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The Places They Stayed - Hotels, Boarding Houses and Lodges

A presentation on where people lived during the frontier years and ongoing as Punta Gorda evolved over time.

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The Places They Stayed - Hotels, Boarding Houses and Lodges

  1. 1. Where People Stayed: Early Punta Gorda Hotels, Boarding Houses and Lodges by Punta Gorda History Center
  2. 2. Pre-Railroad Era: before 1886 Rugged pioneers, seasonal fishermen, cattlemen and adventures came to the area we now know as Punta Gorda by water, in sailing vessels or steamships, or overland by horseback, wagons, or walking. Primitive housing was constructed to match the unconquered landscape. Isaac Trabue comes to Florida in 1885, purchases 380 acres, and hires a surveyor to lay out the Town of Trabue.
  3. 3. Spanish fish ranchos were established in Charlotte Harbor as early as 1769.
  4. 4. No one knew for sure who built it or when, but it was considered the first house in Punta Gorda. Occupied by both the Laniers and Trabues, it was located on Retta Esplanade in Harvey Park. This photograph is from a woodcut that appeared in the Florida Times Union in 1896.
  5. 5. The Railroad Era: 1886 - 1921 The Florida Southern Railway was completed to its terminus in Punta Gorda in July 1886. Two hundred workmen and supplies immediately began to build the large Hotel Punta Gorda for wealthy winter visitors – 100 miles further south than any other first-class hotel in the United States. Adventurers, sportsmen, merchants, tradesmen, salesmen, pioneers, of all sorts, came to see what was at the end of the rail line. They needed places to stay when then arrived.
  6. 6. Even before the rail line was completed in 1886, the lumber to construct the Peace River Lodge was shipped by schooner from Mobile, AL. to the new town of Cleveland, FL. Dr. A. T. Holleyman, the developer of the new town, also built the lodge to accommodate some 40 guests , 20 bedrooms, 10 baths, on 2nd floor, plus the owner’s suite, Later, George Chahoon, a state senator from NY, owned the resort and it was known as the National Hotel. The building is shown here as it looked in 1925.
  7. 7. Then the Railroad arrived in July 1886 with 200 laborers on board to begin work on the Punta Gorda Hotel. Hotel Construction Site By October 1886 the Railroad Dock reached 2000 feet into the bay.
  8. 8. On June of 1886, men driving the pilings for the wharf were in the habit of going naked while working in the water as there were no white women in town. Epfriam “Abe” Goldstein persuaded them to wear their clothing thereafter as his wife was arriving the next day. He also persuaded carpenters working on the Hotel Punta Gorda to devote one day building this two-story home for his wife and son who were unexpectedly due to arrive the next day or so . Starting with available materials early in the morning, by nightfall they had completed construction of this two- story, multi-room house! The Pioneer House, built in one day in 1887.
  9. 9. Abe installed Fredericka and Harry in the house, then he named it the “Pioneer House” and operated it as a rooming house. When a group of Boston capitalists arrived to see about the hotel, they went to Goldstein’s, the only house in town at the time and asked for a seafood dinner. Rough tables were temporarily arranged the length of the room and the entire bunch of visitors enjoyed what is believed to have been the first seafood meal served to tourists in Punta Gorda.
  10. 10. By 1958, at 72 years old, the house was getting a little tired and began leaning on the neighboring building. Work to raze the building began in Sept. 1968. It took skilled workmen three weeks to tear it down.
  11. 11. Construction continuing on the Hotel Punta Gorda – This side faced Marion Avenue
  12. 12. Construction materials can be seen in this bay front view of the Hotel Punta Gorda
  13. 13. The completion of the Hotel Punta Gorda helped make Punta Gorda a destination resort. An ad in the NY Tribune on 2/16 indicated it would open February 20, 1887. Elegantly furnished, it had gas lights, electric bells, steam heat and open fire places. Three stories high, it had large promenade verandas and contained 135 rooms , every one a front room facing the water. During its first season, it had 3,320 guests.
  14. 14. 1909 Sanborn Map
  15. 15. The Hotel Punta Gorda Lobby, ca 1903, boasted fishing trophies and a collection of tarpon scales. Florida resort hotels were not always financial successes and the Hotel Punta Gorda was not an exception. In 1910, the Punta Gorda Herald said, “The big unsightly building …continues to be an eyesore and …standing idle and ugly for nine years past is actually a curse to the community.”
  16. 16. The Hotel Punta Gorda limped along and was purchased by Baron Collier in 1925.
  17. 17. In 1891 the El Palmetto Cigar Manufacturing Company was organized in Punta Gorda. A wooden frame factory building and a row of cottages for workers were built at the southeast corner of Virginia Avenue and Cochran St.
  18. 18. 1901 the cigar industry in Punta Gorda moved to Tampa (Ybor City) and the buildings were sold to D.H. Hucksky, who moved several of the buildings to Brown and Wood Streets. Two of these buildings were purchased for $50 each by C. M. Mays on October 25, 1924. The homes consist of one bedroom, living room and kitchen. The duplex can be seen at the Punta Gorda History Park on Shreve Street.
  19. 19. The Dade Hotel was built in 1887 at the corner of Taylor and Marion. This two-story, twenty-two room hotel had a fine dining room and was the commercial hotel in Punta Gorda. For many years Dade Hotel was the residence of Albert Gilchrist, who arrived with the RR surveying party crew chief. He continued with the railroad to supervise the construction of the Long Dock and the 1,200-foot pier at the Hotel Punta Gorda. Gilchrist lost his bid as first mayor of Punta Gorda by two votes. Florida voters elected Gilchrist governor for a term starting in 1900.
  20. 20. Its name was changed to the New Southland and in January 1914 it became the Seminole Hotel.
  21. 21. A great ovation greeted Col. Theodore Roosevelt when he arrived in Punta Gorda on a Sunday during the last week in March 1917. He enjoyed a week of fishing returning to Punta Gorda on the following Sunday.
  22. 22. In 1920 the structure was placed on logs and rolled one block to the corner of Marion Avenue and Sullivan Street. It suffered damage in the Hurricane 1921 and was destroyed by fire in 1923.
  23. 23. The Ingram Hotel was a boarding house for Negros. It was located across King Street and the railroad tracks from the Hotel Punta Gorda. In 1914 it was renamed the Travelers Hotel was a railroad hotel in Punta Gorda out by the old Ice Plant. This small hotel was used by travelers, particularly drummers (salesmen) when they’d come to town.
  24. 24. One of the most exciting things were the minstrel shows that came to town for one-night stands. They’d set up their big tents on the vacant lot by the Travelers’ Hotel. The African-American Minstrels came in on the noon train and always had a parade. On the 1932 Sanborn map this building was identified as the Punta Gorda Hotel.
  25. 25. This aerial photo of the intersection of Marion Avenue & King Street was taken from the tower roof of the Hotel Punta Gorda.
  26. 26. Zooming in we can just make out the Smith Bakery, Café and Hotel on E. Marion Avenue. The original Smith Bakery was destroyed in the fire of 1905 which took out the entire south side of the block of W. Marion Avenue between King & Taylor.
  27. 27. The Bayview Hotel was built after 1909 but prior to 1914. By 1925 it was expanded and renamed the Smith Hotel.
  28. 28. A November 4, 1914 advertisement offered the 23- room concrete hotel for sale. Later, Henry Smith built the first shopping arcade in Charlotte County. It had a half-dozen shops and the post office fronting on the central corridor. He lost everything during the Great Depression. But the Smith Arcade has been beautifully restored and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Historian Lindsey Williams’ book indicates this building burned down in 1972.
  29. 29. Across E. Marion Ave from the Smith Hotel is the Olive which, on the 1925 Sanborn map, occupied the second floor of 218 & 220 E. Marion Avenue.
  30. 30. The Price House was actually two independent buildings in 1914. Maxwell Charles Price, the first City Engineer and later City Manager, made this his home and connected two buildings with a porch at 115 Gilchrist Street. The Surles purchased the home and in the 1980s ran it as the Gilchrist Bed and Breakfast Inn. In 2010 the building was moved to the Punta Gorda History Park.
  31. 31. Automobile Era 1921 – 1980s Wide-scale adoption of automobiles by general population signals the end of passenger rail system. The Charlotte Harbor bridge, first bridge to cross Peace River, opened July 4, 1921; it is replaced in 1931. Tamiami Trail and other interstate roadways connect Florida to population centers in New England, Mid-Atlantic, Mid-West and Southern states. Motels, tourist cabins, and municipal camp grounds welcome visitors traveling to Florida in automobiles.
  32. 32. Barron Collier purchased the Hotel Punta Gorda in 1925. The old wooden siding was covered with chicken wire and stucco was applied to make the building appear to be masonry construction. Renovations enlarged it, added modern plumbing and amenities. A grand ballroom was added as a fifth floor to the tower. Dredged fill from new the yacht basin enlarged the front grounds where a swimming pool and tennis courts were added.
  33. 33. It reopened in 1927 under the name the Hotel Charlotte Harbor. It reopened in 1927 under the name the Hotel Charlotte Harbor.
  34. 34. Inside the lobby of the Hotel Charlotte Harbor A guest room in the Hotel Charlotte Harbor
  35. 35. Remnants of Charlotte Harbor Bridge 1931 Barron Collier Bridge Fill from dredging adds land for pool and tennis courts Hotel Charlotte Harbor Beginnings of Municipal Trailer Park Charlotte Bay Hotel Travelers Hotel AKA Punta Gorda Hotel
  36. 36. By 1925, the Charlotte Bay Hotel was built on the site of the former Seminole Hotel. This was the city’s main commercial hotel and, of course, welcomed winter visitors.
  37. 37. Catering to automobiles, a modest garage was built under the Charlotte Bay hotel at ground level much like the parking spaces under the Sun Loft Building which now occupies this location. Miss H. Rae Skull purchased the property in about 1940 and renamed it the Princess Hotel. This structure eventually fell victim to fire in 1979.
  38. 38. Community Center building built in 1933 with federal funding. The rustic, cypress-log building was 80’ x 100’ and contained a dance floor and stage. Later a concrete block building would replace the log structure. Punta Gora Municipal Tourist Park Camp Sites, ca. 1930s They were called “tin can tourists”. They not only came in house trailers; some were tent campers. Municipalities all over the country built facilities to attract them and their contributions to the life and economy of their host community was appreciated.
  39. 39. Municipal Trailer Park, ca. 1950s This boat basin is now home to Punta Gorda’s Laishley Marina.
  40. 40. This historic building at 215 Goldstein Street in 1896 was the site of Punta Gorda’s first high school. This is the new school built on the site in 1909. After the Charlotte High School was built on Cooper Street, this building served as the city’s first hospital. During the 1920s, the Chadwick Brothers remodeled it for a hotel called “The Inn.” In the 1930s, it became the Moss Apartments” and has remained an apartment house through several more renovations.
  41. 41. The Allapatchee Lodge was the inspiration of Louis Calder, president of Union Bag and Paper Company. It was built on Alligator Creek to entertain their customers with the best of outdoor recreation in the late 1920s. For many years the lodge, seen here ca. 1930, served the executives and customers of the famous paper company. It was located at about the 8th hole of the Twin Isles golf course.
  42. 42. The Charlotte Harbor Spa…the last vestiges of the railroad-era hotel Destroyed by fire August 14, 1959
  43. 43. Perry W. McAdow built this house in 1897. All that is left is the big banyan tree at the entrance to Gilchrist Park across the corner of Retta Esplanade and Harvey Street. Subsequent owners ran the property as the Bayshore Lodge and Motel. All was destroyed by Hurricane Donna in 1960.
  44. 44. Person’s Tourist Cabins Drive north on Route 17 or south on Route 41 and you will see vestiges of road side motels from a by-gone era, many have been turned into studio apartments. Here are photos of two examples.
  45. 45. Complaining of the smell, the commercial fish trade was relocated from the dock beside the Hotel Charlotte Harbor to Maude Street. A fire on May 19, 1939 took three lives , left one operating fish company, and dealt a severe blow to the area economy. In 1980s Fisherman’s Village was be built on the Maude Street Dock.
  46. 46. KOA Campground off Rio Villa, now Harbor Belle RV Resort?
  47. 47. Charlotte Harbor Bridge Barron Collier Bridge The changing face of Punta Gorda Howard Johnson’sHoliday Inn This aerial view shows two waterfront hotels that were instrumental during the development of Punta Gorda Isles. Vernon Peeples called Punta Gorda Isles the most significant development in the city’s history. In the mid-twentieth century , seasonal vacationers coming to Punta Gorda began putting down roots by purchasing home sites. While they were selecting their lots, they stayed in these hotels.
  48. 48. Allegiant Era 2009 and beyond Allegiant Airlines became the exclusive commercial carrier at Punta Gorda Airport in 2009. 45 destination cities are served from Punta Gorda via Allegiant To cater to the flying visitors, Allegiant is building Sunseeker Resort on the bay front in Charlotte Harbor. Add photo of construction and proposed

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A presentation on where people lived during the frontier years and ongoing as Punta Gorda evolved over time.

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