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History Park - Punta Gorda, FL
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member rogueblack
N 26° 55.533 W 082° 03.360
17R E 395156 N 2978626
Quick Description: Punta Gorda History Park preserves structures significant to the city's development. The collection tells the story of pioneer life through architecture.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 10/15/2008 9:56:18 AM
Waymark Code: WM4YWK
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member GEO*Trailblazer 1
Views: 39

Long Description:
This tour can take you a duration of 20 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the time spent examining the interior and exterior of the structures. This is a small park with a total walking distance under .5 mile. Tours for the interior of the structures, which are museums, can be scheduled with the Punta Gorda Historical Society (941) 639-1887

(P) Parking: History Park Parking lot
N 26°55.533 W 082°03.360
The tour begins with a safe place to park. The park is accessible from a protected entrance off a side street just off Shreve St. A gardened buffer allows visitors a feeling of peace, tranquility and nature amidst the bustle of busy Punta Gorda.

(1) Cigar Cottage
N 26°55.527 W 082°03.362
From the parking lot, walk west into the park along the hand-placed cobblestone walkway, towards the white house facing the parking spaces. Hibiscus bushes decorate its front porch and dual front doors. This is the Cigar Cottage.

El Palmetto Cigar Company provided quaint cottages for their employees during the company's success during the 1890's. After the company went out of business, the cottages were purchased and moved. Current owner Mike Nickelson was kind enough to donate one of the cottages and it now resides in History Park.

The interior of the Cigar Cottage is a museum.

(2) Hotel Charlotte Harbor Fountain
N 26°55.257 W 082°03.356
Exit the Cigar Cottage facing South to see a decorative fountain surrounded by a full flowerbed. This is the Hotel Charlotte Harbor Fountain.

This fountain was the centerpiece in the middle of the landscaped lawn of the beautiful Hotel Charlotte Harbor. When the Hotel Charlotte Harbor burned to the ground in the 1950's, the Punta Gorda Mall was built in its place. The landmark building graced Punta Gorda's waterfront at the site of the Punta Gorda Mall. When the Punta Gorda Mall was destroyed by Hurricane Charley in 2004, the fountain was protected and eventually transferred to History Park.

The fountain has been restored and is in full working order.

(3) Trabue Law & Land Sales Office
N 26°55.512 W 082°03.362
Look South beyond the Charlotte Harbor Fountain to the white house facing the cobblestone path. Its green trim adds a charming aspect to this former business office.

Col. Isaac Trabue and his wife, Victoria, were pioneers to the Charlotte Harbor area. Col. Trabue purchased 30 acres and intended to incorporate the area as a city, named after himself. He convinced the railway to extend the railroad across the Peace River to stop at his settlement so industry could flourish, and it did. When a group of prominent citizens incorporated the city and named it Punta Gorda, Col. Trabue became bitter and moved back to Kentucky in his later years. His wife is buried in Indian Spring Cemetery in Charlotte County, but he refused to have anything more to do with Punta Gorda.

The structure has moved around the Punta Gorda area quite a bit in search of a location that was in its best interests for preservation. When History Park was established, the Trabue Law & Land Sales Office found its permanent home.

(4) Gilchrist House
N 26°55.494 W 082°03.398
Exit the Trabue Law & Land Sales Office and follow the path west towards the brown house positioned at the end of the path. There are several landscaped oasis areas with seating along this path so visitors are able to enjoy the park for as long as is desired.

One of the homes owned by former Florida Governor and Charlotte Harbor pioneer Albert W. Gilchrist, it was restored and transformed into an Inn for travelers to be introduced to the rich history and comfortable hospitality of Punta Gorda. It is presently under construction. It is being restored and transformed into a museum.

(5) Calaboose
N 26°55.492 W 082°03.383
Exit the Gilchrist House and walk South off the cobblestone pathway, past the butterfly garden. A caged structure is set below the shading oak trees. This is the Calaboose.

The Calaboose was an early jail in Punta Gorda. The roof is solid metal, two bunks fold down on either side, and the metal doors were padlocked. The walls had been set in concrete and were cut off when moved. Until 1921, Punta Gorda was part of DeSoto County and the county jail was first in Pine Level and then Arcadia. According to Charlotte County's local historian, the late U.S. Cleveland, no one worse than the town drunk was ever imprisoned in the town calaboose.

The late Byron Rhodes remembers it in 1905 near where the old courthouse is now, alongside a holding pen for cattle caught roaming within city limits.

Vernon Peeples - whose family arrived in 1935 - remembers it in the same location. It was later moved to the Parker family ranch on Washington Loop and used as an animal pen; they donated it to the History Park in 2001.

(Z) Zork Bonus:
N 26°55.493 W 082°03.384
One of very few occassions, at least personally known to this WayTour poster, that the opening lines in Zork I are experienced.

(P) Parking: History Park Parking lot
N 26°55.533 W 082°03.360
Rejoin the cobblestone path heading North and follow it towards the parking lot.
Recommended Time for this WayTour: From: 6:00 AM To: 7:00 PM

Stop Coordinates:
(P) N 26°55.533 W 082°03.360 (1) N 26°55.527 W 082°03.362 (2) N 26°55.257 W 082°03.356 (3) N 26°55.512 W 082°03.362 (4) N 26°55.494 W 082°03.398 (5) N 26°55.492 W 082°03.383 (Z) N 26°55.493 W 082°03.384 (P) N 26°55.533 W 082°03.360

Starting Address for this WayTour:
501 Shreve St
Punta Gorda, FL USA

Number of Stops: 5

Website of stops: Not listed

Stop Website: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
You must include an original photo showing one of the stops along the tour route.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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petendot visited History Park - Punta Gorda, FL 11/4/2012 petendot visited it
crackergals visited History Park - Punta Gorda, FL 1/21/2009 crackergals visited it
debbado visited History Park - Punta Gorda, FL 11/30/2008 debbado visited it

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