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  • Charlotte County


    Punta Gorda is located at a point where the Peace River meets Charlotte Harbor. It was first settled by the Howard brothers who came to Charlotte Harbor in the late 19th century. The rate of growth in the area remained pretty consistent until the recent downtown preservation and rejuvination. Less than ten years after the first settlements in the area, land developers and railroads were established; a tourist destination was born.

    Punta Gorda’s initial growth were propelled by the railroad industry. It was the southernmost stop on the South Florida Railroad.

    Twelve years after the first settlements (1887) 34 men delegated at Hector’s Billiard Parlor and Drugstore to discuss incorporation of the city. Shortly after, Punta Gorda was officially incorporated. Soon after that, elections were held for mayor and city council.

    A Melting Pot

    Early Punta Gorda was a melting pot of different economic classes living and working together. The upscale Punta Gorda Hotel reflected the upperclass standards of living enjoyed by some. However, Punta Gorda was still a “rough” town at times and was definitely considered a frontier town. As an end stop to the railway line, Punta Gorda was an attraction to some less than desirable characters. Between 1890 and 1904 over fourty murders were recorded.

    African Americans were very prominent in the establishment and growth of Punta Gorda. In 1925, Joseph Blanchard built a bungalo, the Blanchard House, that still stands today as a museum. Exhibits at the Blanchard house are a testiment to the social, political and religious life at the time and is invaluable to the history of Punta Gorda.

    Into the 20th Century & Beyond…

    In the 20th century, Punta Gorda maintained steady growth as a city. After Desoto County was split in 1921, Charlotte County was formed with Punta Gorda as its premier city. Also in 1921, the first bridge was constructed connecting Punta Gorda and Charlotte Harbor along the brand-new Tamiami Trail. This small bridge was replaced by the Barron Collier Bridge in 1931, and then by the current bridge crossing the Peace River.

    Today, Punta Gorda has seen a huge revitilization throughout the city. Public leaers focus forward towards growth and accomodation while keeping a strong thumb over the regulation and promotion of historic preservation and restoration. It seems that Punta Gorda has hit its prime and has positioned itself as a hot tourist destination, a great place to raise a family and a serene environment to enjoy retirement.