State sets hearing on Cortez Bridge


CORTEZ – While the seabirds glide over the roadway of the 56-year-old Cortez Bridge, engineers at the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) are studying whether to rebuild the venerable structure or replace it.

FDOT released an informational update recently on the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study the state is conducting. As that study continues, FDOT engineers are identifying the number and types of repairs and the cost of rehabilitating the bridge. They will soon begin evaluating the condition of the bridge deck, pilings, railings, piers and mechanical elements and how much corrosion has occurred. They are also trying to determine the repairs needed to avoid having to post a vehicle weight limit on the bridge.

Engineers are developing bridge replacement alternatives, including the cost and impact on the surrounding communities. They are looking at bridge heights and the alignment of the bridge as it lands on both sides. They are also collecting information about the environment surrounding the bridge. Divers have been in the water surveying sea grasses within project limits.

FDOT has released results of surveys turned in by the public prior to the initial public meeting this past spring. Nearly 850 replies were received. Fifty-one percent of the respondents favor rehabilitation of the bridge and 43 percent favor replacement. Of those wanting replacement, 38 percent favor a high, fixed-span bridge; 19 percent want a mid-level drawbridge; 33 percent prefer a low-level drawbridge; and four percent favor another option.

FDOT officials will hold a public workshop early next year to present bridge replacement alternatives, the rehabilitation alternative and the no-build option. Officials will conduct a formal public hearing next summer to present a recommended alternative and the no-build alternative.

FDOT will determine the recommended alternative with input from local elected officials, residents, users and other agencies. The Federal Highway Administration will need to approve the decision.

For more information, call Tony Sherrard, of FDOT, at 863-519-2304

Published in: on September 25, 2013 at 8:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Homespun “Monroe Cottage” to become Cortez cultural center

By SARA KENNEDY — skennedy

The historic Monroe Cottage, built in 1946, is to be transformed into a cultural center.

GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald

CORTEZ — A tiny Florida Cracker-style beach cottage dating from 1946 is finally ready to be transformed into a local cultural center in Cortez. The Manatee County Commission on Sept. 10 approved $5,000 to pay permit fees and other governmental charges related to relocation of the cottage, which has helped the project move forward after a temporary halt.

"We’re grateful for it," said Mary Fulford Green, treasurer of the Cortez Village Historical Society, referring to the county’s contribution. "It was our turn."

Four years ago, the homespun Monroe Cottage, which for decades graced Bradenton Beach, was moved to Cortez.

Its restoration, however, waited while the historical society raised money and planned a re-do, said Green.

The county’s contribution will be used to pay permit fees and governmental costs the society must cover in order to place the cottage on a new site, and install electrical service, said Green. About $15,000 collected during fundraisers will help pay for its restoration, she said.

She hoped a grand opening of the cultural center could take place in February, when Cortez holds its annual fishing festival.

Ohio native Basil Monroe, a plasterer, built the cottage from remnants of a military barracks at 304 Church St., according to information provided by his granddaughter, Alice Baker, in an essay dated 2006.Monroe became a local celebrity after catching a 400-pound fish from a pier with a rope and hook, Baker wrote.

"He lived the good life in the cottage in Bradenton Beach," she added.

Monroe died in 1954, leaving the cottage to his three sons and his widow, and it remained in the family through the 1990s, Baker wrote.

Finally, it was acquired by Bradenton Beach officials in order to preserve it, and because it was near public buildings that needed more space, said Manatee County Commissioner John Chappie, a former mayor of Bradenton Beach.

Bradenton Beach officials later gave the cottage to the historical society, and in 2009 it was moved from Bradenton Beach to Cortez.

Since then, officials from the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage have provided land under a leasing arrangement for a permanent site off Cortez Road at 117th Street West, Green said.

Exhibits planned for the cultural center will focus on family life and the contributions of local veterans, she said. The cottage’s age and architecture give it historical value, said Cathy Slusser, director of historical resources for R.B. "Chips" Shore, Manatee County clerk of circuit court and comptroller, Manatee County Historical Records Library.

"It was the typical Florida Cracker-style construction," she said. "It’s typical of a kind of fish camp

."Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031

Published in: on September 15, 2013 at 8:37 am  Leave a Comment  

This Ought to Win a Medal

From the Tampa Morning Tribune – October 21, 1932

Oct 21 1932

Published in: on September 10, 2013 at 8:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Museum Closed, but not Forever

Florida Maritime Museum: History * Education * Community
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The Museum is now Closed!
The Florida Maritime Museum will be closed for the month of September. Our grand reopening will be held on Saturday, October 5th. Come check out the changes and join in the festivities!
After October 5th, the museum will be open its usual hours. Come visit us Tuesday – Saturday between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm.
Calling All Hands: If you would like to be a part of this exciting process, we will need help sanding, scraping, painting and moving some of the exhibit pieces and museum interior. Please contact us at 941-708-6120 to learn more and to find out how you can help as we set our course to the future!
Registration still Open for Paddleboard Building Class:
The Lanui is a 12 foot 9 inch stand up paddleboard, with a canvas skin over a wood frame. The class takes place at the Florida Maritime Museum over two consecutive weekends. (9am-4pm) Nov 2,3,9,10. The $500 class fee includes a paddle up to 8ft in length and white paint for the base coat and waterproofing. $250 deposit due at registration. Fees are per board, and teams of 2-5 people per board are ideal. Registration deadline has been moved to Oct 5th, but hurry because space is limited!
Save the Date!
The Florida Maritime Museum will be having a Boatyard Bash on Saturday, November 9. Come out to the historic Cortez Schoolhouse for a day of live music, boats, a movie, and fun for all! There will also be an Ice Cream Eating Contest sponsored by Tyler’s Ice Cream. (Contact Tyler’s to sign up 941.794.5333)
Space is filling up, but musicians, vendors, and volunteers are still wanted!
The Art of Valor:
We’ll be accepting submissions for our upcoming juried art show until Sunday, December 1. All veterans with a passion for art are encouraged to participate! If you or someone you know is interested in sharing their work, contact the Florida Maritime Museum at 941-708-6120 or ask for a submission form during your next visit.

This exhibit will be presented in partnership with the Legacy of Valor campaign. For more information, please visit or check them out on facebook.

Community Bulletin:
We want to hear what you’re up to! Send short listings that you’d like to see in this newsletter and we’ll do our best to spread the word. (No guarantees, though, as space is limited.) Please include pertinent dates and contact information. Email Amara
Published in: on September 5, 2013 at 7:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Albert “Junie” Mora Jr.

Albert “Junie/Badge” Mora Jr. – 83, Bradenton, died August 29, 2013. Born in Cortez, FL he was a lifelong resident of Manatee County and was a Veteran of the US Army during the Korean War.

Survived by wife of 58 years, Judy of Bradenton, FL; sons, Scott, Mark and Tracy (Becky) all of Bradenton, FL; brother, Virgil of NC; sisters, Leatrice Eaton of NC and Nola Jewel of Ocala, FL; 4 grandchildren; 4 great grandchildren.

Visitation 5:00-8:00PM Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at Brown & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory 43rd Street Chapel, 604 43rd Street West, Bradenton, FL 34209.

Memorial donations made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718. Condolences to

Published in: on September 3, 2013 at 11:09 am  Leave a Comment  

The Cortezian

Attached is the September issue of The Cortezian.

Coming up in Cortez:

Stone Crab Festival October 26-27, 2013

The second festival is scheduled for the property at end of 119th street. There will be special events and great food featuring Stone Crabs. Be sure to look for the CVHS Tent and for J.B.’s new book ”Nathan the Young Stone Crabber.”

Boatyard Bash November 9, 2913

On the grounds of the Maritime Museum offers many new activities and fun for all.

CVHS Membership Drive is on! – Please mail in your dues. If you are not a member now is the time to join CVHS.


The Cortezian 092013.pdf

Cortez Village Historical Society
PO BOX 663
Cortez, FL 34215

Published in: on August 27, 2013 at 8:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Most Unforgettable Villages in North America

Cortez, Florida Population: 4,491

This Manatee County fishing village comes with a side of historical local lore. Claiming to be the oldest remaining fishing village in Florida, Cortez dates back to the late 1800s, and many of its current inhabitants are descendants of original residents. Today, commercial fishermen in the village still make their livings catching fish, crab, and shellfish in Sarasota Bay’s blue-green waters. Learn more about the area’s proud history by visiting Cortez’s Florida Maritime Museum, which displays historic vessels, houses a research library, and even runs boat-building programs.

Local Eats: Star Fish Company takes a laid-back attitude toward eating, so don’t worry about peeling off those sandy clothes or changing out of your flip-flops before entering. Picnic tables right on the water provide casual seating to enjoy the day’s catch.

The website, in a travel feature, listed Cortez Village as one of its “Most Unforgettable Villages in North America.”

In its comments about Cortez, the website says the fishing village in Manatee County “comes with a side of historical local lore. Claiming to be the oldest remaining fishing village in Florida, Cortez dates back to the late 1800s, and many of its current inhabitants are descendants of early settlers from North Carolina.

“Today, commercial fishermen in the village still make their livings catching fish and crabs in Sarasota Bay’s blue-green waters.”

The website says visitors can learn more about the area’s history by visiting the Florida Maritime Museum, which “displays historic vessels, houses a research library, and even runs boat-building programs.”

The website also lists several restaurants in Cortez that offer fresh-caught local seafood.

Karen Bell, owner of A.P. Bell Fish Co. and the Star Fish Co. Market & Restaurant in Cortez, said she was surprised to learn of the ranking.

Bell, whose family roots go back to the early settlers, said she was pleased the village has been recognized.

“I was surprised and shocked. It’s quite an honor to be recognized as one of the great villages in North America,” Bell said.

“We’re glad to share our history with others who come to visit,” she said.

Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau marketing director Deb Meihls said she found the ranking to be “wonderful and exciting.”

This confirms what we already knew, “what a special place Cortez is,” Meihls said.

Published in: on August 22, 2013 at 6:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Regina Makes First Run

The Regina, which in 1940 wrecked on the beach of Anna Maria Island, made it’s first run with Cuban Molasses 108 years ago this week. In fact it was the first Cuban ship to deliver a load of Molasses to the US.

When the Regina ran aground in 1940 many Cortez residents played a part in saving the crew who were trapped aboard the sinking ship.  The Regina shipwreck is now a Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve.


This article is from the Philadelphia Record, dated July 9, 1905.

The Philadelphia Record - Jul 9 1905

The Philadelphia Record – Jul 9 1905

Published in: on July 13, 2013 at 10:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Clarence Jackson Fulford

Clarence Jackson “Sandy” Fulford, Age 84, LTC US Army (Ret.), of Tampa passed away on Friday, May 24th 2013. He lived a full life that revolved around his faith, family, and service to his country. Sandy was the grandson of David Sanders and Lula Fulford who were among the first settlers in Cortez, Florida. They operated the Fulford Hotel on the location of the present Cortez Trailer Park.

As a kid called Buddy, he had a dog named Bingo and an alligator named Oscar. Buddy rode a bull in a rodeo and attended Hillsborough High. Joining the Merchant Marines at 15, he was just in time to shiver off the shores of Leyte, Philippines in 1944.

Following a stint in the Marine Corps, Buddy joined the Army and found a 28 year career where he picked up the moniker, Sandy. He was Sandy when he met and married the woman he loved. Sandy was Airborne, Special Forces, and fought in WW II, Korea and Viet Nam.

To his four children he was Dad, and to his children’s friends he was “The Colonel.” The Colonel offered friendly advice to friends and resolute direction to his kids. He wasn’t always right but he was always sure. He liked to say, “I fought in three wars so you can do what you think is right,” but it was certainly easier if you agreed with him.

To his grandchildren and great-grandchild his name was Big-Dad. Big-Dad was the go-to guy when you needed an opinion or got in trouble with your parents. Biggie was a ready source for long stories of marginal veracity, a swift kick, or a big hug.

Most of all he was a man loved by his family. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jo Fulford; his daughter Lynn Honeycutt and her husband Randy; his daughter Vickie Arnold and her husband Robin; his son Jack Fulford and his wife Sherry; his daughter Kris Freeze and her husband Greg; his sister Gale Whitaker and her husband Glen; seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.

A service with military honors is scheduled for July 19, 2013 at 10:30am at the Florida National Cemetery located in Bushnell, FL.

Published in: on June 15, 2013 at 7:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

D. Turner Matthews

D. Turner Matthews, 70, passed away, June 9, 2013. He was a longtime Bradenton Attorney.

He was a loving and respected member of the community who made an impact on many lives. He was an attorney, friend, husband, father, grandfather, historian and mentor. His love for boating, travel and unique friendships will live on through the lives he touched.

Turner is survived by loving wife, Nancy; children, David and Eden Matthews. Services will be private. Covell Funeral Home in charge of the arrangements.

Published in: on June 14, 2013 at 8:17 am  Leave a Comment  

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