Punta Gorda (Hardcover)
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Punta Gorda is a historic waterfront town located in Southwest Florida where the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor meet on the Gulf of Mexico. The area was first occupied by Native Americans and later discovered in the 1500s by Ponce de Leon while searching for the Fountain of Youth. However, it was not until the late 19th century, when cattle ranchers and homesteaders descended upon the area, that things began to develop. Once the South Florida Railroad made Punta Gorda its southernmost stop, down came land developers and wealthy vacationers, including Cornelius Vanderbilt, who invested in the regal Hotel Punta Gorda. Among the town's early pioneers were George Brown, an African American shipbuilder and landowner who was also known as Florida's first equal opportunity employer; Albert Waller Gilchrist, who played a key role in Punta Gorda's early fishing and railroad industry; and Robert Meacham, an African American who was appointed as the town's third postmaster. There were others who were significant, such as Col. Isaac Trabue, who was key to the area's railroad industry. Punta Gorda has grown since its inception but still maintains its Southern charm.