In 1911, a group of businessmen from Anna Maria Island and St. Petersburg founded the Anna Maria Beach Company to develop the island into a resort community. The company cleared land, laid out streets and sidewalks, dug wells and laid water pipes, and built stores and rental cottages. Many of these cottages can be seen along Pine Avenue. As was custom, cottages were given names such as "Idlease," "Seawaves," "Coyne Cottage," and "Marquette."
These mostly wood cottages were built with wide shady porches and deep eaves. Tall, shaded windows drafted out hot air at the top and pulled cooler air at the bottom making the homes tolerable in Florida heat. Four artesian wells on the island provided water and according to the company's brochure, the island water was supposed to have medicinal properties.
Islanders lived on fresh seafood from the surrounding waters and a variety of fruits and vegetables from their gardens. Homesteader George Emerson Bean supported his family by selling crops to the soldiers at Egmont Key during the Spanish-American War (1898).