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Grimes Galvano celebrates 100th Anniversary

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Historic Professional Building

In 1983 the members of the firm purchased the Professional Building located at 1023 Manatee Avenue West in Bradenton. The building had become somewhat run-down and was functionally obsolete, having been built with, for example, no air conditioning. Following the purchase, they completed an historic rehabilitation of the building, receiving an award from the State for the best such project in the State. The rehabilitation restored the building, but in a way that it could be used today.

Grimes Hawkins Gladfelter & Galvano, now known as Grimes Galvano, located in downtown Bradenton, is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The firm, founded in 1922, was started by E. Glenn Grimes and Alvan B. Rowe in Palmetto. In 1914, Glenn Grimes had moved to Florida from Chicago, having received his law degree from Northwestern University. First arriving in Santa Rosa and working his way down to Palmetto, Grimes began practicing law in Manatee County, representing the citrus industry and the city of Palmetto over the years. In 1922, Grimes partnered with Alvan Rowe to begin what is now known as Grimes Galvano.

“This celebration is especially meaningful for me because my son, Kyle, is now a partner in this firm and will continue the legacy of my grandfather and father, which I share,” said Caleb Grimes.

“I am so proud of this firm and all it stands for and has accomplished,” said Bill Galvano, who served as president of the Florida Senate from 2018-2020. “I started at the law firm as an attorney in 1992, and I could not be more excited to celebrate its 100th anniversary and highlight its rich history. The Grimes family has a tremendous presence and tradition in this state. I am honored to be a part of it.”

The firm’s history and story run deep in the region, both in family and in practice. In 1929, the firm accepted the first woman attorney in the region and the first in Manatee County, Bessie Ethyl Sims, into their practice. Sims practiced with the firm until she married Charles Williams of Sarasota, and thereafter practiced law with her husband. In 1930, the firm moved its practice to the Professional Building in downtown Bradenton where the firm continues today. Originally located on the sixth floor, the firm now occupies the ground and mezzanine floors in the renovated building, as well as other offices in the tower of the building.

In 1946, William C. “Bill” Grimes joined his father after Rowe retired, and the firm became known as Grimes and Grimes. Bill Grimes graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. and J.D. degrees. Upon his return from his service in World War II, where he achieved the rank of major, Bill Grimes practiced in Tampa with McFarland Ferguson before returning to Bradenton to join his father. Bill Grimes was elected to the Legislature in 1955 and 1957, representing the district, including Manatee County. With a young family, he chose not to run for re-election. However, while a representative, he was instrumental in passing many laws that benefitted the county, as well as being instrumental in having the state deed what is now known as Coquina Beach to the county, with a restriction requiring it to be used as a beach for the public. Bill Grimes practiced in the firm until shortly before his death in 2007.

In the early 1950s, Clyde Goebel, who came to the area from Kansas, joined the firm, becoming a partner until his death in 1992.

Caleb J. Grimes, who also graduated from the University of Florida, joined the firm in 1978 and continues in practice today. Having graduated from Southern Mississippi with a B.A. and the University of Mississippi with a J.D., John D. “Jack” Hawkins joined the firm in 1986. Following Goebel’s death, Leslie Horton Gladfelter joined the firm in 1992 with degrees from Florida Southern College (B.S.) and University of Florida (J.D.).

Derin Parks joined the firm in 2005, having graduated from the University of Miami (B.A.) and the University of Florida (J.D.). The newest partner is Kyle Grimes, who joined the firm in 2017, having graduated from the University of Florida (B.S.) and Florida State University (J.D.).

In 1983, the members of the firm purchased the historic Professional Building. They completed an historic rehabilitation of the building, receiving an award from the state for the best such project in Florida. The rehabilitation restored the building, but in a way that it could be used today. The old historic manually operated Otis Elevators were retained and are believed to be one of the oldest continuously operating elevators in the state, according to the firm. In 2008, one of the elevators was replaced with a modern, automatic elevator for ease of use by the tenants. The other elevator remains as a working, manually operating elevator, a nod to the history of the firm and the building. The ground floor/mezzanine was converted from its original condition as a bank to a modern law firm office in 1988. It is the main office of the firm today. In 2021, the firm opened an office in downtown Sarasota, expanding its physical footprint in the area and further supporting its ability to serve clients throughout the state.

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