For both locals and visitors alike, Anna Maria Island is an unforgettable and special place. This little beach town with its gorgeous waters and old school businesses has changed a lot over the years.
There are two different stories for the name of Anna Maria. Some think it was named by the Spanish for the Virgin Mary and her Mother Anne. The other story is that the mayor of Tampa named the island for his sister in law Anna and his wife Maria. Before that, the area was primarily inhabited by the Timucuan and Caloosan Native American tribes. The island had been discovered by the Europeans when Ponce de Leon and Hernando Desoto first explored it.
It wasn’t until 1892 that George Emerson Bean established the first homestead on Bean Point, right where the Rod and Reel Pier is now located. When he passed, the land was left to his son, George Wilhelm Bean. He went on to establish the Anna Maria Beach Company with Charles Roser and developed the island together. Charles Roser also went on to create the Fig Newton.
When walking down Pine Ave you can see some of the history come to life with landmarks like the Roser Memorial Church, the Anna Maria City Jail, and the Anna Maria Pier currently being rebuilt after Hurricane Irma. While you’re exploring our island’s history make sure to pop in to Pink & Navy and say hi!!