The Punta Gorda History Center is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the understanding of the history of Punta Gorda, Charlotte Harbor, and the surrounding area.  

The Center, located at 512 Grace Street in Punta Gorda, currently holds a large collection of documents, books, maps,  and more relevant to the history of Punta Gorda. There is also access within the Center to a growing collection of both physical and virtual clippings of articles and other materials on the history of the area. If you are a historian, student, researcher, writeror just interested in the history of Punta Gorda, the Center can provide you with a wealth of information. 

Vernon Peeples, who for over 70 years collected documents, photographs, postcards, maps, books and other materials related to the history of Punta Gorda,  donated his  collection to form the core of a History Center dedicated to preserving and providing students, researchers and the avidly curious with access to historical information about the Punta Gorda/Charlotte Harbor area.

With the volunteer assistance of many key interested citizens, the Punta Gorda History Center was incorporated and established as a 501c3 corporation in 2011. Over the course of the next few years several strategic planning sessions were held, and a roadmap for a center outlining its future direction was established, the Vernon and Edna Jane Peeples collection was inventoried, discussions were held with many other local history centers, experts in historical archiving were consulted, potential funding sources were identified.  At the same time, a location for the center was researched.   After years of work, in May of 2014, a lease was finally negotiated with Charlotte County for an ideal location in Punta Gorda near Charlotte High School.    After the building was refurbished for an archive, the Center  opened  there in 2017.

One of the most significant points that has emerged during the research and work on the Center is the number of private collections throughout the City, with many of those collectors now involved with the start-up of the Center.  It became clear that during this phase of our development that the only place the Center could be located was in Punta Gorda.   Although most of the historical material spans both Punta Gorda and Charlotte Harbor history, the Center itself must be within the City limits. 

The Center will ultimately contain a wealth of primary and secondary source materials in print, manuscript, audio-visual, and digital formats.  This will include books, periodicals, pamphlets, ephemera; newspapers and news clippings; maps; photographs and slides; microfilm and fiche, videos, DVDs, and recordings; posters and broadsides; archives and manuscripts; scrapbooks, oral histories and realia.  

The material will shed light on many aspects of Punta Gorda and Charlotte Harbor history: its geography and ecology; its politics and government, its businesses; and most importantly the lives of its people, those that settled, those that passed through, both the ordinary and extraordinary: explorers, entrepreneurs, frontiersmen, cattle barons, artists, politicians, tourists, and many, many others.

Join our journey.