What did Marion Avenue look like in 1921?
The Hotel Punta Gorda dominate the skyline harbor side. Let’s go up in the tower to see.
Imagine you’re in tower of the Hotel Punta Gorda looking down on Marion Avenue. King Street is to
your left; Taylor Street, to your right. The next few slides will show street-level views of these
buildings. Note that Marion Avenue has two-way traffic. Diagonal parking on the far side; parallel
parking on the near side.
1921 saw Marion Avenue changing from horse drawn vehicles to automobiles.
The wall on the right separates the Hotel Punta Gorda from Marion Avenue.
New in 1917, The Punta Gorda State Bank was located near the corner of
Marion Avenue & King Street. It took over the deposits from the liquidated
Punta Gorda Bank.
This is the corner of Marion and Taylor. The tree on the left side is where
the water fountain is today and where the city Christmas tree is staged.
Back in the tower of the
Hotel Punta Gorda
looking out to our right,
the Seminole Pharmacy
is the “Drug Store” in
the near center building.
This photo is ca.1925
because the Charlotte
Bay Hotel is the
imposing structure in
the center. Johnson
Building is where
the Chamber of
Commerce are now.
Let’s take a closer look
at that area.
B. Hugh Mobley,
the pharmacist at
outside under the
Marion at Taylor
Plaza Theater built in 1917 was
renamed the New Theater in 1932.
Photo ca. 1920
In 1921 to 1928 the Johnson Building, built in 1911 on the corner of Marion and DeSoto
(now Sullivan), provided rental office space for the new county commission and the clerk
of circuit court.
This photo is probably closer to 1915 than 1921 based on the woman’s dress.
Inside the Clerk’s
office (most likely late
Court room space was
rented from the
Masonic Lodge until
the county courthouse
was built in 1928.
Plaza Theatre bldg.
in this bldg.
Built in 1887, this hotel
was known as the
Dade, the New
Southland and in 1914
named the Seminole
Hotel. In 1920 it was
moved down the street
1 block to where the
car wash is today. It
burnt down in 1922.
Many businesses rented space from
building owners. The Vassa Jones
barber shop was operated in Punta
Gorda for may years in several
In the aerial photo at the
beginning of this tour the Band
Stand was located in the city
park at the foot of Sullivan Street
City Wharf was built at the foot of
DeSoto St in 1908 by volunteer
labor and contributions from
citizens of the community. DeSoto
St was renamed Sullivan
…maybe after the creation of
In 1916 the Ladies Civic
Improvement Association raised
$2,000 to add a bath house on
the wharf so that saltwater
bathing could be one of the
attractions of Punta Gorda every
day of the year.
In 1919 the group published a
booklet Punta Gorda, Where Life
is Worth Living. In words and
pictures, they extolled the city’s
On July 4, 1921, Punta Gorda hosted 6,000 people in the celebration that accompanied the opening of the
Charlotte Harbor Bridge. Daytime activities included swimming races, log rolling, band concert, baseball
game and fish fry.
A dance that evening
in the Hotel Punta
Gorda closed the
The National Good Roads movement was
introduced in the early 1910s. FDOT was
organized in 1915. Federal and state money
wasn’t available. Once out of downtown, road
conditions varied widely.
Citizens provided labor and materials by
subscription. Counties could authorize taxing
districts for public improvements and education.
The communities of Charlotte Harbor and Punta
Gorda were in the taxing district that DeSoto
county created to fund the Charlotte Harbor
bridge and roads leading off it at either end.
Not all businesses were on main streets.
Some were located on the various wharves.
Out of town in the vicinity of Route 17 & Piper Road, a 9-hole golf course was built by public
subscription in 1919. It opened in 1921. Seen here ca. 1922.