Technically speaking, the Victorian Era ended two years before the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce’s A.C. Freeman House was built in Punta Gorda in 1903. The Edwardian Era had kicked off, but that doesn’t mean our happy home is any less Victorian in grace and style. It is stately, beautiful … and was listed on The National Register of Historic Places in 1987. It is also in need of volunteers in THIS era.

How would you like to spend a few hours each week in this lovely setting? Volunteers are needed daily to welcome visitors, provide building tours, answer the phone, and — of course — promote our chamber business members. Many visitors aren’t aware of the benefits and activity of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce. They are eager to learn more about our members and the surrounding community.

The tour of the building is fascinating. Different facets of the home, including the separate kitchen, are of interest to different visitors. Some want to know more about the physical structure of the house, while others are more interested in the tragic history of the Freeman family. Most guests are astounded to know the entire house was moved not once, but twice, and has survived direct hits by hurricanes and numerous tropical storms. I explain that “back in the day” there were no codes needed. It was simply common sense to build a structure as strong as possible. I was told by an old home builder that the original Southwest Florida builders knew to hammer in “one nail for the house and one nail for the ‘Huracán.’”

If you or someone you know are interested in being a volunteer in THIS era, to talk about THAT era and the chamber, please contact me at the phone number or email address listed below. The only down side is, since it’s a historic home, it has stairs and one bathroom … upstairs.

Upcoming events

This is a busy week in Chamber Land. Be sure to tune in to News Radio 1580 WCCF at 9 a.m. Tuesday for the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce Radio Show. This month’s show will feature exciting details about the upcoming “9th Annual Hottest Business Day in Paradise Business EXPO” coming up on Thursday, Feb. 6. Feel free to call into the show with questions. (I might!)

Tuesday we will also all enjoy a ribbon-cutting event at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate Sifrit Sports Rehabilitation, 2905 Tamiami Trail, in Punta Gorda. Please join us for the refreshments and festivities, and to learn more about this great facility.

Wednesday is our monthly Third Wednesday Coffee at 7:15 a.m. in Punta Gorda at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center. Sponsoring the event this month is one of our 2020 Platinum Sustaining Partners — and THE Platinum Sponsor of the upcoming Business EXPO — Chapman Insurance. We will learn a little bit about the nonprofit Guardian Ad Litem Program, followed by a presentation from Charlotte County Community Development with a development update, and proposed changes to the local Flood Insurance Rate Maps. New members of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce will be introduced, and there will be plenty of time for business-to-business interaction.

Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. you will find “everyone who is anyone” in the business organization community at the Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, with the Tampa Bay Rays. We will be enjoying their Night of Networking with multiple agencies.

Back to the Freeman House

As a side-note to all potential Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce volunteers, the A.C. Freeman House is not haunted. (It’s been tested!) At least two paranormal activity crews have spent weekends in the house looking for “activity” but, alas, none was detected. (But just wait until next Halloween …)

Teri Ashley is the executive director of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce, with offices in both Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte. She can be reached at 941-639-2222 or at tashley@charlottecountychamber.org.

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