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The Powel Crosley Estate History

Powel Crosley, Jr.: Industrialist, Inventor, Visionary

While Powel Crosley Jr. never made more than $50 a week before he was 30, by age 33 he had amassed a fortune selling auto parts through the then-unheard-of medium of direct mail. His son wanted a wireless radio, so he perfected and manufactured the first low-priced crystal set, the hugely successful "Harko," opening that entertainment medium to the masses. He ventured into radio broadcasting to sell more radios and at 500,000 watts had the most powerful station in the world. His radio station – The Nation's Station, WLW – was the proving ground for the early careers of many who went on to global stardom. His television station became the first NBC affiliate, and Crosley's own Cincinnati Reds baseball team became the first sports program ever broadcast in color. In his lifetime, Powel Crosley Jr. used his fortune and his enterprise to assist many others up the ladder of success. His many charitable contributions provided a teaching environment for tens of thousands of young men and women.

By the end of his life, he had invented, developed, manufactured or produced:

  • The first compact economy car (1939)
  • First auto radio (1930)
  • Electric wagon (1900)
  • Shelvador refrigerator
  • 500,000-watt radio station (1934)
  • Night baseball (1935)
  • Soap operas (1934)
  • Facsimile machine (1940)
  • First 4-wheel disc brakes (1939)
  • 35mm camera
  • Airplanes (4 different)
  • First radio broadcast from an airplane (1930)
  • Phonographs, scalp massagers, canoes, furniture, baby carriages, washing machines, stoves and bed-cooling systems.

2013 - Powel Crosley, Jr. is entered into the Radio Hall of Fame-


Seagate: the Crosley Estate

Powel Crosley built the Florida winter home for his wife, Gwendolyn, in 1929. The two-and-a-half-story Mediterranean mansion was built in the southwest corner of Bradenton on a 60-acre parcel of land on Sarasota Bay adjacent to the John Ringling Estate. The 11,000-square-foot home has 21 rooms and 10 baths, and an adjacent carriage house has room for three cars and servants' quarters on the second floor. Originally the mansion had a swimming pool, a seaplane dock and yacht basin. The home featured many innovations for its time, including a steel frame encased in cast stone, embedded pipes and wiring, and a 135-day construction schedule.

Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, Seagate was saved from commercial development and purchased for renovation by Manatee County, which operates it as a meeting, conference and event venue.

Contact the Powel Crosley Estate at 941-722-3244, ext. 3942

Also explore our other facility, the Bradenton Area Convention Center.

Courtyard Marriott Bradenton Riverfront

Located on the Riverwalk, with meeting space for up to 400 guests. Meeting Pkg: $42/pp for meeting room, cont’l breakfast and lunch.

941-747-3727 | Courtyard Marriott

Bradenton Area Convention Center

Located on the scenic Manatee River, this flexible full-service facility has the space and the staff necessary to make your event a true success.

941.729.9177 | Bradenton Area Convention Center

The Powel Crosley Estate

The Powel Crosley Estate has all the modern amenities to successfully host meetings, weddings and other events. Call or visit our page to learn ...

941.722.3244 | The Powel Crosley Estate