Punta Gorda, Florida
The City of Punta Gorda is a charming and historic waterfront town which traces it roots to a landing at Live Oak Point on the Peace River by Hernado DeSoto in 1539. The name itself means “Broad Point” in the language of the conquistadors, and a colorful festival celebrates Ponce De Leon’s Landing (1513) on Pine Island in Charlotte Harbor each year. Now More than 120 years old, Punta Gorda remains Charlotte County’s only incorporated city.
Early Spanish attempts to colonize the outer islands were stopped by Calusa Indian tribes, and the area was slowly settled as the English migrated by Charlotte Harbor to the banks of the Peace River. In 1885, Col. Isaac Trabue from Kentucky bought the land from British investors and founded the town of Trabue. The name was never well accepted, however, and reverted back to the Spanish version in 1887 upon incorporation.
This City of 17,168 is in the midst of a major community revitalization and beautification effort. With historic preservation as a priority, Punta Gorda has secured State Historic District status. The city Streetscape program is restoring an old Florida atmosphere to central district streets and has added brick lanes, street lamps, benches, brick planters, flowers and shade trees. The residential areas feature many brick streets lined with huge old royal palms and many old Florida-era tin-roofed homes with wide verandas. Unique shops and restaurants are being added throughout the town, expanding the fine reputation of Punta Gorda’s Charm. There are three elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. A hospital is also located in the community.