Once upon a time, in a land where birds chirp, dolphins splash, and palm trees grow….
Fishermen’s Village has a long history beginning way back before the village was even built. Throughout time, the old docks have been upgraded countless times, and they have always bustled with activity. Once again Fishermen’s Village is about to make improvements under new ownership. Fishermen’s Village has transformed throughout history and is preparing for an even further enhanced future!
Long ago, back in the 1800’s, the pier was used to transport ice by railroad to the Charlotte Shrimp Fleet. With modern refrigeration, the docks, seawall, and train tracks no longer had any use, and were replaced. Soon The King Street pier packing houses, and plants, were built on the dock. As the fishing industry died, this dock gave way to the Barron Bridge, which was replaced with the present day Gilchrist Bridge. The Maud Street City Docks were built to replace the old pier. This is where Fishermen’s Village currently resides. The Punta Gorda Fishing Co. and the West Coast Fish Co. were reestablished on the dock, along with Gulf Coast Oil Co. and Matt Week’ s Boat Shop. In 1939 a fire greatly suppressed the industries on the dock, and over the years the dock and the remaining building fell to despair. Earl Nightingale, a well-know radio commentator, found this pier in ruins in 1979. Nightingale, however, saw the dock as a perfect place to start a restaurant. That was just the beginning! Don Donelson, a local developer, saw not only the potential for Nightingale’s restaurant, but the need for apartments, a marina, tennis courts, and a mall. He also wanted Fishermen’s Village to be two stories, and constructed a plan for a roof that let light in and kept the rain out. He filled the entire dock with his ideas, and created Punta Gorda’s largest attraction. This is how Fishermen’s Village was born.
Currently, Fishermen’s Village is exactly how Nightingale imagined, but with a few updates. Nightingale’s restaurant is now The Captain’s Table. If you look out over the water at the Captain’s Table, you can see that the glass etchings in the window still say Nightingale. The Village Oyster Bar now sits where the Gulf Coast Oil Co. used to be located and the clay tennis courts occupy where Matt Week’s Boat Shop once was. Nightingale picked a prim location that overlooks the beautiful Charlotte Harbor. Fishermen’s Village is home to 47 timeshare villas, an award winning marina, unique shops, tennis courts, and even a swimming pool. Fishermen’s Village is continuing to make history, even in the present day, by being one of Punta Gorda’s most treasured landmarks.
Fishermen’s Village is once again about to go through another update. Phoenix-based Arciterra Group LLC recently bought Fishermen’s Village. The new owners plan to make some wonderful updates before the tourist season including: repaving and restriping the parking lot, adding new landscaping, and redesigning the mall’s entrance, among other improvements. Within the next year, Fishermen’s Village should have beautiful refurbished bathrooms and changes made to Center Court. Additionally, Arciterra focuses on retail, while the old owners concentrated on residential and office building investments. This means Fishermen’s Village is likely to see some improvements within the outdoor mall. Better yet, the village will keep all employees. At 32 years young, there are high hopes for Fishermen’s Village’s future.
Fishermen’s Village has always, and will continue to be, one of Punta Gorda’s most valued landmarks. To learn more about the history of Fishermen’s Village or the new ownership visit http://www.fishville.com or call 1-800-639-0020.