HISTORY OF PINE LEVEL
Pine Level was established in 1866 as the new county seat of old Manatee County (formed in 1855). Although located at the geographical center of the 5,000-acre county, the new town also moved the government from the Confederate stronghold of the Village of Manatee. Pine Level may have been considered a freedmen’s town--as one of the first three families to settle there was African-American. As Reconstruction ended and Democrats gained control in 1876, the town gained businesses and population. When the county was divided in May 1887, Pine Level became the seat of the newly formed DeSoto County until Arcadia was chosen in November 1888. The town gradually declined, and when the East and West Railroad was built two miles to the north in 1914, businesses shifted to that location.
All photos courtesy of DeSoto County Historical Society's Howard and Velma Melton Historical Research Library.
Above: The two-story structure was first used as a school and then the sanctuary for the Pine Level United Methodist Church
Right: The Hart Cabin in Pioneer Park was built in 1879, and homes in Pine Level were probably similar in construction.