Historic Markers Across Florida

The Wiggins Store

Marker ID:  
Location: Manatee Village Historical Park, 1404 Manatee Ave E, Bradenton, FL
County: Manatee
Coordinates: N 27° 29.711    W 082° 32.881
  27.49518333    -82.54801666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMVCCB


The Wiggins Store

Restored on the original building site, the Wiggins Store was built by King Wiggins in 1903. The fact that it was one of the areas first brick buildings is significant because, prior to the arrival of the railroad, brick could only be brought in by boat.

This was a time of rapid growth for the Village of Manatee. The arrival of the railroad, electricity, telegraph, telephones, street cars and automobiles combined to move the center of business from the river front to Manatee Avenue.

Wiggins was a forward-looking entrepreneur who recognized the need for a larger store near the railroad. He designed the new multi-purpose building for a store on the ground floor with a rooming house on the second floor to accommodate those who would make the several-day trip from remote sections of the county. Porches on three sides made the building energy efficient as did a building technique of providing air pockets between two layers of brick. This building was one of the first buildings south of Tampa to utilize an elevator. A gathering spot for the Manatee community, its customers combined business with pleasure and took the time to listen to Wiggins phonograph or play a game of checkers.

Over the years, the building was used for beauty and barber shops, general store, hotel, apartments, and finally as migrant housing before it was condemned and boarded up in 1983. The Manatee County Historical Commission acquired the building in 1985 and after a lengthy fund raising campaign and careful restoration, reopened the Wiggins Store to the public in 1990.

Manatee Village Historical Park