Sadly, much of the record of Punta Gorda’s past has already been lost to hurricanes, flood, destruction or neglect. But thanks to local historian Vernon Peeples, with his passion for preserving what was here, there remains an extensive collection of notes, memorabilia, books and other materials that together represent a record of who and what we were are today, 125 years following the incorporation of Punta Gorda.
A major step toward the permanent preservation of Punta Gorda’s history took place recently at the Punta Gorda Woman’s Club as Vernon and Edna Jane Peeples formally donated their collection to the newly formed Punta Gorda History Center Inc. The signing of a gifting agreement culminates the first phase of work on establishing a center in the historic city.
Ed Webb, Frank Desquin and Gene Murtha PGHC members and supporters, witnessed the donation of the Peeples collection. COURTESY PHOTOS The idea of a center was initiated more than a year ago when Mr. Peeples asked TEAM Punta Gorda CEO Nancy Prafke for help in preserving his collection. The Punta Gorda History Center Inc. was then formed as a 501(3)(c) corporation.
Gene Murtha is the president of the organization. PGHC board members, many with long family ties to the area, include Bucky McQueen, Eddie Webb, Ed Wotizky, Helen Wrobel, Linda Wilson, John Chalifoux, Ed Uhland, Ron Norsell, Gussie Baker, Nancy Prafke, Chris Evans and Mr. Peeples. The board and volunteers developed a
strategic plan, identified alternative sites for temporary and permanent location and begun documenting the Peeples collection.
“I am very pleased with the work that has been done so far towards establishing a Punta Gorda History Center and the people involved in this project,” Mr. Peeples noted.
Mr. Murtha added that there are many other collections in Punta Gorda that will ultimately be part of the center. “Having the Peeples collection as the cornerstone of the center’s collections was mandatory in moving this project from concept to reality,” Mr. Murtha said.
Source: Florida Weekly, November 1, 2012 –