🇺🇸 Punta Gorda is a city in Charlotte County, Florida, United States. It is the county seat of Charlotte County and the only incorporated municipality in the county. Punta Gorda is the principal city of the Punta Gorda, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area and is also in the Sarasota-Bradenton-Punta Gorda Combined Statistical Area.
Punta Gorda was the scene of massive destruction after Charley, a Category 4 hurricane, came through the city on August 13, 2004. Charley was the strongest tropical system to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and the first hurricane since Hurricane Donna in 1960 to make a direct hit on Florida's south-west coast. In the immediate years following the storm, buildings were restored or built to hurricane-resistant building codes. The new buildings, restorations and amenities concurrently preserved the city's past while showcasing newer facilities. During this time, Laishley Park Municipal Marina was built and the Harborwalk, Linear Park and various trails were created throughout the city for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
Before the arrival of European explorers and settlers, the region centred on present-day Punta Gorda was home to the Calusa people. The name Punta Gorda ("Fat Point") has been on maps at least since 1851, referring to a point of land that juts into Charlotte Harbor, an estuary off the Gulf of Mexico. It was in the late 1800s that early white settlers began to arrive in what is the present-day Punta Gorda area.
Punta Gorda lies on the south bank of the tidal Peace River and the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor, an arm of the Gulf of Mexico. Unincorporated communities bordering Punta Gorda include Charlotte Park (nearly surrounded by the city), Solana to the east, and Charlotte Harbor to the north, across the Peace River. Port Charlotte is to the west of Punta Gorda's incorporated residential neighbourhoods Deep Creek and Suncoast Lakes, north of the Peace River. Harbour Heights lies to the east of Punta Gorda's Deep Creek residential neighbourhood.
Transportation U.S. Route 41, the Tamiami Trail, runs through the centre of the city, leading south 23 miles (37 km) to Fort Myers and north-west 30 miles (48 km) to Venice. The southern terminus of U.S. Route 17 is in the centre of Punta Gorda; the highway leads north-east 25 miles (40 km) to Arcadia and ultimately 1,206 miles (1,941 km) to its northern terminus in Winchester, Virginia. Interstate 75 bypasses Punta Gorda to the east, with access via U.S. 17 from Exit 164.
In 2010, over 90 percent of Punta Gorda commuters travelled by automobile, with about 81 percent driving alone and about nine percent car-pooling. According to the 2015 American Community Survey, about 88 percent of Punta Gorda commuters travelled by automobile, with about 78 percent driving alone and about ten percent car-pooling. About six percent worked out of the home, with about six percent of commuters travelling by all other modes of transportation.
Punta Gorda has a population of over 16,641 people. Punta Gorda also forms the centre of the wider Charlotte County which has a population of over 186,847 people.
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