Monday, February 17, 2020

Remnants of the Past Near the Punta Gorda Boat Club Clubhouse - Connection to the Consolidated Ice Plant

Research into one piece of history often leads to branches of  another piece.  And so it was in researching the history of the Punta Gorda Boat Clubhouse on the bay off Retta Esplanade.

If you wander into what is designated Shreve Park and meander to the back left of the Boat Club Clubhouse, you will discover large blocks of coquina-covered blocks.

We learned through research in newspapers, books and discussion with locals who were here in the 1950s that the blocks are remnants from the pilings where there was a fertilizer plant that stood here years ago.

The fertlizer plant was built on the bay in conjuction with the construction of the Consolidated Ice, Manufacturing, Refrigerated and Fish Company 3 blocks inland on Berry.  The Ice Building and the fertilizer plant were supposed to have worked together. Fertilizer was to be produced from fish remains.

Constructed in 1903 the ice factory was purported to be the second largest one in the country.  It containted three 150-ton ice machines and an electric light plan.  The ice was made from an artesian well nearby.  It had the capacity to freeze 50 tons of fish daily.  Unfortunately, it only opened for a very short while.

Recently a remnant from that plant was moved from where it was found to the linear park.  A sign was placed there commemorating it that will be dedicated this coming Thursday.

Research by Theresa Murtha

Pearse, Eleanor, Florida's Vanishing Era
Peeples, Vernon, Punta Gorda and the Charlotte Harbor Area
Vernon Peeples Collection Photographs and Documents, Punta Gorda History Center
Punta Gorda Herald, 1902-1903
Discussions with Frank Desguin and Gussie Baker

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