The city of Punta Gorda is a charming and historic waterfront town which traces its roots to a landing at Live Oak Point on the Peace River by Hernando DeSoto in 1539. The name itself means “Broad Point” in the language of the Conquistadors, and a colorful festival each year celebrates Ponce de Leon's Landing (1513) on Pine Island in Charlotte Harbor. Now more than 118 years old, Punta Gorda remains Charlotte County's incorporated city.
Early Spanish attempts to colonize the outer islands were stopped by Calusa Indian tribes, and the area was slowly settled as the English migrated by Charlotte harbor to the banks of the Peace River. In 1855, Col. Isaac Trabue from Kentucky bought the land from British investors and founded the town of Trabue. The name was never well-accepted, however, and reverted back to the Spanish version in 1887 upon incorporation.
This City of 16,697 is in the midst of a major community revitalization and beautification efforts. With historic preservation as a priority, Punta Gorda has secured State Historic District status. The city Streetscape program is restoring an old Florida atmosphere to central streets and has added brick lanes, street lamps, benches, brick planters and flower and shade trees. The residential areas feature many brick streets lined with huge royal palms and many old Florida-era tin-roofed homes with wide verandas.
Unique shops and restaurants are being added throughout town, expanding the fine reputation of Punta Gorda's charm. There are three elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. A hospital is also located in the community.