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1921 Punta Gorda - A Walk Around Town Part 1

A Walk Around Marion Avenue in 1921 Nesbit Street to King (Northbound 41)

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1921 Punta Gorda - A Walk Around Town Part 1

  2. 2. Aerial View of Punta Gorda in ~1921
  3. 3. What did Punta Gorda look like in 1921?
  4. 4. Imagine yourself in the tower of the Hotel Punta Gorda looking left on Marion Avenue, the building with the two-story porch houses the Smith Bakery, a restaurant and a hotel. It was built after the huge fire of 1910 destroyed their wooden structure on Marion between King St. and Taylor. Today the Smith arcade building across from the post office is where the bakery/hotel building was in 1921.
  5. 5. Imagine your you’re standing in the middle of Marion Avenue at the corner of Nesbit Street looking back up toward King St. (US 41 N). This Texaco Station is where the Celtic Ray is today. You can see the two-story porch of the Smith building up the street on the left. Across from this corner and down Nesbit Street (imagine going to Laishley Park) the Charlotte Harbor bridge is under construction. Let’s go look at that.
  6. 6. The Charlotte Harbor bridge was financed by a special bridge and road taxing district comprised of Punta Gorda & Charlotte Harbor communities. Work started with a causeway at the foot of Nesbit St. and was used as a staging area. Work was interrupted by World War I. DeSoto county commissioners John Hagan Sr. and William M. Whitten restarted bridge construction two years after the war ended when steel and concrete again became available. The last section of concrete was poured June 28, 1921. The bridge opened to traffic on July 4th.
  7. 7. Back on Nesbit St. this block of buildings was across the street from the Smith building. Wrenn-Williams Furniture and a Hewitt Bros. storefront are in the near building. In the middle is the Olive Hotel. On down the block is the large round-roofed Hewitt Garage. A livery stable once occupied this lot before the auto age. This was where the post office is today.
  8. 8. Here’s a closer look at the Olive Hotel. It serviced a working-class clientele…traveling salesmen, seasonal workers and visitors.
  9. 9. Located near the corner of King (N41) and Marion on the same side as the Hewitt Garage, this railroad station serviced Punta Gorda from 1897 until 1930 when a new depot was built on Taylor Rd. at Carmelita St. This station (photo ca 1912) was torn down for the Barron Collier Bridge embankment.
  10. 10. Compared to the previous slide, this photo of the Punta Gorda RR Station ca.1921 shows it the worse for wear and surrounded by flood water from the October hurricane.