PUNTA GORDA — The Punta Gorda Historical Society has been awarded a $341,729 grant for the restoration and preservation of the Historic Train Depot, 1009 Taylor St.
The funds will be used to address issues at the train depot resulting from Hurricane Irma in August 2017.
The Historic Train Depot restoration and preservation project is being supported in part by the Emergency Supplemental Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund, which is administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, according to a PGHS press release.
“We are so fortunate to have been awarded this grant,” said PGHS President Margaret Bogardus. “Our mission is to protect our city’s historic properties.”
The Punta Gorda Train Depot, built in 1928, is the only survivor of six depots built by the Atlantic Coast Line.
The railroad's arrival in Punta Gorda in 1886 predated the connection of Fort Myers in 1912 and Naples in 1928 to the system.
The commercial fishing industry, the local trade sector and the hotel business in Punta Gorda are attributed to the railroad.
The Punta Gorda Depot was the third depot constructed in the town and reflects the continuous growth of the city through the Florida Land Boom period of the 1920s.
The building is unaltered and retains the details and character of the Mediterranean Revival style that have become a "trademark for the Florida Boom period," according to the release.
The Punta Gorda Train Depot played a significant role in the success of both the fishing and railroad industries in Punta Gorda from 1913 to 1939.
Without this facility, fish catches could not be shipped to northern markets. It is the only tangible link to the railroad industry left in Punta Gorda apart from actual railroad tracks and beds. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We anticipate the project from start to finish to take approximately 18 to 24 months,” said Sandy Moon, PGHS spokesperson.
Grant funds will be used for the preservation of the Punta Gorda Train Depot, including the roof, observation deck, rear patio, museum and closet area, retail store area, signalman’s deck, ticketing office area, and the bathrooms.
The funds will also be used for contractor’s and architectural fees.
Punta Gorda Historical Society, or Old Punta Gorda, is a 501(c)(3) privately funded nonprofit organization, working to preserve Punta Gorda’s historic homes and buildings.