Punta Gorda’s Most Famous Ghost is a Teen-Age Girl

Leah Sandlin painted by Christiane Belle Tremblay

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

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

Pregnant Postal Worker Killed in the Street

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