History of the Burnt Store Isles
The name of the “Burnt Store” Isles Subdivision is surrounded in myth. It is said to have evolved from an incident occurring during the 1850s - the burning of a Trading Post located on the road which is now Burnt Store Road. (Supposedly conflicts between the settlers and remaining Seminoles in the area led to the destruction of the trading post involving the Seminole leader Billy Bowleges, but local historians contend this is largely myth.) Nonetheless, sometime after the alleged burning of the store, the area and the road leading to it began to be referred to as “Burnt Store”.
The first known development of what became Burnt Store Isles took place in the 1920s. A wealthy industrialist, a Mr. Louis Calder, fell in love with Florida and the area along Alligator Creek near the city of Punta Gorda. He built a hunting and fishing lodge there, “The Allapatchee Lodge,” located on the land where the Burnt Store Villas are now, near the Twin Isles County Club golf course. Mr. Caldar, as part of a consortium of investors, also bought 550 acres along Alligator Creek. The investors were invited to stay at the lodge, which was luxurious for the times with thirty-six bedrooms and private baths with hot and cold running water. The dining room seated 125 guests. The lodge fell into disuse over the decades following the great depression and was ultimately burnt down in 1971 to make way for the development of Burnt Store Isles.
Some forty years after Mr. Calder’s venture, Al Johns and company (Punta Gorda Isles Inc.) started to develop Burnt Store Isles. It was in December, 1968, that Punta Gorda Isles Inc. first announced plans to build a new golf course section as part of PGI and in January 1969, that they purchased an additional 509 acres to start the development. On December 4, 1970 the Burnt Store Golf Club (now Twin isles County Club) was officially open. During the 1970s, Punta Gorda Isles Inc. began selling lots in what was PGI 15 many to foreign investors, but it wasn’t until 1979 that the first model homes were built. Then in 1980, according to the Charlotte County Appraiser’s office, the first homeowners in BSI, Thomas and Dorothy Leach, took possession of their newly built home on Port Bendres.
The Burnt Store Isles Association was conceived in 1983 by a group of then homeowners at a Christmas Party at the home of Mr. Ed Bryant. The first meeting of the nascent group was held on March 8, 1983 with 27 people present. Mr. Rex Peoples acted as temporary chairman at that meeting, during which Mr. Ray Hendron was elected as first President of the new BSI Association. At that time, all but about 200 lots had been sold, but actual homeowners were few. Both residents and vacant lot owners were welcomed into the Association which allowed it to grow quickly to 200 some members within a few short years.
Many of the early activities of the Association were organizational: preparation of By Laws and acceptance of responsibility for maintenance of deed restrictions. The early Association, learning that insurance was not available for sea wall failure, worked to create a special taxing district that would set aside reserves for sea wall repair. A newsletter was started with the first issue dated February, 1984. A tree planting program was started that helped create the lush, palm-tree lined streets of BSIA today. By 1987 over 900 trees had been planted.
During the 1990s the City introduced sidewalks on Monaco and Madrid making the neighborhood more walker-friendly. The BSI Anchor was installed at the Madrid entrance to the Community in 1993, to be followed by the lifting of the anchor on Monaco at the end of the 1990s.
In 2000, a new sign rose at the entrance of the community on Monaco in conjunction with the widening of the road. The Walgreen opened that year at the corner of 41 and Monaco. Meanwhile construction accelerated and membership in the association grew to over 500 during the housing boom of the early 2000s.
In 2003 the long fought for removal of the BSI lock finally occurred with great fanfare. In 2004, a major hurricane, Hurricane Charley, hit Punta Gorda, and neighbors pulled together to help each other out, sharing resources including generators, and cleaning up debris after the storm passed. Many residents of BSI joined the new Team Punta Gorda to work on the plan that was developed to restore and revitalize the City. In 2005, the Burnt Store Isles County Club was remodeled and renamed the Twin Isles County Club.
In 2013 the Burnt Store Isles Association celebrated its 30th Anniversary.
Burnt Store Isles Chronology:
1920s Allapatchee Lodge built on land that is now BSI
1970 The Burnt Store Golf Club officially opened
1971 Developer purchased land for the construction of Burnt Store Isles.
1980 First residents move into Burnt Store Isles
1983 Burnt Store Isles Association established under the laws of the State of Florida. The first budget was $500 and there were 37 paid members as of March 1983.
1984 By August 31, 1984 membership had increased to 217 paid member
1985 There were 136 various trees planted by the Special Projects Tree Committee.
1985 PGI, Inc., sold the Country Club to two hundred individuals who assumed ownership.
1986 On March 5th the City of Punta Gorda established the Burnt Store Isles Canal Maintenance District as petitioned by BSIA.
1986 As of May there were a total of 381 trees planted in BSI.
1987 As of May there were a total of 900 trees planted in BSI.
1988 Construction began on the shopping complex currently named “Colonial Promenade” and houses Publix and a number of other stores.
1988 Burnt Store isles Boat Club formed.
1992 In May of this year there were 334 BSIA members. Over 1000 trees had been planted.
1993 BSI anchor installed at the entrance of the Community on Madrid
1994 In January of this year there were 391 BSIA members with a proposed budget of $9337.
1994 The city completed sidewalks on Monaco and Madrid.
1995 After many years of work by many organizations, dredging of Alligator Creek is complete.
1990 Addition to Country Club clubhouse was completed.
1996 The BSI sign on Route 41 and Monaco is constructed.
2000 Country Club invests $2.2 million in course renovation and clubhouse modernization.
2000 There were 526 members of the association.
2000 The Monaco entrance is widened by the city and a new sign is placed in the third island.
2000 DEP approves the removal of the lock to Alligator Creek and a funding program is developed.
2000 The Walgreens Drug store was constructed at the corner of Monaco and Route 41.
2003 The Lock was removed from the entrance to Alligator Creek facilitating the movement of boats into Charlotte Harbor and beyond.
2004 Neighbors pulled together to help each other and restore the community after Hurricane Charley
2004 The Housing boom reached its peak with 170 some properties (lots, single homes and condos) selling that year not including the many new single family homes built.
2005 Burnt Store Isles County Club was remodeled and renamed Twin Isles County Club.
2008 A No Fishing Ordinance was passed at BSIA initiative to solve the problem of fishing on lots without permission of the owners.
2008 Sidewalks on Tripoli were completed greatly improving safety of residents
2013 As of April, there were over 900 single family homes in BSI, with over 300 vacant residential lots remaining, and over 200 condominium units and villas.
Compiled and written by Theresa Murtha, You Belong in Punta Gorda. All of the information provided, while considered reliable, is not guaranteed. This is a work in progress and will be updated as our research on the area continues. If you know significant events in the history of Burnt Store Isles that you think should be included in this history, please contact Theresa at firstname.lastname@example.org.