Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Punta Gorda, Florida Follow up

ACL Punta Gorda Railroad Station  Front 

     The author previously composed a blog on the Punta Gorda Railroad Station.  At that time, the building was occupied by a small museum and  an antique store.

Door to White Waiting Room

     The depot was built in 1928 for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad  It replaced earlier depots built by the Florida Southern Railroad.  It is one of the 6 surviving Neo Spanish depots built for the Atlantic Coast Line.  Rail service ended to Punta Gorda in 1971. The building was purchased by Fred Babcock.  He donated it to the Punta Gorda Historical Society in 1996.

Door to Colored Waiting Room

Plaque acknowledging the donation of the ACL Building by the Fred Babcock Family

     In December 12, 1990, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Back Porch

     In 2021, the depot underwent a renovation of its exterior costing.  $344, 729. 

     The antique store no longer occupies the former freight portion of the terminal.  In its place is an upscale coffee house.   It features the finest options of coffee,tea, Kava and elixir. It is Punta Gorda’s only Kava Bar. Its name is Downtown Kava.    The managers are Ryan G. Desrosiers, Sarah E. Desrosiers, Tony Y. Nguyen.  The staff is friendly and helpful.

    There is a large bar, tables and couches.  Thre is an outdoor patio with tables and couches.

The following are pictures of the Downtown Kava.

Downtown Kava

Freight Door

Couch and Freight Door

Inside Downtown Kava

Downtown Kava

     The front of the terminal features a small museum.

The following pictures were taken of the museum.

Exhibits of the Museum

Station Ticket Window

Ticket Window and Historic Pictures on the wall

Picture of Marion Street Punta Gorda

Picture of Famous Guests at the Punta Gorda Hotel

Shipping Cattle to Cuba

Historic Sign

Lanier Family Punta Gorda

The Lanier Family

Same as above

Side of the Terminal

Side of the Terminal Note old railroad signal

Ticket Station

Same as above

Front of Station

Isaac H. Trabue, Founder of Town of Trabue, Florida (later to become Punta Gorda)

Historical Plaque

    Isaac H. Teague was born in 1829. During his life, he was a lawyer, a coal mine operator, a Union soldier (civil War) and a land developer. He married Virginia Scarborough Taylor of Savannah, Georgia.

     Isaac purchased land south of Charlotte Bay in 1883.  This land was registered as the town of Teague

     Isaac and Virginia moved to Florida in 1886 and lived in a cabin on the Peace River.  Isaac succeeded in convincing the Florida Southern Railroad to extend their line Trabue.

     Isaac’s life in Teague had its ups an downs. He was involved with a major dispute resulting  in the incorporation of Teague with the new name of Punta Gorda.  He lead the life of a practising attorney and a community leader.

     He departed Punta Gorda in 1907.

National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche

Great Cross of Our Lady of La Leche

     The National Shrine of Our Lady of LaLeche is a Catholic Marian Shrine.  It is located on the grounds of of the Nombre Dios Mission in Saint Augustine, Florida.  It was first built in 1609. It is the oldest shrine in the United States. It was elevated to national shrine status in 2019.

Great Cross

     Under the command of Pedro Menendez de Aviles and the spiritual leadership of Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, OFM, an expedition arrived in what was to be Florida in 1565. The priest celebrated the first mass in America. The mission Nombre de Dios was established.


     The Spanish settlers brought with them the Spanish devotion to Nuestra Senora de La Leche y Buen Parto. (Our Lady of the Milk and Good Delivery)

Informational Plaque Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche

     The original Shrine was built in 1609.  It was destroyed by British Invaders in 1728.  It was rebuilt in 1875.  The current Shrine was built in 1918.  It seats approximately 30 people.

Historic Plaque

Shrine of Our Lady of LaLeche

Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche

Memorial Marker for Victims of Abortion

Statue of Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza

West Orange Trail, Orange County Florida

Map of West Orange Trail

     The West Orange Trail is a 22 mile multi-use trail which is owned by Orange County, Florida Parks and Recreation Department.  It was completed in 1999. It is a paved trail which passes through downtown Oakland, Winter Garden and Apopka.  Most of the length of the trail is along abandoned railroad of right of way.

Sign West Orange Trail, Kill Killarney Station

     Along the course of the West Orange Trail, there are 4 stations.  Each of these has available parking, restrooms, bike racks and drinking fountains.  The stations are: Killarney Station near Oakland, Fl; Winter Garden Station located at 455 E. Plant Street; Chapin Street Station at 501 Crown Point Street, Winter Garden; Apopka Station 111 Forest Avenue.

West Orange Trail, Killarney Station

     The trail starts at Killarney Station (mile 0);  runs east past Oakland and then through downtown Winter Garden; it then turns north towards Apopka.

West Orange Trail, Bridge  Over Florida Turnpike  (Rehabilitated Railroad Bridge)

Winter Garden Station

West Orange Trail Apopka Station

President Hall of Hame.

Sign President Hall of Fame

Welcome Sign

    This facility dates back to the 1960’s.  It is located at 123 N.Highway 127 in Clermont, Florida. It opened originally as a wax museum.  The name was changed in the 1990’s to President Hall of Fame to reflect is growing exhibits.  

President Hall of Fame

     Outside, there is a replica of Mount Rushmore, the Lincoln Memorial, and one of the presidential limousine.

Replica of Lincoln Memorial

     Inside, there are wax figures of the current president and first lady. There is an animatronic figure of  Abraham Lincoln. Many original artifacts are on display such as White House China,champagne glasses.  There is a model of the Resolute Desk.  There is a re-creation of the Lincoln Bedroom.

Replica of Mount Rushmore a Portion of the presidential limousine is seen

     Throughout  there are multiple miniatures on display.  They were created by owners John and Jan Zweifel.  Best known miniature is a model of the White House.  This is seen in the facility and travels throughout the United States.

Old City Hall Toronto

Old City Hall Toronto

     Toronto Old City Hall for a time was the largest civic Building in North America.  It was Toronto’s third city hall.  For years, it housed Toronto’s municipal government offices, courts for York County.  From 1900 to 1953, the York County Offices were located in the building.

     The building was designed by Toronto Architect Edward James Lennon. Construction began in 1889 and was completed in 1899.  Construction costs were 2.5 million dollars. It was constructed of sandstone from Credit Valley River, Greystone from Orangeville, Ontario and brownstone from New Brunsick.  The building is seven stories high.  The style was Richardson Romanesque.

     A new modernist city hall was built as a replacement in 1965.  The old building is currently leased by the provincial government and is used as a courthouse for the Ontario Courthouse.

     In 2005,  the city of Toronto  spent 77 million dollars  to restore the exterior and the 103.6 meter clock tower. In 2012, 7.2 million dollars was spent for interior repairs.

CN Tower Toronto, Canada

CN Tower Toronto, Canada

CN Tower

The CN Tower is located at 290 Brenner Boulevard, Toronto. It is located in former railroad lands. It was originally built for the Canadian National Railroad. It is now owned by Canada Lands Company.

The architect of the project was WZMH Architects. The builders were Canadian Cement Company. Construction began in 1973. It was completed in 1976. Construction costs were $63,000,000.

The tower is 553.3 meters high.It was constructed with 40,500 m3 of concrete.

The CN Tower has several observation decks. There is a revolving restaurant. There is an entertainment complex.

The Tower is featured in the TV Series Private Eyes.

Casa Monica, Saint Augustine, Florida

Casa Monica Hotel

Casa Monica Hotel is a historic hotel located at 98 Cordova Street, Saint Augustine, Florida. It is one of the oldest in the United States. It is a member of the Historic Hotels of America in the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Casa Monica Hotel

Casa Monica Hotel opened in 1888.It was built by Franklin Smith. It was constructed of poured concrete. The architectural styles are Moorish Revival and Spanish Baroque.

Shortly after its opening, the hotel ran into financial difficulties and was sold to William Flagler for $325,000. It was renamed the Cordova Hotel. In 1902, a bridge was built over Cordova Street connecting the second floors of Cordova Hotel and the Alcazar. The Cordova was renamed the Alcazar.Annex. The two hotels were treated as one entity. They were closed during the Depression. The bridge was taken down in 1945.

Casa Monica Hotel

In 1962, Saint Johns County Commission voted to purchase Casa Monica for $250,000 for use as their courthouse. It underwent a 6 year renovation. It was dedicated as a courthousei in 1968 It was used foe the purpose until the 1990’s.

In February, 1997, Richard Kessler purchased the county courthouse for 1.2 million dollars. He remodeled the building and reopened as the Casa Monica Hotel. The Moorish Revival Style was preserved.

The Hotel currently operates as part of the Kessler Collection.