Rotonda West …….. In The Beginning
How did this unique area begin and become the residential area it is of today.
If we look at the history of Florida it was in 1821 the Spanish handed Florida to the then President of the United States, James Munroe.
The Spanish such prolific invaders failed miserably in their attempts to tame this
diverse land. Simply beaten by the Indians, the heat, mosquitoes, snakes and other dangerous indigenous animals.
Finally in 1845 Florida became the 27th state of the union, Andrew Jackson became the first Governor and in fact he became the 7th President of the USA.
Florida largely remained the wild country it had always been until the early 1900’s and this was especially true of the south west coastal areas.
There were early settlers from Georgia and the Carolina’s seeking refuge from the impending civil war but many died and many returned home unable to endure the same hardships the Spanish had faced years before.
Florida belonged to the Indians, snakes and alligators. The most well known of the tribes was the Seminole Indians and they are still prevalent today. On a side note it is the Seminole tribes which have sole rights to gambling establishments in Florida today.
However Charlotte Harbour and surrounding areas were ruled by the Calusa tribe.
According to the history archives these Indians they had been in this area since 3500bc.
The Swamplands Act finally gave all the land to the State by decree. In Tallahassee, five trustees were appointed to sell the land off. So the first recorded sale of what is now Rotonda West was in 1885 and it was to the railroad company of Gainesville, Ocala and Charlotte which bought the land. As the deed was filed in Manatee County it then included Rotonda West and its surrounding acres. However in 1887 Manatee county was divided and so came about De Soto county where all land sales records were sent. Charlotte county simply did not exist then, it would be another 33 years before our county came into being.
Before 1951, Rotonda West and the surrounding land was sold in small parcels and was owned in the main by the Morse Realty company. Then came along Alfred and William Vanderbilt who acquired 26,000 acres and started a cattle ranch and instigated a fresh water plant at Cape Haze. For 18 years the area remained under their ownership they finally sold in 1969 to the Cavanagh Leasing Corporation for the princely sum of $19 million.
In January 1970 a surveyor placed a stake in the middle of the 5 million gallon reservoir and declared this was the centre of a new planned community - Rotonda West was born. The first residents moved in, in 1971 to this unique area which now is home to many full time residents as well as overseas vacation home owners.
Rotonda West is the largest Home Owners Association in North America.
So come visit this unique area I do not think it will dis-appoint.