The Punta Gorda Historical Society, founded in 1983, is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the rich history of Punta Gorda, Florida. By saving historic buildings and other elements linked to the community's past, the Society not only provides connections to Punta Gorda's history, but suggests opportunities for its future.
2023 Officers and Board of Directors
President - Beth Magnin
Treasurer - Gary Butler
Board of Directors:
Judge William Fenmore Cooper of Cook County, Illinois donated the land to make it possible for the Punta Gorda Woman's Club to construct this building.
The Spanish mission style parapet, attenuated tiled loggia and triple arch entrance closely resemble the construction style of the Punta Gorda Train Depot. Both were built within several years of each other.
Forerunners to the formation of the Federated Woman's Club of Punta Gorda (1925) were the Fortnightly Literary Society (1896), the Married Ladies Social Club, and the Women's Civic Improvement Association (1911).
For more than 30 years the Punta Gorda Library was housed in this location. During World War II the building served as a USO and is currently on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2000, the Punta Gorda Woman's Club transferred the deed to the Punta Gorda Historical Society.
Traditions start here! Rent this building for your special event.
Call Sherra Simes at 941-639-1887 for rental information.
Historic Train Depot
The Punta Gorda Train Depot, built in 1928, is the sole survivor of the 6 depots built by the Atlantic Coast Line in Mediterranean Revival style.
The building which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was designed mainly to handle freight. The passenger area occupies a small portion of the northern end of the building. Separate ticket windows, waiting rooms and bathrooms reflect the segregation practiced at that time.
The building was obtained by the Punta Gorda Historical Society through the generosity of Fred Babcock.
At the bottom of this page, you can view photos from the recent restoration of this Historic building.
History Park - 501 Shreve Street
History Park was created out of the need to preserve some of the historical buildings that were being “lost” due to age and progress. Below are some of the events that occurred, thus resulting in the establishment of History Park.
The Hector House, which was located across Taylor Road from the Courthouse in Punta Gorda, was of historical interest. It was in this building that the papers were signed changing the name of the town from Trabue to Punta Gorda. When the building was purchased by an out-of-town buyer with the intent of renovating the façade, the City wanted to know the planned use of the building in addition to updating the plumbing and electric to “code”. The purchase that was planned, fell through and the building was slated for demolition.
Due to the historical significance of the Hector House, there was an attempt to “save the building.” The problem was that there was no place to which the building could be moved and relocated. It was demolished in 1988 and the area is today referred to as Hector House Plaza.
The Dewey, Trabue and Denham buildings were located on what is now 41 South. The Denham House set on the site where the Indian Statue is now placed. It was one of the first buildings seen when coming over the Baron Collier Bridge into Punta Gorda.
The Denham and Dewey houses were large, well-built houses with interesting architecture. They were comparable to the Freeman House. The Trabue building set between them. It was much smaller and unpretentious.
The Trabue Land Sales Office was moved to the corner of Marion and Nesbitt in 1991 and therefore was not involved in the events leading up to the establishment of the History Park.
The Denham House was built in 1902. Charles Denham was an early developer of Charlotte Harbor. The Dewey house was built in 1903. Albert F. Dewey was a ship’s Captain who ran his tug boat and several stern-wheel steamers on the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor.
In 1993, the Denham and Dewey Houses were slated for demolition. The houses were offered to the Punta Gorda Historical Society, the problem however as with the Hector House, was there was no place to relocate the houses.
PGHS did find one lot, allowing the relocation of one of the homes. However, the owner of the houses refused to allow only one house to be saved. Although there was a great deal of interest in saving the houses, the City refused to extend the time for money to be raised, both houses were demolished in November 1993.
In September 1993, the City Council had endorsed the offering of City property on Shreve Street as a relocation site for historic buildings in danger of being destroyed. This was approved in 1994. A lease for the property between the City and PGHS was inked on May 17, 1995.
Work did not begin in the Park until 1997. The History Park opened in 1999 as an outdoor museum consisting of a collection of historical structures in a garden setting. The Park hosts the Trabue Land Sales Office, the Cigar Worker's Cottage, The Price House, the Quednau-Hindman House, and the original town jail.
Trabue Land Sales Office
The Trabue Land Sales Office was built in 1886 by Isaac Trabue, founder of Punta gorda, as his law and land sales office. The little structure was also the first Post Office. It was moved to History Park in 2000. The Punta Gorda Historical Society's Hibiscus Artisan Shoppe is housed here featuring arts & crafts by 30 local artists and craftspeople.
The Cigar Cottage
The El Palmetto Cigar Co., established in the 1890's, built cottages around their factory for their workers. The cottages housed two families and did not have a kitchen. In October 1999, this cottage was the first historical building to be relocated to the History Park.
The Price House
Maxwell Price, an architect known for his church designs, joined two cottages together in 1914 to form the house as it appears today. The Searles family purchased the property in the 1990's and operated it as a bed and breakfast known as the Gilchrist B&B. It was moved to History Park in 2005.
Quednau Hindman House
The home of the Quednau - Hindman family was originally located at 220 Goldstein Street. Fred Quednau was a fisherman, cafe owner, Punta Gorda Mayor and County Sheriff. His daughter, Tosie Hindman, was Supervisor of Elections for Charlotte County of many years.
Our fountain formerly in Laishley Park was salvaged from the grounds of the Hotel Punta Gorda in 1925 by George Brown, owner of the Cleveland Marine Steam Ways. The fountain was relocated to the Punta Gorda History Park on Shreve Street.