were secured for the however, prevent Seminole raids and in 1856, during the Third Seminole War, the
Meaningful Ruins History 26 Braden Family home was attacked. Robert Gamble, local sugarcane grower, producer and neighbor across the Manatee River from Joseph Braden gave this account, In 1854 5 6 we were again involved in war with the Seminoles and I w as again compelled to fortify. W as furni shed with arms by the military authorities, Regulars, then stationed at Tampa, and we worked with arms stacked and sentinels on watch. We had many alarms but no attack upon my post, but my neighbor, Dr. Braden, was not so fortunate, and his escape was remarkable. The family were at supper, the favo rite hour for Indian onsets; a servant woman was looking out from an upper window upon the pine forest, which came up almost to the door, a bright moonlight night, when her attention was attracted by many dark objects slowly and silently approaching the ho use. At first she paid little attention, supposing them to be hogs or calves, but one emerging for a moment from cover, showed her that they were Indians. With the utmost presence of mind she quietly descended the stairs, crossing the hall n full view of t he Indians with a quiet step, she advanced to the table, and without uttering a word, blew out the light. At the same instant a rush was heard of men jumping from the porch which ran along the front of the house and under the windows of the dining room. In a whisper she communicated the presence of the Indians, and the Doctor and his son seized their guns, which were near at hand, and for a while, a sharp fusillade was exchanged. The Doctor fortunately was armed with a repeating rifle, which I had presented him, having a revolving disc, with radiating chambers, 9 in number. The Doctor discharged these very rapidly and evidently impressed the savages that the house was strongly garrisoned. Failing in their attempt to surprise the family, they moved off to his plantation, where they surprised and carried off a number of his slaves. A prompt pursuit was made by a handful of citizens, and following the trail a day and night, just at daylight of the second day they came upon the Indian camp. The negroes discovered the advancing rescuers, and, running to them, drew the attention of the Seminoles, who instantly took to flight, plunging into a deep creek upon whose borders they were encamped. They were fired upon and (Gamble 1888). Several Seminole s lost their lives due to retaliation for the theft of slaves, mules and blankets. Two Seminoles were scalped by cowboys; one of them died immediately, the other a short time later when he was shot because he fell and could not get up (Mathews 1983:227). Braden Castle; a safe place against the advances of Seminoles. Many local residents took
Meaningful Ruins History 27 (Schofield 1975: 32). ere filled with turmoil and tragedy. Seminoles and the enslaved struggled for survival, and for the former, land that belonged first to them. Frontier families continued to fight for more land with the promise of prosperity and wealth that rarely ever ca me as south Florida headed into another recession during and after the Civil War. Knetsch (2007: 14) states, Census data from 1850 show that throughout all of the then known Hillsborough County, which included Manatee, there were only 2,437 people, black a nd white living in said county. 660 of these were slaves and only 11were free blacks leaving the remaining 1706 as the total white population. There was no accounting for Native Americans or Spanish fisherman who were still in the vicinity. The 1860 cens us shows that only 854 people were living in Manatee County just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. Even though there is no way to extract the Manatee numbers from the 1850 census the low number for the 1860 census tells volumes about the lack of grow th in Manatee County regardless of the offer of free land under the Armed Occupation Act. During the Civil War (1861 sugar mill was destroyed by Union soldiers (Lawrence 1978: 53). Despite efforts and produ ction on the B raden Plantation, Joseph Braden had financial hardships which forced him to leave the plantation to his largest creditor Daniel Ladd, and he left for Texas after the panic of 1857 1986) Robert Gambl e suffered some of the same consequences, selling his plantation to Captain Archibald McNeill, to pay for his debts before moving to northern Florida. The Gamble Mansion was attacked by Union soldiers in 1865 (Silpa 2008: 27). Looking to exchange land in Manatee County for their land in Alachua County, Mary Elizabeth Pelot, wife of John Crews Pelot MD; Confederate Army surgeon, paid
Meaningful Ruins History 28 $2,000 for 1,147 acres that had previously belonged to Joseph Braden in 1867; it was James G. Cooper (Gorham 1987). The Coopers occupied the castle for several years and made many improvements inclu ding adding a 5 x 10 foot wooden cupola to the 1986). Although the Braden Castle was no longer used as a residence, it became a gathering place for families and friends t o have picnics and enjoy the outdoors (Schofield 1975: 32). A forest fire claimed to be started by vandals, destroyed its roof and internal timbers in 1903 leaving it open to environmental weathering. A newspaper article entitled Burning of Castle Told i n Old Paper with accounts from June 28 th 1903 states 1903). In 1926 a hurricane struck the area and left significant damage as well, knocki ng down sections of the tabby walls (Fleming 1932 ). showed their affiliation with each other by atta ching a tin can to their car radiators and down on the roadside, to alert others that they needed help. Rental properties at this time were few and expensive so northern tourists, needing only water and gas, would camp out during the winter months. The Tin Can Tourists of the World had spent several winters in Tampa at Desoto Park until full time residents began to complain about their presence.
Meaningful Ruins History 29 The Tin Can Tourist did no t contribute enough financially to the community and eventually the park was forced to close. After the parks closure, part of the original Tin Can Tourists, split off from the rest and incorporated themselves into The Camping Tourists of America (Gorham 1987). The Camping Tourists of America began looking for a winter place in which they could return to regularly when they became aware of the Braden Castle and the land around it on the Manatee River. Approximately one month after their search began the C amping Tourists of America, 160 shareholders, purchased 34.75 acres of that land, including the Braden Castle, for $16,000 on March 7th, 1924 (Gorham 1987) from J.J. thirteen residents of Braden Cas tle Park included a Mr. Kennedy (Stewart 1964: 7 B) from Bradentown who gave this account about the day they arrived; On arriving at the castle, we found the vegetation so dense it was necessary to clear a place to put up a tent. The debris from the cast le ruins was piled high against the sides. The crumbled material was put on the road at the southeast corner of the castle in an attempt to pack the fine sand that was there There was also a great deal of swampland near the castle ruins, off of the north east corner, which made it difficult to have lumber hauled in for construction. Despite the needed land preparations, by that November place markers for 200 cottages had been sectioned off and would soon replace their tents. On 40 x 40 foot square lots, plot sold for $200 (Cook 1993). The population of seasonal tourist soon reached 1000 (Weekender 1985: 5). The Camping Tourists of America soon changed their name to the Braden Castle Association.
Meaningful Ruins History 30 despite the Great Depression (Appendix A). Some of them had changed so much in fact that a cottage located at 46 Castle Drive had become a two story home that had a license by the State Hotel Commission from Tallahassee Florida to take in boarders in 1947. The current residents. There were three rooms upstairs in which tou rists could reside in during their vacation. lots were deeded to certificate holders. In December of 1955 the site of the Braden Castle ruins was surveyed and listed in plat b ooks as the Subdivision of Braden Castle Park under private ownership. On August 12 th 1971 another site survey was conducted and the Braden Castle ruins were given a site number, 8Ma99, and listed in the Florida Master Site File; awaiting a historic mark er (Historic 1970). In 1972 with support from the Manatee County Historical Society and the Department of State, the Braden Castle Ruins where added to the National Register of Historic Places. Due to an influx of retirees looking to make Florida their winter home in the early 1980s and with the help of residents at that time including, Loren Binkley, Ray West, and Imogene Crowe, Braden Castle Park was included on the Historic Registry and became Braden Castle Park Historic District in 1983. Braden Cas tle Park is currently a fifty five plus community. The residents of the park are part of an association with their own board members and bi laws. It is a self sufficient society with many amenities. Members of the park have large gatherings, shows and e vents, especially during the winter months, to socialize with other members
Meaningful Ruins History 31 and discuss community issues. One of the issues they discuss is what to do about the Braden Castle ruins. Past notions of preserving the ruins have failed and many residents are a gain hoping for an opportunity to enact some form of preservation efforts. The next chapter provides the history of the building as seen in historic photographs.
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 31 Pearl S. Buck Chapter Four: A Historical Photograph y Assessment of the Braden Castle The photographs in this chapter are a compiled collection of fifteen historic and as the amount of deterioration it has endured o ver the last one hundred and sixty two years. What was once a land holding of 1000 acres has been reduced to not much more than an area 100 feet squared and it is deteriorating fast The Braden Castle is made of tabby, a concrete like material (Figure 4 .1). Figure 4. 1 The Braden Castle between 1876 and 1903. Bradenton Times 2011. Manatee River nearby and is a stronger material than wood however, it too can
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 32 de teriorate Tabby reacts much like that of limestone, a sedimentary rock, in that it quickly dissolves in water that is slightly acidic. Water and carbon dioxide produce carbonic acid which can vary in acidity depending on the source. Rainwater is acidic roughly 0.3 percent, due to carbon dioxide caused from increased human activity, respiration of organisms living within the soil, decaying organic matter and that produced acid fog and acid rain. In humid regions such as Florida groundwater is also acidic because of the abundant amount of vegetation. All of these aspects raise the acidity level and contribute to the tabby turning into solution or dissolving and washing awa y. Compared to their volume, small particles have a larger surface area than that of large particles. Once the bonds that hold the material together have been dissolved these particles break free of their matrix and are easily carried away by wind. The smaller the particle the easier the wind transports it. Another condition of weathering is that of extreme heat and cold. The properties that make up the tabby can expand and retract with temperature changes. Upon freezing said materials can fracture an d split causing openings for water, vegetation and organisms to infiltrate these cracks and cause further damage. Animal feces, especially that of birds is also highly acidic and can leave pits in this type of construction material; which is why currently similar materials are covered in some type of sealant (Monroe 2007:178 179). All of these factors have played a role in the deterioration of the Braden Castle. During 2010 2012 I collected a series of photographs from archival documents such as old news paper articles, personal family photographs, historic memorabilia, and artwork produced due to interest in the Braden Castle. I took the most recent
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 33 photographs in January of 2012 of what is left of the Braden Castle ruins. Several of the photographs use d were obtained through members of the Braden Castle Park community. Others were collected by surveying old articles in regard to events or historical remembrances of the Braden Castle and were found in the Eaton Room at the Manatee County Central Library The Braden Castle Park historic district in East Bradenton includes many historic buildings, totaling 339 acres, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 9 th 1983. It is now a fifty five plus community as well as a historic dis trict within the city of Bradenton and the Braden Castle itself is cared for by the county of Manatee. The 197 bungalow style homes within Braden Castle Park were originally built in the 1930s and are placed along narrow roadways, all of which eventually bring you right to the castle ruins located in the center on the Manatee River. The Braden Castle ruins are surrounded by roads and small homes, most of which have been modified from their original bungalow style structures. The park, Figure 4.2, also co ntains shuffle board courts, a lagoon, a library, a recreation hall, a pier, an old post office, camping area, a meeting place for Sunday church service and a small home that has never been modified nor moved since its construction in the 1930s. Figure 4.2 Map of Braden Castle P ark and the surrounding area. This photograph is f rom the Braden Castle Park archival photograph collection.
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 34 The first photograph I chose to begin this series (Figure 4.3) was taken on January 14, 2012 in Braden Castle Park, and is of the Braden Castle as it stands today. What is left of the structure is protected by a chain link fence. This is a front view of the castle, fence. Figure 4.3 The Braden Castle ruins in 2012. Photograph by Rachel Roach Figure 4.4 is a close up of the front of the Braden Castle. The three planters in the forefront are original tabby columns once used to support, a now nonexistent, porch on t he front of the castle. Due to environmental stress, there is very little tabby left to define this large entrance but, the original foundation is still intact.
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 35 Figure 4.4Front entrance of the Braden Castle 2012. Photograph by Rachel Roach City Dat a has a photograph (Figure 4.5) by an individual who has had family living in the Sarasota Bradenton area for many generations. It is dated 1964 and is of the backside of the Braden Castle, which places the woman in the picture on the west side facing eas t. There is more of the castle standing; the framing of two windows can be seen. Several wall units are missing and there is a large crack that has formed behind the
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 36 window to the left in the photograph that gives testament to the severity of erosion bro ught about by both natural and unnatural elements. A chain link fence has been erected around the castle ruins with an informational sign placed inside it. Figure 4.5 The Braden Castle in 1964. Posted on City Data webpage, accessed in October 2012. A p ostcard rendering of what the Braden Castle looked like in 1940 (Figure 4.6), sixteen years after the nearly thirty five acres was sold to the Camping Tourists of America. The castle has signs of continued deterioration in this rendering but much of it is covered in blooming summer flowers. This postcard is important because it depicts the castle covered with blooms and provides insight to the importance of the Braden Castle to the community around it in 1940 and their intent to bring in other snowbirds It is
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 37 roughness of the crumbling castle walls. Postcards such as this one were sent by Braden Castle tourists or Camping Tourists of America and aided in enticing other tourists to make the area their vacation destination. This explains the over abundance of flowers upon the castle ruins in that they could be imagined or drawn specifically to romanticize them. This type of growth upon tabby would have crumbled the castle walls quickly. Due to the fact that this example is a drawing, it is not possible to deduce from it whether or not a fence around the castle existed at that time. Figure 4.6 A postcard rendering of the Braden Castle ruins in 1940. Housed in a collectio n at Braden Castle Park. Published in 1930 in Florida: Empire of the Sun by the Florida State Hotel Commission, Tallahassee, Florida, Figure 4.7 is a view of the southwest corner or the back right of the castle. There are several large wall fragments st anding in this
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 38 photograph, including one full chimney that appears to be in good condition. As evident, there was not a fence around the Braden Castle in 1930. Figure 4.7 The Braden Castle ruins 1930. Published in Florida: Empire of the Sun, by the Flo rida State Hotel Commission, Tallahassee, Florida (library of Roy Winkelman). From a collection of articles and photographs donated by the residences of Braden Castle Park, Figure 4.8 is a view of the front of the castle, the east side facing west. It is dated 1910 and shows dramatic changes in the structure of the Braden Castle between 1910 and 1930. The people in the photograph add a scale for which the overall size of the Braden Castle can be deduced. A fire in 1903 destroyed the roof and internal timbers
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 39 of the Braden Castle leaving it completely unprotected from detrimental, environmental elements. This photograph provides evidence of the wall that became the first major collapse to signify the inevitable demise of the castle structure seven year s later. Figure 4.8 The Braden Castle ruins 1910. Housed in a collection at Braden Castle Park. Another postcard rendering of the Braden Castle (Figure 4.9), this one, as it states on the back of the postcard, is a drawing from an original photo dated 1908. It depicts a man and woman enjoying a stroll on a path alongside the Braden Castle. The postcard also provides a nice front view of the castle. As can be observed, the right sidewall is still partially standing unlike the previous photograph, whe re the wall had completely
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 40 collapsed. In this depiction there are two chimneys that can be seen, one on each side of the castle. Figure 4.9 A postcard rendering drawn from a photograph taken in 1908. Housed in a collection at Braden Castle Park. If yo u look closely you can spot a porch column, or currently a planter, that is still in place directly in front of the castle steps. It is the same planter that can be observed in previously noted photographs (Figure 4.3 and 4.4); it is still currently used a s a planter and contains a plant (Figure 4.10).
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 41 Figure 4.10 An old Braden Castle porch column now used as a planter 2012. Photograph taken by Rachel Roach Taken only four years after the fire in 1903, this is again a view of the front of the castle (Figure 4.11) (Gorham 1987). This is the first photograph to show what appears to be all four exterior walls still standing but without any timber inside or out. Interestingly, in the previous photograph, one year later, pieces of the front right and lef t exterior walls are missing. Within five years of the timber destroying fire, roughly forty percent of the front exterior has deteriorated.
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 42 Figure 4.11 The Braden Castle 1907. Marie Gorham,. "Man's Dream Castle Leads Way For Others." The Bradenton P ress 14 January 1987 An article in the Bradenton Times from 2011 provides another front view of the Braden Castle (Figure 4.12). This photograph, although undated, was clearly taken before the fire in 1903 and after the cupola was built on by John Coop er sometime between 1857 and 1876; as stated in chapter 3. This photograph is intriguing because the south or right side exterior of the castle appears to be missing. This section is present in photographs after the fire of 1903, suggesting that the right exterior wall, including the other second floor window, had crumbled and were replaced before the fire. There are several people in this photograph inside the castle. Many are sitting within the window
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 43 frames with their legs dangling out or standing on the edges of the grand hallway. The vegetation around the entrance is overgrown but the intact porch supported by the columns, or what are now used as planters, are visible. Figure 4.12 The Braden Castle between 1876 and 1903. Bradenton Times 2011. Ba sed on the rate of vegetation growth, this undated photograph appears to have been taken earlier than that of the previous one (Figure 4.13). It is a clear view of the front entrance to the Braden Castle. It provides the ability to see the people that ha d come to picnic and socialize at the castle. This photograph is also the only one with a clear view of the interior hallway and a staircase that leads to the second level. It is unclear the condition of the south wall through this example but the assump tion is that it is missing in this photograph as well. All three planters that are in front of the castle in
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 44 Figure 4.3 can also be seen in the front of this one (Schofield, 1975, 32). Figure 4.13 The Braden Castle between 1876 and 1903. Arthur C. Scho field, Yesterday's Bradenton. Miami, Florida: E.A. Seeman Publishing, Inc., 1975 : Page 32.
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 45 A drawing based on an 1890 photograph (Figure 4.14 and 4.15), by C.J. Romanchock, who was once a resident at the Braden Castle Park. It is interesting because t he south wall is missing in this depiction as well. Figure 4.14 A wood cutting of the Braden Castle from a photograph dated 1890, by C.J. Romanchock, a previous resident at Braden Castle Park
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 46 Figure 4.1 5 A wood cutting of the Braden Castle from a p hotograph dated 1890, by C.J. Romanchock, a previous resident at Braden Castle Park was once replaced, or if it was totally abandoned after the fire. Historical data does not provide information or evidence that the roof was ever replaced. What is intriguing is that photographic data implies the south wall may have been rebuilt before the fire in 1903. The wall seems to disappear sometime between 1876 and 1890, y et reappears before the fire in 1903. This is clear by the photographs taken a few years after the fire which contain complete standing walls. Due to the material of which the castle is made, as well as the fact that the south side of the castle faced th e river, it is very possible that the south wall sustained more weathering and erosion from wind and water from the Manatee River.
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 47 Figure 4.16 is archived at the Manatee County Historical Society. It is a front view of the castle and although its date is not documented, it was taken sometime in the 2012). This photograph shows the entire structure. The south wall appears to be completely intact and the chimney on the exterior wall is visible. The glass wind ow panes are missing and much of the wood work is in need of repair but, the castle is in overall good condition. Archived at the Manatee County Historical Society
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 48 This survey ends with the earliest know n photograph of the Braden Castle (Figure 4.17). The date is undocumented but the photograph would have been taken after the man who added the cupola died, the castle lay abandoned due to the end of the Civil War in 1865 and the decline of plantation settlements Based on the clothing worn by the men condition of the castle seems to be very good Wooden planks are present and everything appears to be fully intact, with the exception of window panes. There is, however, a large chunk of tabby missing from the south wall between the two window frames on the front of the castle. This could be what wall is missing in many photographs of the castle.
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 49 Figure 4.17 The photographs in this chapter take us through time and illum inate the Braden not sealed as well as the wind, water and fire damages i t has endured in its one hundred and sixty two year existence. Environmental stress including current heavy rains and wind are quickly disintegrating the roughly ten percent remaining tabby wall segments. The smaller the tabby fragments become the quick er they will eventually deteriorate; returning to the earth and waterways they were once extracted from. Unfortunately, allowing the castle to disappear is paramount to the ways in which the United States handles the history of slavery and genocide today. The next chapter will describe the ruins as an archaeological site.
Meaningful Ruins A Historical Photography Assessment of the Braden Castle 50
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 50 Let us, while waiting for new monuments, preserve the ancient monuments. Victor Hugo Chapter Five: The Current Condition of the Braden Castle Ruins The material remains of the Braden Castle are documented in this chapter. Th e Braden Castle, site number 8Ma 99, is located in side of t he Brade n Castle Park historic district on Ponce De Leon Street and Delot Avenue in Bradenton Florida, and is bound by the Manatee and Braden R three structures, including the Braden Castle which is cared for by the county of Manatee (NGIA, 2011) The 339 acre Bra den Castle Park historic district, with its many historic buildings, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 9 th 1983. The district is now part of a fully inhabited and public area in the city of Bradenton. Built on the Manatee River in 1850, the Braden Castle was constructed of poured tabby, which is a locally acquired mixture of shell, lime, sand, and water (Figure 5.1). Figure 5.1 molded tabby. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012.
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 51 Tabby and its components react to weathering much like limestone in that it is very susceptible to erosion from water and wind. all internal wooden beams within the structure in 1903, exposing it to the elements. This chapter will discuss the current condition of the Bra den Castle ruins and its immediate surroundings. Upon entering Braden Castle Park, where the Braden Castle ruins are located, a visitor does not see the ruins right away. They are located at the end of Braden Castle Drive nearly 843 feet from the main ent rance to the park and 225 feet from the bank of the Manatee River. The ruins are located on a 232 x 70 feet oval shaped, grassy lot that like homes of Braden Castle Park, with excepti on of a section of the river bank, measuring 102 feet, left open for access to the pier, and concrete in the form of narrow roads, Plaza Street and Braden Castle Drive, that allow a visitor to drive all the way around the castle ruins and near the south ba nk of the Manatee River. There are three other structures on the lot which include a small green and white, walk through, double bench gazebo that is located on the edge of Plaza Street. The other small structures are two concrete, circular flower beds surrounded by concrete walking paths. The flower bed closest to the Manatee River contains a flagpole. The flower bed closest to the ruins contains a white fountain with a deteriorating white statue of a young woman with a basket at her bare feet on the top. When a visitor walks through the gazebo onto the concrete walkway, they are approaching a cross section that is sheltered by small flowering trees. Once in this location, the pathway options are to go right, toward the flower bed containing the flag pole nearest the river, or left, toward the flower bed containing the fountain nearest
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 52 the castle; neither walkway incorporates the castle ruins into the landscape layout. Also sharing this plot of land are an early photograph of the Braden Castle encased in glass, a three park benches; one is located on the west side of the castle and on the corner of Braden Castle Drive just outside the fence, bench is the first thing a visitor sees when approaching the castle ruins (Figure 5.2). Figure 5.2 The first bench and sign observed when approaching the castle ruins. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012. The second bench is loca ted behind the ruins, on the North side of the castle, near the encased historic photo and has a mailbox on the fence beside it containing historical information about the castle within it ( Appendix B ). The third bench is located on the east
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 53 side of the ca stle facing the river; away from the castle ruins. None of the three benches face the Braden Castle ruins. The ruins are now enclosed behind an aged, four feet tall chain link fence that are not only now a part of the ruins but also prevents public access to the them The fence also has three north or backside of the castle. The fence serves its purpose by keeping people and things away from the ruins, as to prevent any further damage to what is left of the structure. However; the fence also somewhat disguises what ruins remain in two ways. First, the ruins are difficult to see because there is hearty vegetation growing along the fence in some areas and jasmine and other flowering vine growing through the chain link in others. Second, only a few sections of the tabby walls stand high enough to be seen above the top of the fence. Most of the ruins are not even as tall as the four foot fence that surrounds it. The fence, coupled with th e vegetation growth upon it, prevents one from obtaining a clear view of the ruins. Interestingly, three porch columns that once held up a wooden platform porch still stand on the front or south side of the castle but are located outside the fence and ar e not included with the other ruins. Each column varies in its distance from the road due to the contours of Plaza Street. The first column and the one to the far left when standing in front of the castle ruins is 2.6 feet from the road. The second is s tanding 3.8 feet from the road and the third is 5.5 feet from it and has a tree growing around its base. This arrangement distorts the actual size of the castle and has made the once large porch seem nonexistent. Upon my first visit to the castle ruins, I did not even realize that they were a part of the original layout and form of the Braden Castle, which had a large raised porch
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 54 that rested upon tabby columns. In fact, I did not notice them at all on my first visit. The three tabby porch columns are n ow used as decorative planters for flowers and flowering trees have been planted between them producing a floral border or added defense as well as the already existing fence (Figure 5.3). Figure 5.3 Tabby columns used as planters with flowering trees in between them. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012. All three columns have been modified by smoothing the tops with added concrete in order to have a space to place soil for the plants to nest in. I do not want to speculate whether or not the border was made in order to somewhat hide the awkwardness of the crumbling ruins or if it was to draw attention to the ruins by beautifying the area around it. When looking over the fence upon the Braden Castle ruins one realizes how tightly it has been fenced in. The roughly 60 x 60 feet and are not
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 55 (Hayes 2009). Along the front (facing north) and the back of the castle there is between four to nine feet of spa ce castle (east and west) the fence comes much closer to the foundation, only allowing zero to five feet of space. Unfortunately, the plant growth within the confines of the fence is thick. Within this space there is a large amount of vegetation, including weeds and eight trees, that of the trees are so close to the ruins that they are touching them. One tree in the northeast corner (backside of castle) is now growing over top of the ruins and its roots have completely crumbled the foundation in that area. Plants, of all types, are very destructive to tabby because of their root systems. The tabby, which is already weathered by the outside elements, i.e. wind, sun and rain, becomes weaker and more brittle. The smallest particles of tabby which would include the lime, sand and smallest oyster shell particles are the first to deteriorate. Plant roots move between the weaknesses in the tabby, breaking loose the weakened particles and breaking down what bonds the tabby together; virtually crumbling the ruins. Because tabby is porous it holds moisture which supports mold and plant growth. Plants growin g atop the tabby ruins can be observed throughout the remains of the castle. With the heaviness of the vegetation in, on and around the castle ruins as well as wind, rain and the expansion and contraction of the tabby due to extreme heat and, in winter, s ome freezing; the Braden Castle ruins are struggling to remain upon the landscape.
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 56 Still viewing the Braden Castle on the outside of the fence, peering over it, one howev er, are not as easily observed. Inside the somewhat square foundation border of what is left of the Braden Castle there are several, different sized, crumbled pieces of tabby. So many in fact, there are piles of these pieces scattered everywhere. The pi les of rubble visually mix with what tabby wall pieces are left standing and void any clear ascertation of the original wall boundaries. This arrangement coupled with the large amount of plant growth within the fence distorts not only the view but also the inner layout of the ruins themselves. There is however, a photograph on the premises to assist individuals who come to visit the castle and remind them of what it originally looked like. On the back side of the castle facing south, is where the historica l marker (Appendix C ) and the old photograph of the Braden Castle are located, standing ten feet from each other. I am not sure why the historic marker and the photograph were placed on the backside of the castle but, the Braden Castle Park historian and resident, Glenna Shanahan (personal communication October 2012), stated that she believed it was placed on the backside of the building because, upon the placement of the historic marker, there were more ruins standing on that side at that time. This pla cement is very confusing for two reasons. First, when a visitor enters the Braden Castle Park Historic District and continue forward on Braden Castle Drive, one ends with the northwest corner of the ruins directly in front of the visitor. In order to see the historic marker and the photograph of the Braden Castle one would have to then continue left on Braden Castle Drive, drive down one block and then turn right Plaza Street This complicates matters in that it is not
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 57 as inviting to outside guests as it could be because it is not easy to ascertain what one is looking at until driving almost all the way around it. This would not seem like a dilemma but the roads are narrow and surrounded by small homes which, adds a sense of uncertainty to visitors in reg ard to whether or not they should be there and how long they should linger. The photograph used is dated between 1876 and 1900 but, it is not the oldest known photograph of the Braden Castle; it misleads the audience of the grandeur al form. While walking around the perimeter of the fence and gazing at the Braden Castle ruins, there are two specific observations that are very noticeable; one, the discoloration of the tabby and two, the inconsistent arrangement of holes within the sta nding tabby slabs. The discoloration is caused by moss, lichen and mold which leaves the tabby remains three different colors; black, white and varying shades of green (Figure 5.4). Figure 5.4 Tabby covered in mold, moss and lichen. Photo by Rachel R oach 2012.
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 58 Most of the white or original coloration is confined to the larger slabs of tabby still standing. Typically the smaller the piece of tabby, the darker in color it is. The shades of green are due to various plant growths upon the tabby. The ho les in the tabby were created during its construction in 1850. Blocks were formed by pressing the lime, sand and oyster shell and water mixture into wooden boxes to dry in the hot Florida sun. Wooden pegs were inserted into the wet tabby in order to remov e the tabby blocks from the wooden frames once they were dried and ready for use. The use of these wooden pegs is still evident on the present remaining ruins of the castle in the form of golf ball sized holes that form an uneven vertical line from top to bottom of the structure (Lawrence 1978: 53). Viewing the Braden Castle ruins from the inside of the fence is a completely different and insightful experience. I was fortunate to be granted access, by Glenna Shanahan in October 2012, and spent several hour s exploring the ruins. There is only one means of access to the ruins: through a small, padlocked gate on the Northeast corner of the fence. Jasmine vines have grown over the gate and the entire east side of the fence which made it difficult to enter. B arely able to pull the gate open, I had to crawl through a small space through the gate and under the jasmine to gain access. Once inside, the first thing I noticed was that you can still clearly see the layout of the castle rooms and grand hallway. When one enters through the gate, the first room you walk into is the Northeast or back right room of the castle. This particular room has the tallest remaining tabby wall section still intact, measuring a little over twelve feet in height. This tabby
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 59 wall section remains this height because the roots of a banyan tree have held it in place for several years (Figure 5.5 ).
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 60 Figure 5.5 A banyan tree growing over the tallest section of tabby left of the Braden Castle. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012.
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 61 This room a lso contains the second tallest tabby wall section measuring six feet in height. This particular wall section is the barrier wall between the front and back rooms on the east side of the castle (Figure 5.6 ). Figure 5.6 The second tallest remaining wall section of the Braden Castle. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012.
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 62 One very noticeable difference between this room and the other three is the ground. One can observe clearly the rubble within each room space except for this one. What is left in this room o f the crumbling tabby is predominantly located against the remaining west wall. The entire room space is covered in leaves. The ground feels somewhat spongy to walk across as if there are many layers of debris from the banyan tree overhead. This may be the contributing factor to the lack of tabby in this room opposed to the other three which do not have large trees sheltering them. What tabby remains were here may have deteriorated due to the excess debris covering it and destroying it from above. Wha t this room lacks opposed to the others is excessive plant growth because it gets the least amount of sunlight due to the large tree above it. Another interesting aspect to this room and its standing wall sections is that one is able to obtain an up close view of the tabby material. Although the oyster shells were ground during construction of the castle there are still large and even whole shell pieces within the walls. The northeast room, like the other three, is missing sections of the foundation, lea ving gaps large enough to walk around the fireplace location. Upon leaving the northeast room and entering the front right or southeast room of the castle there is a noticeable difference in the tabby. This room is not only filled with varying sizes of crumbled tabby but the color of it is almost entirely black. This room is dense with rubble and difficult to walk through. It is also much more overgrown with plant li fe than the other three rooms. Weeds were so thick it is easy to become tangled up in them, making navigation a challenge. The southeast room has virtually no coverage
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 63 from trees and gets sunlight all day long. The tabby itself, black in color, is very fragile here and almost deteriorates with a simple touch (Figure 5.7 ). Figure 5.7 Discolored tabby. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012. The foundation is still intact but also has missing pieces. The front wall of the castle has pieces standing as high as s ix feet but they are no more than two and a half to are no bricks left defining the fireplace. Most of the rubble in this room appears to be from the West wall that separated this room from the grand hallway.
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 64 Walking across the grand hallway and into the front left or southwest room one will notice that it resembles the southeast room to a large degree. The tabby wall sections stand at roughly the same height and t he wall that separates this room from the grand hallway has too crumbled and spilled over into it making it difficult to walk through. The tabby here in this room is also black in color and very fragile. There are also many plants growing in this locatio n. A Braden Castle resident claims that years ago members of the park decided to plant flowers within and around the ruins in order to make it more appealing to look at. She stated that a group of college students, from which college she could not recall, told them that the plants would further damage the tabby and that they should remove them (Betty Holbrook personal communication October 2012). The plants were removed right away but residual plants have still remained and continue to multiply. What is i nteresting about this room is the chimney. Because it has been sheltered by a tall pine tree and surrounded by the said residual plants, a few of the bricks still remain and the foundation around the fireplace is still visible. Many of the missing bricks have not deteriorated but were taken by past residents, before the fence was in place, for their own landscaping purposes (Glenna Shanahan Personal Communication, 2012). There are few bricks left. The fourth and final room left of the Braden Castle is the back left or northwest room. This location is also filled with rubble with the higher concentrations predominantly against the back wall of the castle. Interestingly, most of the tabby here is green and black in color and is covered in moss and liche n. It is only shaded by a sparse palm tree in the far northwest corner. There are also plants growing here but due to very little shade, they are dry and brittle, struggling to survive the heat of the sun. The location
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 65 of the chimney can be observed and the fireplace can still be seen. It is slightly covered by a fallen wall section that is almost six feet high making access to the fireplace uneasy. There are many bricks left in this location and one can clearly spot the outline of the fireplace. When getting down on the ground and peering around the wall section that is covering the fireplace opening, one can see the bricks still in place. The bricks themselves are not all tabby bricks. The bricks used within the fireplace appear to be red clay (Figu re 5.8 ). Figure 5.8 A red clay brick within the fireplace of the northwest room. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012.
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 66 Another interesting aspect of this particular room is a wooden plank two feet in length that is still nailed into the tabby (Figure 5.9 ). Figure 5.9 A wooden plank still nailed to a slab of tabby. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012. It is not clear whether this wooden plank is original to the castle however; it appears to be very weathered, worn and sounds hollowed when knocking upon it as if it h as been there for many years. A fire destroyed the wood within and upon the castle so, whether this plank of wood survived or was nailed into the tabby at a later date is unclear. When leaving the southwest room and looking down the center of the ruins one can easily view what was once the entrance to the grand hallway. This section of the
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 67 ruins contains many crumbled tabby pieces within it, all of which are black in color. The foundation walls at the entrance and the back of the hallway are almost non existent standing roughly one and a half to one foot tall. This area is also covered in weeds and residual plants and is not easy to navigate. There are two insights that I gathered from my visit inside the fence at Braden Castle Park. One is the sizes o f the fireplace foundations. The foundations for the fireplaces in the back of the house are larger than those in the front. The back foundations measure seven feet in length where as the front measure five and one half to six feet in length. This obser vation could be attributed to deterioration but, the location of the house kitchen could also be a factor in that the kitchen fireplace area may have been made larger on purpose. Another interesting aspect is noticeable one foot tall or less sized slits w ithin the tabby. They are mostly concentrated on either side of the fireplaces but were also found just inside the rooms outside the grand hallway. This too is unclear but I speculate they are what once held up wooden planks for flooring throughout the c astle (Figure 5.10). Figure 5.10 Rectangular slits carved out of the tabby. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012.
Meaningful Ruins The Current Condition of the Braden Castle 68 The overall condition of the Braden Castle ruins is not good. The jasmine vines are beginning to grow into the tabby on the east side of the ruins, and if not trimmed or removed, will continue to grow into the tabby and break it apart. The foundation walls have deteriorated significantly all the way around the castle and range in heights from zero to three feet. The width of the original two feet th ick tabby wall sections are also thinning. They range in width between one half to one foot. The plants within the ruins are also taking a drastic toll on the remaining tabby. Some of the plants are covering the crumbled sections completely while others are slowing making their way toward what is left of the standing walls. The moss, mold and lichen are making the tabby pieces weak and many of them break off just by merely touching them. The Braden Castle and all that it was in the past is now dissolving back into the earth. Narratives of its significance, strength, sense of home and ability to protect those who entered it may continue to be told, but the structure itself needs its own protection now more than ever. The smaller the ruins are allowed to b ecome the more quickly what is left will deteriorate and disappear. With each new rain or heavy wind off of the Manatee River, the Braden Castle becomes one step closer to fading from the landscape it once dominated. The next chapter focuses on an ethno graphy of the residents living around the ruins and their perspectives on its history.
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 68 Soon most of us will be leaving For a distant clime, Hope all return again next season For another happy time. God bless and keep us through the summer Happy and f ree, Farewell until we meet next winter Down by the Manatee. Sadie Walling Past resident of Braden Castle Park Chapter Six: Ethnography A building can only gain significance through the individual lives and narratives that support its recognition. Th e Braden Castle, with ever changing landscapes, continues to be recognized today, not only by the county and state but, the community of Braden Castle Park and the events held in its honor each year during Florida Heritage Month in March. It is a combinat ion of these attributes that provide insight into the historical connections as well as the changing significance of the Braden Castle. For instance, the landscape in the time of Joseph Braden was much different than what it is today The significance of the castle itself has also changed throughout time. time period the area was bustling with new settlers and their capitalist ideals for advancement and with these changes, social inequalities and stress rooted in colonialism were plac ed at the forefront In its more recent history the Braden Castle and its surrounding landscape became a place to socialize with other tourists. Renderings of the Braden Castle were painted or photographed and placed on postcards
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 69 in order to show famil y and friends at home the grandeur and beauty of the Braden Castle and the landscape it encompassed. Motivated by the desire to purchase their own campground many of the Tin Can Tourists split off from the rest and formed a new group called the Camping T ourists of encompassed the pursuance of property and the dictation of rules and bylaws associated with communal living, not all of which were agreed upon. Although as w ith any case of communal living, there are typical disagreements which continue today; one of them is what to do about the Braden Castle ruins. more than just old ruins to lo ok at, but a window into the lives of many who participated in the plantations progress, those individuals who were displaced by it, those who inhabited it after Joseph Braden left it behind and the current residence of Braden Castle Park today. The Brade n Castle itself, now in ruins, is of some debate. Many residents of Braden Castle Park would like to see it preserved but are unsure whose responsibility it would be or how preservation would be financially funded. Curious as to what the individuals at Br aden Castle Park know about their current historical surroundings, I held many interviews in order to better understand the aspect of public memory on changing landscapes and the ways in which individuals affect the landscape as the landscape affects them. This location is particularly interesting because the Braden Castle ruins are nestled in the middle of a Braden Castle Park which was historically designated in 1983 after the marker for the ruins was placed in 1972. Although the Braden Castle ruins ha ve their own historical marker in which its history is
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 70 clearly labeled, it focuses on the early history of Joseph Braden and Seminole Indian attacks and only mentions the Camping Tourists of America in the last line of the historic information. Because th e park was dedicated due to historical events involving the Camping Tourists of America, and not specifically the castle ruins, I wanted to determine the significance of the Braden Castle ruins through present community memories associated with it; contrib across the changing landscape. The current residents do not seem to know much about the castle ruins aside from what is labeled on the marker and focus their historic knowledge on the time p eriod encompassing the Camping Tourist of America as well as the history of family and friends within the Braden Castle Park Historic District. Although recollections and collective memories of the past are not necessarily consciously planned, they are sh aped and molded due to what individuals collectively remember and agree upon based on the interpretations of their gathered experiences (Shackel 2010: 385). I wanted to know what the residents found significant about the Braden Castle, how it affected the m, and what, if anything, they would like to see done with what remains of the castle ruins. When they discuss its restoration or preservation, typically, it becomes clear that it is important to them based on the history but also one form or another of th This information will better help me to understand the significance of the Braden Castle to the small community that surrounds it. Methodology My methodology included a polyphonic approach where I began with formal and somewhat st ructured interviews by using a set group of open questions (Figure 6.1).
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 71 Interview Questions 1. How did you come to live at Braden Castle Park? 2. Do you have any other relatives that also live here? 3. Have any of your past relatives lived in the park? If so, w hom? 4. What do you know about the history of the Braden Castle? Braden Castle Park? 5. Do you have any personal stories or memories in regard to the Braden Castle that you would like to share? 6. Would you like to see the castle ruins preserved or restored? 7. Do yo u know of any past efforts to preserve it? 8. In your opinion, how does the overall community feel about its presence and possible preservation? 9. What would you like to see done, i.e. preservation, ghost structure, museum? Onsite or offsite? Excavations? 10. How would you feel about visitors coming into the community to see a preserved Braden Castle? Figure 6.1 Interview questions used during research by Rachel Roach 2012. My open ended questions allowed for interviewees to elaborate on their feelings in regard to the Braden Castle ruins and Braden Castle Park which sparked interest within the community and led to snowball sampling and more informal interviews (Erin Dean, personal communication, September 2012). I chose the polyphonic approach because no one p articular individual that I interviewed could speak for or define the entire community due to the fact that today many of the residents are not as informed on the
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 72 history of the Braden Castle or Braden Castle Park. Because landscapes are social and physic al environments my observations included the exchanges between individuals within the community and the sights, sounds, smells and symbolism of this location and how these experiences inscribed meaning on the landscape (Van Dyke 2008: 277). These added at tributes are important to the overall landscape of the Braden Castle within Braden Castle Park. The memories, between generations, begin to take shape as public memories upon the landscape and require all of the above said observations to become those of t he current community. My dilemma has been where I fit into my research. As a researcher, my goal is to gather data and display my conclusions concisely in order to show the importance of the Braden Castle within the community of Braden Castle Park as w ell as options for the castle ruins today. However; my informants now believe in my project and consider me detached observer who can make sense of conflicts and contradict ions by not becoming in this project, as an advocate to the community, not only due to the information I have received but also due to my interest in heritage and hist orical places. Observations I spent several hours doing observations, near the castle ruins, in Braden Castle Park. Although I have been to the park many times previous, for my thesis, I am using my documented notes beginning with October 6 th 2012. On this day I arrived at the castle ruins at 1:00 pm and sat on a park bench facing east, with the ruins behind me, where anyone passing by would see me. Because it was early October, many of the
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 73 ummer home within the park. It was a quiet and peaceful day without much commotion. At 1:20 pm a man in a golf agreed as he kept on going. After a few minutes, the same man, as well as another man he had picked up, passed me by going the opposite direction. He and the other gentleman both waved and smiled as they passed as if they knew me. It was a friendly interaction but the only interaction I had with anyone that par ticular day. In fact, I did not even observe any other individuals around or near the castle ruins on that day. I did however hear a man, which I never saw, whistling an unfamiliar tune to my left. I also remember that I had not had lunch before my arriv al at the park that day and I could smell chicken frying from a house nearby which added to my hunger. I left that day at 2:00 pm. My next visit to Braden Castle Park was on October 18 th 2012 at noon. I decided to sit in a different location than that of my first visit so; I sat on the park bench, again with the ruins at my back, on the south side or back of the castle ruins. This location has a walkway, historic marker, historic photo and a little mailbox with information about the castle in it. I thou ght this might be a better location to observe because anyone interested in the castle ruins would likely start here. It was a very nice day; cloudy and cool. Every time the wind blew off the Manatee River I could smell a fishy tinge in the air. Becau se it was a little windy, the dead palm branches rustled in the breeze next to where I was sitting. There were many people shuffling around outside. There were people riding their bikes, driving golf carts and working in front of their homes. Most of th e work being done was by women weeding their flower beds and trimming the bushes and small trees that surrounded their
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 74 homes. There was one man wiping off patio furniture; he later sat in one of the chairs while sipping iced tea. I knew it was iced tea be cause the large jar he used to make it in was still steeping in his driveway. He added lemons before he drank any. No one seemed to notice me watching them until I was about to leave. At 11:30 am an elderly man walked by me to my left and smiled but, di d not speak to me until he walked passed me again a few moments later. He asked me if I was waiting for someone. I explained to giggled and took off walking again. A s I walked to my truck, a woman, with dead flowers from her garden still in her gloved hands, waved and smiled at me. No one passed by in front of me on this bench either on that day but, people did notice me and seemed unconcerned with what I was doing. I returned to Braden Castle Park on November 9 th 2012, at 10:00 am and was surprised with how different the environment looked and felt. I had spoken to one of the or would be returning within the next week. It was a very cool and sunny day. The unmistakable scent of bacon and coffee filled the air yet, I never found its location. I was there to conduct an interview and was walking along Braden Castle Drive opposed to sitting on a bench and observing. There were people hustling about all around me. It became obvious after a few moments that many of these individuals had just returned to Braden Castle Park, either earlier that morning or late the night before. Th ey were moving about quickly, laughing, joking, hugging and making plans with their neighbors for that evening as if they were all very close friends. Apparently the well used by the residents had not been working the
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 75 previous hour because a man named Hen ry stated, to a group standing in the street, that it was now working and they could get water. Several of the group members grabbed their gallon water jugs and hurried to fill them up. The excitement and enthusiasm was very infectious and I found myself joining in within minutes. The residents reminisced about previous times spent together, poking fun and laughing until there were tears in their eyes. They also were very helpful with one another, offering to exchange things that were helpful to them a s they were trying to settle in such as, reading glasses and screwdrivers. After the initial excitement of the well working had passed, many of the individuals walked and talked slowly as they went back and forth to fill up more water jugs. Both the men and the women worked and talked, however; not without jokes. I overheard two women talking about the lagoon and how it needed to be dredged again. The men teased them saying that originally a group of women dredged that lagoon and that instead of talking about it they should get to digging. The women merely rolled their eyes and laughed as the men continued to hackle them. They were all kind to me and seemed to have no problem involving me in the commotion. Other residents, those not living near the ca stle ruins, passed by on golf carts or bicycles stopping to chat for a moment and then moving on. Everyone seemed to be in great spirits on this day and happy to be where they were. A woman in the crowd said giggled and nodded their heads in agreement. During this visit to Braden Castle Park I realized that although the residents do not speak much of the history of the Braden Castle ruins, they appear to enjoy its pre sence and view it as a symbol of friendship and homecoming.
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 76 Characters I interviewed seven individuals who live within Braden Castle Park all of which live within close proximity to the Braden Castle ruins and within one block of each other. My entry i nto the community began with Glenna Shanahan. While visiting the castle ruins on January 14 th 2012 she approached me on her golf cart outside the fence surrounding the ruins as she was taking out the trash. She introduced herself as the Braden Castle his torian and was very pleased that I expressed interest in the Braden Castle, inviting me back to her home. Mrs. Shanahan has been my key informant at Braden Castle Park. She has helped me find interviewees, historical information, and archival photograph s pertaining to the castle since it was built. As with the other residents at the park, most of her knowledge is Tourists of America. Since our first meeting, which continued at her home, Mrs. Shanahan has invited me to several events at Braden Castle Park commemorating its history. One particular event was a walking tour of Braden Castle Park. During this tour, the importance of the castle ruins as a part the commu nity of this current landscape began to take shape. The tour started with the Braden Castle and the history of Joseph Braden and led into the castle ruins drawing t hem back home to this place. In this tour, conducted by Mrs. Shanahan, she discussed the building of a community around the Braden Castle which now includes a fishing pier, club house, library, church, shuffle board courts, post office,
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 77 ye ole liars bench ; used for members of the community to tell their wildest fish story, fire rings for sounding alarms, the man made lagoon and the oldest, still in original condition, cottage built by the first residents of the Park. There were approximately twenty peopl e following this tour; more than half were residents, the other individuals were people who it was a ted me to come back for a Braden Castle slideshow that she conducted during Heritage Month in March. After several visits with Mrs. Shanahan I had gathered a large amount of information. I returned on March 18 th 2012 for the slideshow. Myself included, th ere were twenty four people waiting in the clubhouse to view the historical slides; all of whom were residents except me. I have since digitized the slides for Mrs. Shanahan as a thank you for all of her help and the promise of a personal interview with h er. On September 19 th 2012, I was able to conduct an interview with Glenna Shanahan via telephone from her summer home in upstate New York. I used the same structured, open ended questions that I would use for my other interviews as seen in figure 5. W hen I asked Mrs. Shanahan how she came to live at Braden Castle Park she my parents, I have had two uncles and an aunt who also lived here years ago and now, a
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 78 personal stories in regard to the castle, only historical accounts but during one of our previous meetings she showed me her view of the castle ruins from her bedroom and talked about how she loves being able to see it every day when she wakes up and that it in New York so that she can stay in Braden Castle Park all year round to be near her sister Lois. I questioned her in regard to what she would like to see done with the ruins and h its own little museum inside so that visitors could come see how important the castle was then and the name of Jack Hayes if he would be interested in drawing up some plans for the castle ruins. He is an him a project if he wanted it. He agreed and drew up these beautiful plans on the castle in case we were one day able to rebuild it. He seemed to really enjoy the project and I feel about the possible preservation or restor people, ya know, a small family of four, came out here to have a picnic on the lagoon and were run off by some of the ot her residents. When I heard about it I was irritated because this place is on the national registry of historic places and everyone should be welcome event was very cl ear; she highly disagreed with the actions of those residents. This
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 79 response was enough that I did not have to ask her how she felt about people visiting the Before we said our goodbyes I asked her if she knew anyone else that was currently in the park that I could interview. She said she would get back to me. Within a couple days she sent me an email and suggested that I interview her sister, Lois Braley. I contacted Mrs. Braley and we set up an interview for September 21 st at 10:00 am. When I arrived at her house I noticed that she did not live but a few streets down from her sister Glenna Shanahan. Mrs. Braley was a very friendly woman and I could tell right away that she and Mrs. Shanahan were sisters. Lois is younger than Glenna and although she claims to know very little about the history of the Braden Castle, she was very willing to tell her own personal story of how she came to live at Braden Castle Park. We discussed a little bit ab out her life when she handed me a print out of the entire story that she had prepared for my interview. The story read as follows; home in upstate New York after Bernard agreed to d Over the next few winters, my parents searched for a vacation home. One day they arrived and stayed at Braden Castle Park, the first of their family to live there and said that God led them here. They bought a house at 6 Parkview Street and became 1997. My Mother continued living here until four yea rs before her death in 2002. My bought a trailer at 10 Gardenia Street. It was still owned in 2009 by their son, my cousin,
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 80 Ed Chapman. Another one of my uncles, Robert Cha death. Hazel then rented a place in the park on Seminole Drive. In 1981 my husband Coolidge and I brought our sixteen year old son for a visit over Christmas break. It was the first time any of us had flown or been in Florida. I remember how warm it was and that sand burrs were painful on bare feet. I also remember how surprised I was when I went to the mall, saw Christmas decorations and had completely forgotten it was Christmas Eve! The next time we visited the park was in 1985 after Coolidge had retired. We had purchased a house in Braden Castle Park that we had never seen but knew needed some work. We rented a place on Desoto St reet that year while the renovations eventually accompanied the choir on the piano and in 1992 I started directing the ladies choir, eventually a combined choir and men and wom en upon the retirement of Thurman Agness. In 1996 I started reading Hymn Sing while still directing the choir. In 2006 I retired from the choir and that fall from Hymn Sing. At one time I was elected vice president of what is now called the Castle Club and after one meeting as V.P. I became the President for the next two years. In 2007 I was elected president of the Shuffle Club and I am still the current president. My husband Coolidge died a few years ago and I have since sold my home up north and I l ive at the park full time now. My husband and my Father served on the board of directors here for twenty years. After my husband passed in 2011 I was then added to the board of director s as well. I love living at this park. I remember tournaments with my Father, who also loved shuffle board, and the trophies we won together. I feel like this community is like family and everyone looks
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 81 sometimes people get in your In addition, I asked her about the castle ruins and how she felt about them. She stated that she too would like to see something done in way of preservation but was not very particular as far as what it was she thought was best. She claimed that it is all about the funding. If there was money to preserve the ruins, she would be in support of it. When we discussed the possibility of increased visitors in the park due to some type of preservation she respond My interview with Lois Braley was very informative in regard to the importance of this place as a symbol of home, family and friends that support each other. She did not know of anyone available at that time for an additional interview but told me that her sister Glenna would know people that could tell me more about the castle. I sent Mrs., Shanah an an email thanking her for setting me up with the interview with her sister and within days she responded with more interviewees who included a couple by the names of Henry and Betty Holbrook that live behind her. I met with Henry and Betty on November 9 th 2012 at 10:00 am. Henry and Betty live on Braden Castle Drive and their home has a full front view of the Braden Castle. My interview questions were less structured during this interview based on the fact that this was also the bustling day in which m any of the residents had returned and were racing to the well to fill up their water jugs. The commotion could easily be observed out Henry excused himself because he was curious about the commotion outside so, Betty
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 82 her and Henry over to see the castle when they were in town visiting from Boston where they lived in 1956. Betty recalls not seeing the castle ruins but the for sale sign that was taped to the door of the home they now live in across from the castle. While she peeked inside, Henry looked at the Braden Castle ruins with her Father. She claimed that the very next day, as t hey were on their way back home to Boston, Henry stopped and made an offer on the little house in Braden Castle Park. Henry recalls that they did not even have a check with them but, the realtor gave them a receipt on a piece of cardboard and told them to mail the check when they arrived back in Boston. Betty smiled and stated that she was very happy because their soon to be vacation home already had hot running water which many in the area at that time did not, all at a cost of $4000.00. Betty also said that she and Henry were the youngest at Braden Castle Park when they moved in and are now the oldest residents there. They used this home as a winter residence until Henry, a Boston Police chief, retired in 1977 when they started living at the park year income. In fact they were happy and bragging about the fact that they just paid their taxes and only were required to pay $349.00 this year. They explained that the dues to live in the park are also very low due to the renters in the Braden Castle Park mobile home section. Dues at the park are typically $100.00 per year but, as of this year went up to $200.00 per year. I questioned them about their relatives and if they had ever had any living within Braden Castle Park. Both Betty and Henry stated that they have never had any relatives living in the Park before or since they have lived here. When I asked them what they
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 83 knew about the history of the Braden Castle they both looked puzzled and Betty replied that they did not much at all about the history but, when they first saw the castle all four walls were still standing in 1956. Henry said that the only thing he knew was that the holes in the tabby walls of the castl e were caused by arrows being shot at it from Indians which, I did not have the heart to tell him in that moment that that was not true (The holes in fact, were caused by poles being placed in the wet tabby so that the tabby blocks could later be removed o nce they had dried in the sun). Because neither Betty nor Henry knew much about the early history of the castle, when I asked them about whether they had any personal stories they would like to share, they went back to the time when they first arrived her e. Henry stated that when they arrived in 1956 there was a post office, grocery store and barber shop in the location near where the main office is located today. Henry said he thinks they were closed back in 1977 because the community wanted to moderni ze the one room cabins and make room to put new trailers in. The trailers and the renters are important to the residents who own homes in Braden Castle Park because they are younger, they also fix things in the community that many of the owning residents are too hired because the residents are too old to do it themselves and that there are not enough buying a home inside the park was not easy and that it remained full. Now she claims it is not hard at all. Due to the commotion involving the well, Henry told me a story about how he and a few other men in the park, including a Mr. Winning, built the p retty lighthouse
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 84 cover that was placed over the old well that is 700 feet deep. Mr. Winning built the mold in which they covered in large stones. up the castle ruins by planting flowers in and around them. Students from a nearby college, she could not remember the name, told the residents that the plantings would further destroy the tabby ruins so, the residents removed them. When I asked them if they would like to see i t preserved, they both said yes but feel that they are too old to do anything to help. They did not know of any past efforts to save the ruins but, that the see the Br overall feel of the community and what their opinion was about what the community Castle was exa ctly they would like to see done about the ruins but, they both mentioned rebuilding it several times. When I mentioned restoration may bring more visitors into the park and asked them how they would feel about it, I received two different answers. Betty claims that she believes that the community would love more visitors but said that she is not one hundred percent sure. Henry began telling me a story about how many of the residents want to have a pool put on the plaza next to the Castle which, he stron gly opposes stating,
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 85 Before I could finish my questions, the door bell rang. It was Sandy, Betty and seemed enthu siastic about my research and volunteered to join in on my interview with Henry and Betty. Sandy and I hit it off from the beginning because she, like myself, is from Muncie, Indiana. Her mother and my grandmother both worked together at Ball Department Store many years ago. I began by asking Sandy how she came to live in the park. Sandy said that in October of 1988 a man she knew from her hometown, and for whom she bought her first trailer in Bradenton, explored Braden Castle Park as well as other plac es they might like to visit in the area. She drove out to Braden Castle Park by ers boxes filled with red geraniums on a house within the park and claimed that is what first got her attention. That same year in December, she and Everett came back to Florida to visit her aunt and uncle in Cape Coral. They stopped at a flea market for strawberries and decided here. Doris had told Sandy and Everett about three homes for sale in the park so; they decided to have a look. The house they liked most wa they purchased it soon after in 1989. As she laughed, Sandy told me that the man that owned the house before them had lived in it for twenty eight years until his wife died and that he had purchased another place in tow n; only coming out to the park on Tuesdays to play shuffle board while his new wife did the laundry here. After Sandy and Everett had lived in the house on Seminole Drive for one year, they purchased the house next to Henry and Betty in 1997. Sandy says that she does not think that the castle itself ever
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 86 really figured into the equation of living in the park for she and her husband but, everyone in the park seemed to know someone who had already lived there and that the Neither Sandy nor her husband have or have had any relatives who lived in Braden Castle Park. They have however, had friends that moved into the park. Two women that she went to school with moved into the trailer park and one of them rented her li ttle house on Seminole Drive for eight years. She claims that things have changed and that it is easier now to find a place within the park; you used to have to know someone. It was harder before because the homes for sale never made it to market and wer e bought up quickly because there were always people that the current residents knew that wanted to live there. I asked her what she knew about the history of the Braden Castle and she said that fishing village. Fisherman loved the location because the Braden River and the Manatee River converged near here marker just outside her home. When I questioned her a bout any personal stories she may have she stated that as far as the ruins, she never really seen it much different than how it ld like to see it preserved and said yes but with little enthusiasm and no explanation. She claimed that a few years ago she could see more support for the castle but that things have changed; Betty and Henry strongly agreed. Sandy and Everett are plann ing to move out of the park soon to a house they have built on the beach which could explain her lack of interest. When we spoke about
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 87 the overall feelings of the community in regard to preservation she said that the new residents do not care about the ca agreed. As far as an increase in visitors, Sandy claims that she and her husband would not mind but, she too, like Henry, brought up the pool situation, not mentioning more unwanted guests, but that no pool keeps maintenance fees down. To my surprise, as our interview was ending, Sandy told me that her current home used to be called Plaza Lodge and was a rooming house that had four bedrooms upstairs with the numbers still on the doors; one of which was used as a bedroom for the rger than most. It is also two stories which are not typical. Once inside, she showed me a framed certificate made out to a Mrs. R.I. Gowing of 46 Castle Drive, issued on November 10 th 1947 for a rooming house containing three boarding rooms. Sandy claim s that a woman in her eighties called her a few years ago asking about renting one of the rooms. The elderly woman was from Illinois and claimed that she had rented one of the rooms several times in the past and was disappointed that it was no longer avai lable. pump was now working, Nancine was hurrying to get water. We only spoke in passing b ut, both Nancine and her husband Steve said that they would like to see the castle preserved. Steve said that years ago students from Florida State University came out and
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 88 t them Conclusions The Braden Castle is an important piece of history that has many stories to tell and it is clear from the interviews and collections of public memories that the Braden Castle shows us that although the landscape and significance may change over time, what is left are meaningful ruins that many individuals wish to have protected and remembered. The issue is how. All of the individuals I spoke with would like to see it preserved yet, no one seems to feel like they can do anything about it; stating that they are now too old. Without funding, the residents are sadly feeling like the ruins are doomed. The Braden Castle and all that it was in the past is now dissolving back into the earth. The individuals I interviewed at Braden Castle Park associate the new establishing a secure place to call home based on their recollections of the Braden C The description of the Braden Castle ruins, their placement and the environment surrounding them brings interesting insight to light. Although the ruins are nestled within the park and are surrounded by a fence for their supposed protection, they are also somewhat hidden from visitors and residents alike. The ruins are labeled with a historic marker and a photo of what it used to look like is available but, what is left of the structure does not mesh with the current landscape of Braden Castle Park. People in the neighborhood noticed me just outside of the castle ruins on many occasions but only one individual, Glenna Shanahan the local historian, offered any additional information on
Meaningful Ruins Ethnography 89 them. Despite the fact that the park was name d after the Braden Castle ruins there appears to be and my argument is that there is a strong detachment from them and many of the current residents of Braden Castle Park. This detachment appears to be a gap in historical knowledge between the time of Jos eph Braden and t he Camping Tourists of America because that information is not relevant to the contemporary community as much as the early history which includes Joseph Braden. The collection of public memories placed on the landscape speaks volumes in re gard to the ways in which public memory is collective and in turn facilitates heritage and the appointment of significance. The Braden Castle today and its placement on the contemporary landscape remain important to current residents of Braden Castle Par k.
Meaningful Ruins Conclusion 90 It is above all by the imagination that we achieve perception and compassion and hope. Ursula K. LeGuin Chapter Seven: Conclusion The Braden Castle and the landscape on which it rests is a very interesting place and its histo ry is a rich one with varying meanings. This study, using archaeology and ethnography for the anthropology of the ruins, is important because it reminds us that underlying tensions, between people deemed higher society and those who are considered less im portant or influential create the base for what is included or excluded from written history. The Braden Castle is a significant part of the history of east Bradenton but, is much more than just old ruins to look at. T he ruins are a window into the prac tice, agency and lives of people in the past of whom built their material culture upon the landscape contributing to what it is today. A building can only gain significance through the individual lives and memories that support its recognition. Unfortun ately, there are many individuals that lived and within the scope of memories collaborated by the public. The experiences of individuals throughout time and their collaborati ve recollections have influenced the contemporary landscape. The Braden Castle is recognized as significant by the current community of Braden Castle Park through their memories and narratives. The community has selectively, not necessarily consciously focused their attention on two very specific
Meaningful Ruins Conclusion 91 historical events through public memory because they are what the residents relate to. This assessment is based on the struggles they are now facing as a changing community in the present. Legitimizing herit age of Braden Castle Park through nostalgia felt by the community has protected their collective memories for generations and now times are changing. These changes have left them feeling uncertain about their future. Many have said that the new people mo ving in do not care about the Braden Castle or the history of the park and as the older generation struggles to continue the sense of place they have created and lived in for so long, through agency and collaborative public memory, they are also witnessing the reinvention of history and heritage based on what is important or not important to new residents coming in. The residents of Braden Castle Park hold events in honor each year during Florida Heritage Month in March. The events ar e focused around the two said separate aspects of the a ttack of the castle during the Third Seminole War The second is about the beginnings of Braden Castle Park and the significance that the ruins current residents. The material culture, i.e. Braden Castle, left behind by the individuals contemporary community. me period the area was active with colonizers and their capitalist principles for the advancement of wealth and with these changes, socia l inequalities and stress entrenched in colonialism, produced tremendous tensions throughout Florida. In its more rece nt history the Braden Castle and its surrounding landscape became a place to socialize with other tourists. Renderings of the Braden
Meaningful Ruins Conclusion 92 Castle were painted or photographed and placed on postcards in order to show family and friends at home the grandeur and b eauty of the Braden Castle and the landscape it encompassed. Motivated by the desire to purchase their own campground many of the Tin Can Tourists split off from the rest and formed a new group called the Camping Tourists of America and inevitably made the pursuance of property and the dictation of rules and bylaws associated with communal living. By taking into account the spatial c hanges, conflicts, movement and cultural constructions of the landscape over the generations we are able to gain a clear er understanding of human social and cultural variation across time and space. It is a combination of these attributes that provide ins ight into the historical connections lack thereof, as well as the changing significance of the Braden Castle. Most importantly, it is imperative to historical archaeology and for providing an accurate account of history that illuminates everyone involved It reminds us that without the people, all of the said of collaborated, public memories passed down from a group with a loud voice. The one dimensional focal point of this landscape may be the Braden Castle alone however; the landscape itself is a framing of many scenarios that have the ability to add great dimensions to the overall history of east Bradenton. The convergence of people and nature are culturall y constructed and form a meeting place for the tangible and intangible (Preucel and Mrozowski 2010: 54 55). Landscapes are important for studies of historic architecture because by examining them it can determine where the tensions are within it. Through the layouts, one can visualize how people are organized within the landscape.
Meaningful Ruins Conclusion 93 Landscapes affect society, contribute heritage and have implications within a community for future generations. Studying the landscapes of historical sites and their multivocal ity allows us to get a well rounded explanation of history when data, theory and the scope of public memory contemporary society. It provides us with insight on how to gain a clear understanding of our surroundings and how they came to be. It also permits us to obtain knowledge in regard to how society is created and changed through the memories and stories from those who were deemed worthy of remembrance and those who were n ot. All of these attributes make it possible for archaeologists to dive further into the tensions and connections of a place over generations with implications of providing a holistic contribution of history where everyone is included. Public memory insc riptions on landscapes and the ways in which they influence the memories and thus agency of those in contemporary society is beneficial in understanding history and the conflicts people were involved in. Combining archaeology (material remains) and ethnogr perspectives) is a useful means of finding links and gaps in the history and enables us to make connections. These connections are important to public outreach, heritage preservation and interest in the future, not only for this particular site but for others as well. I say this because what is missing or a part of public memory are both contributions to the ways in which we view the past and the present. There is always more to the story The Braden Castle is not only significant to the history of east Bradenton and to the individuals at Braden Castle Park who live in its presence and wish to see it preserved
Meaningful Ruins Conclusion 94 but also to the study of historical archaeology as well as landscapes and the future implications of collective, public memory. A lthough the Braden Castle ruin is significant it is not as relevant as the lives of the people associated with it. It is about the values it reflects and the ideas it inspires ( Little 2007: 24). Braden Castle Park Historic District is listed on the hist oric registry which includes the castle ruin but, the Braden Castle itself is not currently listed. Despite its historical importance, the ruin is only recognized with a historic marker and protected by a chain link fence. The Braden Castle should be fur ther commemorated with some form of remembrance because of all of the stories it offers about the lives of the people involved; the Seminoles, the enslaved, settlers, socialites, picnickers, Tin Canners, Camping Tourists of America and the community of Bra den Castle Park Historic District. Today, t he identity of a community is illuminated by narratives, recalled by memory, that spring from the Braden Castle and what the ruins now signify to them; which is that although the landscape and significance may ch ange over time, what is left are meaningful ruins.
Meaningful Ruins Appendices 95 Appendix A: A Plat map of the property purchased by the Camping Tourists of America. Drawn by Dr. H. E. Robbins March 16 th 1936.
Meaningful Ruins Appendices 96 Appendix B : A Copy of the Booklet: Historical Information and a Map for Visitors Provided by the Residents of Braden Castle Park Historic District BRADEN CASTLE PARK A Memorial To Early Florida Tourism Braden Castle Park is the first National Historic District, of middle class origins, recognized for its contribution to early Florida tourism. The development of cheap transportation, as exemplified by the Model T Ford and the Maxwell, made it possible for the average person to seek warmer climes during the winter months. In the early 1920's an organ ization was formed of such people and officially called membership of 100,000 people. It is said their name was derived from the fact that they generally traveled in "Tin Lizzie s" with an empty tomato can on the radiator for recognition. These people camped in public parks throughout Florida and lived in tents, lean tos and house cars built on model T. chassis. In 1924 the people of Tampa became disenchanted with those living in DeSoto Park and ultimately got them evicted. Since the By Laws required that the "Tin Can Tourists" could not own Florida property, a group of them formed a separate organization and set about to find a campsite that they could own. On March 7, 1924, 77 years ago, they si gned a contract for the purchase of the 34.75 acres surrounding the ruins of the Braden Plantation House. On April 4, 1924 they became incorporated under the laws of Florida as the Camping Tourists of America. The charter approved by Judge W. T. Harrison o n May 2, 1924 is still the g overning philosophy of the Brade n Castle Association, as it is now known. The Plaza and Braden Castle Ruins The ruins of the house you see before you are the ruins of the Braden Plantation House, long known as Braden Castle. Acc ording to Lillie B. McDuffee's Lures of Manatee Dr. Joseph Braden built the plantation in 1850. The death of his brother Hector, the Panic of 1857 and heavy debts caused Dr. Braden to abandon the plantation and leave it to Daniel Ladd, his major creditor. The Gambles, plantation owners across the river, fell on the same set of financial ills, but fortunately for the Gambles, a wealthy son in law secured their debt so they were able to sell out to Now Orleans land speculators and salvage a portion of its va lue. The Gamble mansion is on the north side of 301 directly across the Manatee River. The northwest sector of Braden Castle Park was once part of the Gamble estate. After the Civil War, Mary El Pelot, wife of J. Crews Pelot, purchased the Braden Plantatio n and gave 300 acres of the land surrounding the Plantation House to her parents, Col. James and Pharoba Cooper. For the next ten years, the "Castle" was the center of social life on the Manatee. After Col. Cooper died, his widow deeded the land and the Pl antation House (Castle) back to J. Crews Pelot. At about the same lime, Pelot purchased the Gamble's northwest sector. He later sold 34.75 acres, now Braden Castle Park, to Schmidlapp and McPherson. After the sale to Schmidlapp and McPherson, the Castle wa s
Meaningful Ruins Appendices 97 abandon and the land became overgrown with Palmetto scrub and other subtropical vegetation, some of which was probably imported by either Col. Cooper or the Braden's. Around 1900, the wooden aspects of the Castle were destroyed by fire, reportedly set by vandals. Up until 1924, Manatee area residents used the land adjacent to the Castle as picnic grounds. In March of 1924, former members of the Tin Can Tourists of the World purchased the 34.75 acres. The Tin Can Tourists had been denied camping privileges at DeSoto Park in Tampa. Since Tin Can Tourists were, according to their by laws, unable to own Florida property, the group formed a new corporation, The Camping Tourists of America, and purchased the land. In January 1928 the Camping Tourist's board vote d to allow certificate holders around the Plaza to improve it by putting in a fountain and other landscaping. In December 1928 the homeowners secured permission to build the long pier at the foot of the plaza. As you walk through the streets of Braden Cast le, you will note that although there is some similarity in the cottages, there is a great deal of individuality. Few professional builders were involved in the construction of these cottages. By 1930, 177 of the present 197 collages had been built. Most h ave undergone several renovations; they still remain essentially as they were in the 30's. Dr. H, E. Robbins, dubbed the domed house across from the ruins Braden Castle II. Robbins had exchanged the house across the street, #2 Plaza, for the "Castle". The "Castle" served as a restaurant and boarding house in the late 40's and early 50's. To the left of BC II, you will see one of the original fire alarms. II is the rim of a locomotive drive wheel. Each was equipped with a metal mallet, which when rang would wake the whole town of Manatee. The artesian well, also to the left of BC II, is still in operation. Many Braden Castle Park residents swear to the water's medicinal qualities. The Lagoon In t he early days this area was one la rge swamp with a tidal pool in t he center. It was known as the Alligator Pool, for is resident alligator. In the 1930's a committee was authorized by the Board to raise funds to dredge, pool and fill the swamp. Large dale sidents."! The Royal Palms are what remains of literally hundreds raised from seeds 70 years ago by John Gallop. Early in 1920, Mr. Gallup was gra nted authorization to beautify t he grounds. Since the lagoon area was mostly swamp, ho hauled in tons of sawdu st and scrap wood from a sawmill that stood near the Braden River Bridge over SR 64.He then established a nursery of Royal Palms, planting the seeds in coffee cans and other discarded containers. As the seedlings grew to manageable size he gave them away o r set them out around his house. Association Common Grounds The framed portion of the Office Building was built in the fall of 1925. It was constructed under the supervision of a paid carpenter with volunteer help. There were originally three rooms, Iwo of which were living quarters for 'ho park's custodian. Behind the Office is the Recreation or BIg Hall. It was originally known as the Pavilion. It was authorized lo be built in December of 1924 and was completed for the first annual stockholders meeting on January 26, 1925. It was built with a $2500 materials appropriation and gratis labor. Windows for t he pavilion were authorized and added in 1929. Leisure Hall was added lo the Recreation Hall in the 80's to provided meeting room for small groups.
Meaningful Ruins Appendices 98 The Fire Engine on the building's porch was purchased in the early 30's. A 1936 map of the park shows a Fire Station. To the right of the hall is the "Barbershop Building" which is now a rental apartment and the only remaining building of what was the park's busin ess section. Originally there were a Barbershop, a General Store, a Po st Office, a Western Union Office, a Filling Station, and 13 Rental Tourists' Cabins. To the left of the Big Hall is the Men's Club House. It was authorized in February of 1926 and was i mmediately built. The Shuffleboard Courts were built early in 1930. Next to the shuffleboard courts is the Ladies Club House. After much discussion, this building was a uthorized in December of 1927. It was built with lumber salvaged from a filling station, once located at the south entrance t o the park. Additional lumber was salvaged from a couple of squatter's cabins that were demolished on park grounds. The Ladies' Recreation Club donated $140.95, their entire treasury, and the Board authorized $200. Rive rview Drive The area around and along Riverview Drive was originally the campground. Seventy years ago, this area would have been crowded with Model T Tent Campers, homemade Auto Campers and House Cars Historically Significant Homes 1 Braden Castle Drive: The Little House Owned by third gene ration essentially unchanged from original construction 32 Braden Castle Drive: Poor Man's House built in 1920 by I ndiana Migr ants with orange crates 41 Braden Castle Drive : Wesllake House Built In 1925 a rive rboat captain's pilot house restored by Ray and Do rothy West 44 Oration Castl e Drive: R. W. Vaughn House Bu ilt In 1925 by Secretary of Camping Tourists of America Mr. Vaughn served as Royal Chief of the Tin Can Tour ists In 1932 presiding over the W inter Convention In Sarasota r estored by H enry and Bet ty Holbrook 46 Bra den Castle Drive: Judge W. J. Houck House built In 1925 domed house exchanged for Dr. R obbins House (2 Plaza) shortly after. B eing built it was dubbed "Braden Castle It serv ed as a rooming house and res taurant during the late 40'o and early 50's owned by Everett and Sandy Lane. 2 Plaza: Dr. H. E Robb ins House buil t in 1925 historian and c hronic board member restored by Perez and Miller 6 2 Bra den Castle Drive: Bett y H l and House once owned by a n eccentric recluse restored by Ray and Dorothy West between 1900 and 1992. 1 Parkview: Gr aha m House restored hi 1904 00 by Ron and Agnes While
Meaningful Ruins Appendices 99 13 High Street: Caldwe ll House restored In 1972 by sec ond g eneration owners Don and Mary Ca ldwell 10 High St re et : S imonsen House restored by second and third generations owned by Gerald and Carolyn Edson 10 & 11 Seminole: Conventional houses prob able moved i n from outs ide pa rk Additions or corrections: Write up and give to Forr est Bone, 4 High Street
Meaningfu l Ruins Appendices 100
Meaningfu l Ruins Appendices 101 Appendix C : Historical Information on the Braden Castle Ruins Historic Marker Braden Castle Ruins Historic Marker. Photo by Rachel Roach 2012. The Historic Marker reads as follows: Braden Castle Ruins Dr. Joseph Addison Brade n, physician and native Virginian, came from Tallahassee to of land and built a steam operated sugar and grist mill. In that year using slave labor and local materials a large two story structure. The walls were destroyed by a woods fire in 1903. The ruins were purchased by the Camping Tourists of America in 1924.
Meaningful Ruins References 102 References Baram, Uzi 2008 A Haven from Slavery on Florida's Gulf Coast: Looking for Evidence of Angola on the Manatee River. African Diaspora Archaeology Netwo rk Newsletter http://www.diaspora.uiuc.edu/news0608/news0608.html. Bradenton Herald 1903 Burning of Castle Told in Old Paper. June 28 City Data Forum 2011 Braden Castle Ruins http://www.city data.com/forum/sarasota bradenton venice area/1237515 s ome old pictures sarasota area.html, a ccessed September 5, 2011. Cook, Hildred Times. January 28. Deetz, James 1977 In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life Fir st Anchor Book. New Y ork. Fleming, Sarah H. 1932 Early History of Braden Castle And Its Occupants Is Recalled. The Bradenton Herald. March 13 Gamble, Robert Jr. 1888 Florida as a Sugar State Tallahassee FLORIDIAN. September 28 Gorham, Marie. tle Leads Way for Others. The Bradenton Press. January 14:7. Hayes, Jack L. 2009 Braden Castle Restoration Architectural Plans. January 19. Historic Sites Inventory Beauru. 1970 Braden Castle Ruins Mark Historic Era Master Site File. Bradenton: The Herald Tribune. Johnson, Matthew 2007 Ideas of Landscape Blackwell Publishing. Mald en, MA.
Meaningful Ruins References 10 3 Knetsch, Dr. Joe 2007 Settlement on the Manatee: Forces and Laws That Enticed the Pioneers Manatee County Historical Society. http://www.manateecountyhisto ricalsociety.com/2007 knetsch settlement on the manatee/, accessed March 25, 2013. Knetsch, Joe and Paul S. George. 1993. A Problematical Law: The Armed Occupation Act of 1842 and its Impact on Southeast Florida. digitalcollections.fiu.edu/Tequesta/file s/1993/93_1_04.pdf, accessed March 3, 2013 Lawrence, Marion B. 1978 On The Banks Of Manatee Bennin gton, Vermont: Pennysaver Press. Little, Barbara J. 2007 Historical Archaeology: Why the Past Matters. Left Coast Press Inc. Walnut Creek, Cal ifornia. Manatee County Historical Society 1983 The Pelot Family of Manatee. Historically Speaking. June: 10. Manatee County Public Library Digital Collections. 1936 Braden Castle Camp Plat. cdm16681.contentdm.oclo.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p.16681coll1/ id/88/rec/1, accessed March 25, 2013. Marx, Karl 2005 The Eighteenth Bumarie of Louis Bonaparte. Mondial. Mathews, Janet Snyder 1983 Edge of Wilderness: A Settlement History of The Manatee River and Sarasota Bay 1528 1885 Coastal Press, Sarasot a F lorida. Monroe, James S., Reed Wicander and Richard Hazlett 2007 Physical Geology: Exploring the Earth. Sixth Edition. Thompson Brooks/Cole, Belmont CA. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency 2011 Braden Castle Location. http://www.geographic.org, accessed February 7, 2012. Page, Virginia 1986 Braden Castle's Ruins are a Reminder of Bradenton's Roots. The Bradenton Herald. September: 18.
Meaningful Ruins References 104 Peutz, Nathalie. 2006 Of Goats and Foreigners: Research Lessons on Soqotra Island, Yemen. Dispatches From the Field: Neophyte Ethnographers in a Changing World Andrew Gardner and David M. Hoffman eds. Pp. 102. Waveland Press Inc. Long Grove, Illinois. Preucel, Robert W., and Stephen A. Mrozowski 2010 Contemporary Archaeology in Theory: The New Pragmatism, 2 nd Edition. Pp 54 55. Blackwell Publishers Ltd. Schofield, Arthur C. 1975 Yesterday's Bradenton Miami, Florida: E. A. Seeman Publishing, Inc. Shackel, Paul A, 2010 Public Memory and the Search for Power in American Historical Archaeology. Conte mporary Archaeology in Theory : The New Pragmatism, 2 rd edition. Robert W. Preucel and Stephen A. Mrozowski eds.Pp. 285 394. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Silpa, Felicia Thesis, Department of Social Sciences, University of South Florida. Society, Manatee County Historical Photograph of the Braden Castle The Bradenton Press. n.d. Stewart, Louise. 1964 Last of Tin Can Tourists Recall Arrival At Castle. The Bradenton Her ald. March 15: 7 B. Van Dyke, Ruth M. 2008 Memory, Place and the Memorialization of Landscape. Handbook of Landscape Archaeology Bruno David and Julian Thomas, eds. Pp. 277 278. Left Coast Press Inc. Lamberson, Garnet B. 1994 Story of Braden Cas tle and Braden Castle Park. First Edition. Braden Castle Park. Bradenton, Florida. Weekender 1985 Tin Can Tourists Wheeled Into Braden Castle March 25: 5. Wyman, Mark 1998 The Wisconsin Frontier. Bloomington, Indiana University Press.