Punta Gorda, Florida

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Punta Gorda (pronounced /ˌpʌntə ˈɡɔrdə/) is a city in Charlotte County, Florida, United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau estimates of 2007, the city had a population of 16,762.[3] It is the county seat of Charlotte County[6] and the only incorporated municipality in the county. Punta Gorda is the principal city of the Punta Gorda, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area and of Sarasota-Bradenton-Punta Gorda Combined Statistical Area, which was first defined by OMB bulletin 07-01, released in December 2006.[7]

Punta Gorda was the scene of massive destruction after Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 hurricane, came through the city on August 13, 2004. Charley was the strongest tropical system to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.[8]

Contents

History

Punta Gorda occupies a point where the Peace River meets Charlotte Harbor.

The first settlers, the Howard brothers, came to Charlotte Harbor in the late 19th century, about a decade after the close of the American Civil War. The rate of growth in the area hasn’t changed much since then. Less than ten years after the first settlements in the area, railroads rolled into town, and with them came the first land developers and Southwest Florida’s first batch of tourists.

Punta Gorda became the southernmost stop on the South Florida Railroad, attracting the industries which propelled its initial growth. One man drawn to the area was George Brown, an African-American shipbuilder and landowner, who became one of Punta Gorda’s founding fathers.

In 1887, just 12 years after the first settlers trekked to Charlotte Harbor, 34 men, 4 of whom were African-American, met at Hector’s Billiard Parlor and Drugstore to discuss incorporation.

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