311 Taylor Street

While evidence of this structure does not show until about 1926, Charlotte County's General Index to Deeds 1921-1924 show taxes paid on the property by A. B. Tucker and Caroline H. Tucker.  The wooden construction, weighted windows and tin roof are typical of early 1920's home building.  According to a previous owner, the house was built in 1923 for the daughter of Sidney Parnell, the first sheriff of Charlotte County.  The tax roll lists John A. Lindhal and his wife as property owners in 1926.  Until 1921 all taxes and deeds were recorded by and in DeSoto County.

Until 1989 the cottage was owned by a member of the Parnell family. From 1999 until 2021, the house was the site of the Red Hat Studio, Punta Gorda's first working artist studio, owned by artist Liz Hutchinson.  

219 Sullivan Street


Circuit-riding Reverend George Gatewood bought this home in 1915.  He was a minister licensed by the Methodist General conference in 1899.  He preached to frontier churches that were beyond the reach of regular clerics with the help of occasional visiting ministers.  He attended the spiritual needs of 200 homesteaders in "Union Services" which were held in schoolhouses throughout the area.  He and his wife supported themselves by operating "General" stores here in town  He also worked as postmaster, real estate salesman, fisherman and newspaper reporter.  He wrote two books of historical significance:  Ox Cart Days to Airplane Era in Southwest Florida" and "On Florida's Coconut Coast"  both of which have been republished by the Punta Gorda Historical Society.  PHOTO OF HIM AND TWO BOOK COVERS ON BOARD.

Cross Street and Retta Esplanade


As one Charlotte Sun-Herald reported in 2000, " The Punta Gorda Herald watched the city of Punta Gorda grow up starting with the arrival of the Southeren Florida Railway.  The first issue of the Punta Gorda Herald was published February 17, 1893.   The original building on Cross Street and Retta Esplanade located on the lower floor of a cigar factory, burned to the ground in 1895. The offices moved to Marion Aveue and Taylor Street.   In September 1901 The Punta Gorda Herald was purchased by Adrian Pettus Jordan. In 1913 Jordan built a new building on the corner of Taylor and Herald Court where he lived on the first floor and the composing rooms were on the second. The building was used until it was damaged by Hurricane Charley in 2004.  The Herald SUN is currently located on Harborview Road in Port Charlotte.

Olympia & Cross Streets - First Baptist Church

The First Baptist Church is no longer standing.   Punta Gorda City Master file of demolished buildings shows it was constructed in 1909. It is a loss as it affected the early growth of the entire town.  It is currently an empty lot.  (2022)

The original congregation consisted of nine members. Among them were James L. and Mary Sandlin, James M. and Martha Sandlin Morgan, and Mrs. Nancy Linquish. Sandlin and Morgan donated to the Baptist congregation, two lots for a church to be built on the northwest corner of Cross and Olympia streets. The lumber for the new church was supplied by Morgan who operated a sawmill on Taylor Road near Alligator Creek. By 1893 the first issue of the Punta Gorda Herald noted that there was a Baptist Church Building.  It was also noted in the Herald of that year that Rev. T. J. Sparkman, pastor, conducted services every first and third Sundays.  

Over the years the Baptists added Sunday School rooms, a kitchen and dining room.  Still the original church building proved too small for the growing congregration.  In 1962, a larger sanctuary and attendant facilities was built at its present site on Gill St. The Crosland Chapel and Sunday school were dedicated January 28, 1962. The old pastorium was moved to the present site, but later torn down. With completion of the Crosland Chapel, the Cross Street and Retta Esplanade properties were sold to the Golden Rule Rebekah Lodge 60.

Punta Gorda First Baptists in 1975 undertook a  major $l million three-phase building program which included an addition to the Crosland Chapel,  expansion of the educational building  and walks, paving, drainage and landscaping. 

501 Shreve Street - the Calaboose

 Calaboose comes from the Spanish term calaboozo, for jail or cell.  It was a common name for small holding cells found in many pioneer towns.  This 10 x 16 foot cage is made from riveted iron bands.  It served as the city jail from 1889-1928  when it was replaced by the county's first jail in the Charlotte County Courthouse on Taylor Street.  The iron bands of the calaboose were once covered by an iron roof.  The cage apparently had two swing-down bunks on  either end.  The swinging front doors were locked by a padlock.  The apparatus was installed on Herald Court in downtown Punta Gorda.  The Calaboose ended its days on Jim and Patsy Parker's Washington Loop Ranch before being given to the Historical Society.  The Parkers gave the Calaboose to the Punta Gorda Historical Society in honor of his father, Edwin M. Parker, who was Mayor of Punta Gorda in 1941.  D&M Construction moved the Calaboose from the Ranch to town.

501 Shreve Street - Trabue Law and Land Sales Office

 This cottage* was the law and land sales office of Col. Isaac Trabue, the founder of Punta Gorda.  It was built in 1886 in preparation of the Florida Southern Railway's extension of service to the new town of Trabue.  Col. Trabue gave Henry B. Plant, owner of the Southern Railway, 15 acres of his holdings in Trabue to entice him to extend his railroad line here.  The little structure served as a Post Office for half a dozen hopeful residents and 200 construction workers from July 1 to August 12, 1886. Nanny Scott of Cleveland, Florida was appointed postmistress in August of 1886 and the Post Office was moved to another location.  This building was originally located on a site to the rear of where the Freeman House is now located (311 W. Retta Esplanade).  It was moved and restored to a location on the corner of Marion and Nesbit, near the (current?) Post Office in 1991.  *In November 2000, it was moved to the History Park. (501 Shreve Street, Punta Gorda, FL.) 

West Retta Esplanade - Gilchrist Park

 Col. Isaac Trabue* platted his town in 1885 and he dedicated the waterfront for public parks out of the navigable channel.  The shoreline was originally close to the edge of today's Retta Esplanade.  The City constructed a seawall in 1914 and backfilled it to create building lots for luxury homes.  After several lots were sold, the City discovered the dedication clause in Trabue's original plat and bought back the sold lots.  The site was landscaped and known simply as City Park.  In 1950 the park was named for Albert W. Gilchrist, one of Punta Gorda's original developers.*  He served as governor of Florida from 1909-13.  The Gazebo on Old Punta Gorda Point was built to replace an earlier Gazebo, built by OPG in 1985 , as part of a planned Living History Museum.  That Gazebo was torn down by the City to prepare for development of the area where the City Marina is now located. * See Hall of Honor in Punta Gorda History Center.

311 Taylor Street

While evidence of this structure does not show until about 1926, Charlotte County's General Index to Deeds 1921-1924 show taxes paid on ...