Punta Gorda Chamber Guide 2022

Punta Gorda Chamber Guide 2022

2022 Members and Visitors Guide for the Punta Gorda Area

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Page 112 2022 Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce Members & Visitors Guide PLACIDA BUNK HOUSE The Placida Bunk House was built about 1907 by the Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railroad to house their employees. The line was laid to transport phosphate to docks at South Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island. Several families called the building home, as railroad transportation encouraged early settlement of the Placida area. Over the years, it has been the site of a local school, post office, and meeting place for a local church. It is linked with several longtime families who established the community here in the 1900s. This landmark was moved to its present location onto county-owned land along the Cape Haze Pioneer Trail, to protect it from demolition during the Coral Creek bridge realignment. It was originally located on the eastern side of the railroad bed in Placida. 1688 Gasparilla Road, Port Charlotte PUNTA GORDA ARMY AIR FIELD In May 1942, the Army Air Corps chose this site for the Punta Gorda Army Air Field (PGAAF). The Army Air Corps activated PGAAF on December 11, 1943 with a mission to train pilots for overseas duty. The first student pilots arrived in February 1944. This includ- ed the 490th Fighter Squadron and the 502nd Fighter-Bomber Squadron. Over 750 student pilots completed 15 weeks of training at the base. The base had 61 service buildings in- cluding hangars, repair shops, chapel, theater, mess hall and classrooms. Personnel lived in 268 "hutments" consisting of wooden lower halves and canvas tops. PGAAF contrib- uted to the victory in World War II and was deactivated on September 1, 1945, one day before the official surrender of Japan. Today the Punta Gorda Airport serves our community through both private and commercial aviation. Punta Gorda Airport, 28000 Airport Rd, Punta Gorda PUNTA GORDA BANK The Punta Gorda Bank was operating by June 1894 as a branch of the State Bank of Fort Meade. It was chartered by the state as a separate bank in July 1899, with a capital of $15,000 and Perry Wadsworth McAdow as president. McAdow had earned a fortune as the owner of the Spotted Horse gold mines in Fergus County, Montana, and relocated to Punta Gorda after vacationing here with his wife. McAdow constructed a one-story, brick fa├žade commercial building to house the bank. The Punta Gorda Bank occupied the corner storefront, with Earnest Dry Goods, the Punta Gorda Trading Company, Wade's Drug Store and a community social hall known as McAdow Hall filling the remainder of the building. The Punta Gorda Bank underwent some years of uncertainty, and on April 23, 1917 it was reorganized as the State Bank of Punta Gorda and was relocated to a new building. 312 West Marion Avenue, Punta Gorda SOUTHLAND TRAIL CEMETERY The Southland Trail Cemetery, believed to be a non-white cemetery, serves as the final resting place for an undisclosed number of leased convict laborers, blacks and possibly 18th century Spanish- Indian fishermen. The age of the cemetery is unknown; however locals refer to it as the "Convict Cemetery." The leasing of convicts continued until 1923 when Florida leg- islators banned the practice. The Southland Trail Cemetery lies near the site of the Weeks- Gurganious turpentine camp. It served as the camp's burial ground and as a cemetery for blacks until its last interment in 1966. 14516 McClellan Avenue, Port Charlotte Sun file photo The Placida Bunk House sits at the beginning of the Cape Haze Pioneer Trail. It was built in the early 1900s and was used to house railroad employees and their families.

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