Punta Gorda

When Paul and Linda were visiting in December we took a road trip to Punta Gorda and Charlotte Harbor.  The weather was warm and sunny so we took advantage of it and put the  top down on the car.

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There are many historic buildings in Punta Gorda.  One of them is the Old Charlotte Courthouse a two-story yellow brick building.  It was designed in the Classical Revival style and built-in 1928 by Paul Smith.  Additions were added to the structure in the 1960’s and 80’s.  Then in 1999 it was replaced by a new Justice Center.  In 2005 County Commissioners under took the restoration and demolished the additions.  They reopened the original Court House to the public in 2008.

1280px-punta_gorda_city_hallHere is some history about Punta Gorda a very relaxing and beautiful place to visit. Punta Gorda lies on the south bank of the tidal Peace River and the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor.  The name “Punta Gorda” has been on maps since 1861 referring to a point of land that juts into Charlotte Harbor.  It was in the late 1800 that early settlers began to arrive in what is the present day Punta Gorda area.  Punta Gorda was incorporated in 1887.  Phosphate was discovered on the banks of the Peace river just above Punta Gorda in 1888. Phosphate mined in the Peace River Valley was barged down the Peace River to Punta Gorda and Port Boca Grande.  Then it was loaded on to vessels and shipped world-wide.  The shipping of Phosphate was Punta Gorda’s chief industry until 1907 when a railroad was built.  They started using the railroad and sent it direct to Port Boca Grande ending the brief shipping boom from Punta Gorda.

In 1890 an African-American, Robert Meacham was appointed as the postmaster.  The Punta Gorda Herald  was founded by Robert Kirby Seward in 1893 and the newspaper was published once a week.  Today the newspaper is called The Charlotte Sun Herald.  In 1925 a bungalow was built by Joseph Blanchard and African American sea-captain and fisherman.  The Blanchard House museum still stands as a museum, providing education for the history of middle class African American life in the area.

blanchard-house-museum

During World War 11 a U.S. Army air field was built-in Punta Gorda to train combat air pilots.  After the war the air field was turned over to Charlotte County.  Today the old air fields is the Punta Gorda Airport providing both commercial and general aviation.

In the early 1980s at the site of the old Maud Street Fishing Docks, a new shopping, restaurant, and Marina complex Fishermen’s Village was constructed at Charlotte Harbor.  Fishermen’s Village continues to be one of Southwest Florida primary attractions.

Fishermen’s Village was decked out for the holidays with several different decorated trees.  They decorate their trees with sunglasses, flip-flops, and sea shells.  There were many small boutiques and unique shops in the village.  This would be a great place to do all your Christmas shopping.   If you were looking for something different you could probably find it in one of many unique shops.

Paul, Linda, Kent, and I  walked the whole length of the village which is several blocks long.  There are several restaurants and bars along the water front in the village.  We stopped at one of them for a drink.  The waitress was not happy with us only wanting a drink and no food.  You can guess we didn’t leave a tip.

You can see by the picture we had a long day so we all needed to take a rest.  It’s still hard for me to get used to warm weather and Christmas.  I am sure next year, we’ll all wish we were back in Florida.

On August 13 2004 a major hurricane, Hurricane Charley category 4 moved through Punta Gorda, and was the scene of massive destruction.   This hurricane was the strongest to hit Florida since hurricane Donna in 1960.  After the storm building were built and restored to hurricane resistant. The picture of the monument below is called Spirit of Punta Gorda monument commemorating the land fall of Hurricane Charley.

spirit_of_punta_gordaThe Punta Gorda Pathway is a system of approximately 18 miles of bicycle and pedestrian trails and paths that connect parks and commercial areas.

Linear Park and various trails were created throughout the City for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

For just over two miles the Punta Gorda Harbor Walk follows the beautiful Charlotte Harbor.  The route is part of the city’s extensive trail network and connects directly to Linear Park which follows a former railroad right of way.

laishleypanoThe city of Punta Gorda proudly unveiled its new Marina in 2007 Laishley Park Municipal Marina.  The Marina is located on the eastern shoreline of Charlotte Harbor.   Charlotte Harbor is the second largest harbor in the State of Florida.  It offers world-class fishing and access into the Gulf of Mexico at the vicinity of Boco Grande.

Punta Gorda catch phrase “It’s happening on the harbor reflects our reputation as festive waterfront city surrounded by majestic Charlotte Harbor.

 

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