When the elected representatives of the new DeSoto County failed to follow the wishes and directives of the people who elected them, giving them appropriate representation in Tallahassee , it was time for a change.
The 100th Birthday of Charlotte County is not a celebration of the voters working for them, but the other way around. It is a reminder of the responsibility of the elected to listen to and work for the people who voted them into office.
On our 100th Birthday, we the residents can easily observe the failed decisions that now make it crucial to deal with our aging and poor infrastructure. We can also see that our historic buildings and historic districts are gone and forever. To quote our county historians, Lindsay Williams and U.S. Cleveland, our elected officials have successfully lost 42 Charlotte County towns to a suburban sprawl in only a few decades. It is never too late to take pride, to be Charlotte Proud and work to preserve or rich, diverse and extraordinary history. Or is it?
The Mott-Willis aka Knight-Willis Store was an important part of the early history of Charlotte Harbor Town. In 1993, the Board of Commissioners designated by ordinance the historic district. The Mott-Willis Store was designated a National Historic Place in 1997. A year late the County condemned the building and demolished it.
Charlotte County Commissioners posing at ground-breaking ceremony March 2019 for the building of Allegient Air's Sunseeker Resort on the site of historic Charlotte Harbor Town.
As far as the white settlers, the first pioneers who settled here after the Civil War, there were two early and important towns. Hickory Bluff, home of John T. Bartholf and Nathan Decoster. All historic buildings were demolished. The second, Charlotte Harbor Town avoided demolition until just recently. Murdock a very important cattle and economic center was sacrificed for a mall.
A comparison between the designation as National Historic Places and Landmarks in Charlotte County with those of our neighbor Sarasota County, founded the same year in 1921 can be very instructive. Pictured is the 1928 County Courthouse. Between 2005-2008, the Commissioners spent ^ million of our tax dollars to restore it. They never designated it as a registered National Historic Place. Of the only 17 Designated Historic Places, only 11 remain.
Pictured is Sarasota County's historic 1927 Courthouse. They bothered to have it registered as a National Historic Place. This and 96 others.
So, if you compare the two south Florida counties both having their centennials in 2021, Charlotte County has 11 compared to Sarasota's 96. Sarasota also has dozens of state and county designated historic places and they add to the number every year.
Years ago, all of the important historic building on the harbor in Punta Gorda were demolished to make way for redevelopment. Now the other side of the harbor will likewise be transformed. When visitors come during our centennial year, there will be little standing to show what life was like 100-150 years ago.