True history is endlessly fascinating to me. I was researching the Dick Family for my next book when a headline of a newspaper caught my attention. It had nothing to do with the matter at hand, but what a story! It’s our own American version of Romeo and Juliet.
Ghost Stories of Punta Gorda is a collection of twenty spooky short stories involving real people, true events and actual locations of Charlotte Harbor. These entertaining tales are a fusion of history, folklore, personal experiences and imagination.
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On Sunday, June 23, 2019, we held a fund-raising event at The Women’s Club on Sullivan Street in downtown Punta Gorda. We screened the episode of Route 66 that was filmed in Punta Gorda in 1963. We provided attendees with a crossword puzzle and word search.
Below you’ll find the crossword puzzle and solution.
Below you’ll find the wordsearch puzzle and solution.
Read more about the show we screened:
If you’ve visited Indian Spring cemetery in Punta Gorda, FL, you’ve probably noticed the highly detailed tree trunk grave stones. These grave markers bear the words ‘Woodmen of the World’ and often feature other similar iconography. According to Waymarking.com “Many of these tree stump monuments stand four to five feet high and show sawed or broken limbs traditionally symbolizing a life cut short.”Continue reading
The most famous prostitute of Punta Gorda was Miss Ollie Brackett. Ollie ran a “disorderly, bawdy house of ill repute” at the west end of Marion Avenue – in those days it was known as the bad part of town. Miss Ollie served a few very select customers herself and managed her “stable” of seven “ponies” who handled the majority of the clientele.
Back in the day there were several brothels here in Punta Gorda. It was a rough pioneer town populated with scores of unmarried cattle men, fishermen, railroad workers and tradesmen. Besides the houses with red lights, there were houseboats of girls on call for fishermen located in what was known as Whore Bay.Continue reading
Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León came to what is now Punta Gorda on his second expedition in 1521 with 200 colonists. The Calusa attacked, and Juan took an arrow to his hip. His men tried to pull it out but only got the shaft, and the arrowhead remained in his body.
The entire expedition returned to their ships and headed back to their home base in Cuba. But, it was too late! Juan’s wound had become infected. Noble Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León is now honored by Punta Gorda with a plaque titled: “The First White Man Dies In America.”Continue reading
Max and Mary Price, first cousins, married in 1946 when Max was 73 and Mary was 79. Max has been credited with many accomplishments in Punta Gorda, including the design of the brown u-shaped House in History Park, but the research concludes it was actually Mary who owned the property and reconfigured the two homes into one home.
We know Punta Gordans love veterans but back in 1963 the TV show Route 66 told the world a different story in an episode titled Shadows of an Afternoon (season 3, episode 30).
We know Punta Gordans love our pets and back in 1963 the TV show Route 66 testified to the world how much we love them in an episode titled Shadows of an Afternoon (season 3, episode 30).
Marian McAdow and her best friend Sadie Farrington were known as The Lady Seers.
Perry McAdow was one of the founding citizens of Punta Gorda. He arrived in Punta Gorda in 1897 with his young new bride Marian.
Another Perry McAdow of the same era was a Thoroughbred race horse. Perry McAdow, the horse, is listed in the racing rosters in 1904 and raced until 1910. That’s a long career for a race horse.
We’ll probably never know who named this horse after Perry McAdow or why. Was Perry a friend of the horse’s owner? Continue reading
According to authors U.S. Cleveland and Lindsey Williams, Isaiah E. Cooper was convicted of Marshal Bowman’s assassination, but enough doubt existed that his scheduled execution was postponed three times, and ultimately when former Punta Gorda resident Albert Gilchrist was elected governor of Florida in 1908, he commuted Cooper’s death sentence to life in prison. Continue reading
The exact location of the Bowman family home has been a source of speculation for years. Some have claimed the family lived on Taylor St. in either 321 Taylor St (formerly Two Thrifty Girls) or Ana’s European Café buildings.
We cannot find any evidence to support these claims, particularly since these homes date from the 1920s, at least 15 years after Marshal Bowman’s assassination. Continue reading
Laura Bowman has been snubbed by other local historians. According to Lindsey Williams and U.S. Cleveland, after the assassination of her husband, Marshal John Bowman on January 29, 1903, “Mrs. Bowman moved to her mother’s home at Charlotte Harbor town and died two years later. The children were placed in the Arcadia Orphanage, and adopted.” After many sleepless nights worrying about the sad fate of the orphaned Bowman children, I initiated my own independent research. Continue reading
The Dick family’s short presence in Punta Gorda’s early history is a mystery.
Angie Larkin tellls of the Dick family arrival in her book In Old Punta Gorda. The Dick family came to Punta Gorda in 1884 by covered wagon from Texas. They spent their first night in what is now the parking lot of Punta Gorda Waterfront Hotel and Suites. However, they didn’t stay long. In the 1880 Census they resided in Chambers, TX and in the 1900 US Census they were in Galveston, TX. Continue reading
Mary Leah Sandlin’s story is legendary in Punta Gorda. The 14-year-old was ironing clothes on the front porch of her family home when she caught on fire. She leapt off the porch and ran down the street engulfed in propellant-fueled flames. Neighbors put out the fire but Leah succumbed to her massive injuries within three hours. It is said her ghost still haunts the historic family home on Retta Esplanade. Continue reading
In the book, Our Fascinating Past-Charlotte Harbor: Early Years, the authors interchange the alias Bucket of Blood and Bloody Bucket in reference to McGraw’s Place. It was a small gas station with a counter where motorists could buy a soda or candy. McGraw’s Place was located at the corner of Tamiami Trail and Acline Road by the railroad tracks, and had a reputation as a secret speakeasy where locals could procure alcohol during Prohibition. Continue reading
Kate “Sissie” Dick was an early resident of the new town of Punta Gorda. She came to Punta Gorda along with her parents, John and Amanda Dick, and her many siblings. The family traveled from Texas to Punta Gorda in a covered wagon.
Working Woman, Wife and Mother
Katie worked as the assistant postmaster and married Alfred Sloan on Halloween 1888 at the age of 22. The young couple moved to a home on Alligator Creek across from Indian Spring Cemetery. In 1889 they had their first daughter, Celia. Within two years of wedded bliss, Katie was pregnant with their second child. Continue reading
He “died in the Hotel Punta Gorda,” posted the Scranton Republican on January 23, 1894.
“Caldwell Colt was the richest bachelor in America and he was also the youngest capitalist … his age was only 35 and he leaves millions,” printed the Scranton Republican four days later.