Woodmen of the World

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.”

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Miss Ollie Brackett’s Secret

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.

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Who Built the former Gilchrist Bed & Breakfast (aka the Price House) now located in History Park?

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.

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A Horse Named Perry McAdow

Perry McAdow of Punta Gorda

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

The Dick Family Mystery

John Monroe Dick was a gentleman farmer

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 1888 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

Why was McGraw’s Place known as the Bucket of Blood?

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