May 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to the May Edition of my "Real Estate Resource" Newsletter.

Please check out my website to view my listings, search for property, or to enjoy one of my archived newsletters.

As always, I welcome your feedback and suggestions. 
Charlotte County History Quest!

The Charlotte County Historical Center is excited to announce a new ongoing program called History Quest! This educational treasure hunt is designed to encourage visitors to explore our local historic sites using questing and geocaching.
What is Questing?
A place-based, educational scavenger hunt with clues and questions designed to pass along knowledge about a location. Questing can cover small locations to large historic districts.​
What is Geocaching?
An outdoor treasure hunt using GPS devices. Participants use GPS coordinates to find a geocache (container) hidden at a specific location.

Some of the sites:
*A.C. Freeman House
*Buffalo Soldier 
*Charlotte County Historical Center
*Charlotte Harbor Pioneers​
*Hickory Bluff Cemetery
​​*History House
*Marking Punta Gorda History
*Pioneering Luxury  

Check out more here:


AC Freeman House

On the corner of Booth Street and Marion Avenue once stood a Victorian-style home built by Augustus C. Freeman in 1903. At various times, Freeman served as City tax collector, a councilman, mayor, a DeSoto county commissioner, and was Sheriff of DeSoto County from 1905 to 1913 (Charlotte County was not formed until 1921). In 1985 the house was relocated to 639 East Hargreaves and later moved again to the corner of Cross Street (southbound U.S. 41) and Retta Esplanade in Punta Gorda where it is currently open as a museum and office for Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce

Did You Know?
Punta Gorda Isles Beginnings
Fly over Punta Gorda and what stands out are the 57.5 miles of canals that were carved out of the mangrove swamps. Al Johns, Bud Cole, and Sam Burchers purchased 550 Acres at Punta Gorda Point in 1957. Johns and Coles laid out 55 miles of canals 100 feet wide and 17 feet deep. Dredged sand was piled up on the flats to raise the level of land four feet. This provided dry home sites with access to the harbor and gulf. Home owners were able to keep their boats in their back yards. PGI lots originally sold for $5,000, and homes for $32,000.
On the company's tenth anniversary, in 1968, Bud Cole wrote a short history of PGI titled "How It All Started." One can not get closer to the facts:
* * *
"For myself, Punta Gorda Isles is not a thing, but an experience --- the bare beginning of which, I suppose, stretches back to a day in the summer of 1950. It was hot, and I was flying as a passenger in a "gooney bird" that was just setting down on a little island in sight of the China coast.

We taxied to a stop on the dirt runway, and I alighted to be greeted by a cloud of red dust. The center of this red tornado, it soon appeared, was occupied by an extremely disreputable jeep driven by an even more disreputable, mustached, native Chinese pirate.

I piled into the jeep and discovered on the ride to our quarters that under the layers of grime, behind the wild eyes, and past the inscrutable countenance, an ugly American was lurking. His name, it turned out, was Al Johns.

Al and I assisted the Government in various unlikely projects for three years or so before returning to the States. A few months after my arrival in the Far East, Sam Burchers (another ex-CIA agent) appeared on the scene, and the three of us became close friends. The mid-50's found me, Al, and Bob Barbee, a schoolmate and friend of Al's, in Fort Lauderdale learning to be "land development businessmen" from, perhaps, the most successful developer of prime waterfront property in the country --- James Stone Hunt of Coral Ridge properties.

We experimented with this newly won knowledge on a small sub- division in Fort Lauderdale and then a larger one in North Miami Beach. By 1957, we were involved in waterfront development of 300 lots on Biscayne Bay in Coral Gables. Sam Burchers had come back from directing a motion picture in Mexico and joined us. We were four happy bachelors in the big city. At a conference with James Buchanan, then board chairman of General Development Corporation, the plans for Port Charlotte were unrolled. This was the first mention of the city of Punta Gorda. I had never heard of it, while Al risked the statement that it meant "something big" in Spanish.

What with big things brewing on the west coast of Florida, Bob and Al took a sight-seeing trip by plane and promptly fell in love with the Punta Gorda "point."

The idea of the second largest harbor on the entire Gulf of Mexico, a county with more shore line than any other in the state, and a 100-square-mile public hunting preserve was awful strong medicine. The clincher was an unrivaled location --- protected, secluded, and yet immediately available to the outside world.

Bud was dragged over by car and shown the view of the point from the bridge. He was told that "you can't exactly get there from here; but it sure is pretty and we better buy it." Bud and Sam agreed. With considerable help and understanding from the owners, Gerald Moody of Greenfuel Gas Company of Fort Myers; and George Sanders, owner of Edison Mall; title of the first 550 acres passed to Punta Gorda Isles, Inc., on the last day of the year 1957.

One local wag, when he heard that the mangrove swamp with its millions of fiddler crabs was to become a beautiful subdivision with canals throughout made a sage observation, "They must be out of their minds." Several others thought so as well. Fortunately W.T. Price, of Price Dredging Corporation and also president of Coconut Grove Bank, had faith that the young corporation could make the subdivision go. He backed up his belief with credit in the form of earth moving and road building.

At about this point, unmistakable Italian gentleman came chugging down the pike in a 1934 Plymouth automobile minus two hub caps, from the big, cold city, looking for sunshine and clean air. John Matarese had no previous experience in anything related to the land development business. He knew what he wanted and was not afraid of hard work.

He stated from the first day that he would have a house, boat and family in Punta Gorda Isles one day. Though it seemed unlikely at the time, John made it happen and contributed to the success of the venture in so doing. The first four homes were constructed on the west shore of what is the basin behind the office (now the Isles Yacht Club). These were Scholtz package homes. A temporary sales offices --- which is now the maintenance building located on another site --- served as company headquarters. In early '58, an office had been built on U.S. 41 in Charlotte Harbor, on the north side of the bridge. Prospective buyers were taken by boat to view, from the water, the future Punta Gorda Isles. the building was soon sold, however, and is now occupied by the Sea Horse Marina.

The first three homes to be occupied in Punta Gorda Isles were the Wilder house adjacent to the tennis courts, the Ettenger home and the Cole residence on Donna Court.

The understanding of the local people, in public life and out, made the project possible.

The building of the Isles has been a stimulating experience shared by many; and, I truly believe, the best is yet to come...."
Quick Access to Charlotte Harbor-Punta Gorda Isles 3/2 Pool Home 1133 Treasure Cay Punta Gorda, FL 33950
QUICK ACCESS TO CHARLOTTE HARBOR WITH 95 FEET OF CONCRETE SEAWALL, CONCRETE DOCK AND 10,000LB BOAT LIFT! Located in Punta Gorda Isles which is the premier community of Punta Gorda, offering a true downtown with the top restaurants, shopping at Fisherman’s village, beautiful parks on the Harbor, walking trails, golf and easy access to airports and beaches. With over 2,400 sq ft, this 3 bedroom 2 bathroom home is your piece of Florida paradise. Open concept with bright natural light fills home. Living room has large sliders overlooking the patio. Kitchen is large with breakfast bar and new stainless steel refrigerator. Laying in your master suite you can wake up to the views of the tropical foliage and your heated pool or take a dip in the hot tub. Bedrooms 2 and 3 are spacious and are ready for guests or to be used as office with built-ins already in place. Covered lanai seating with a walk up bar to the kitchen will be great for entertaining all year long. Stroll down your path and fish for snook right off your dock or jump on your boat and be on the Charlotte Harbor in moments. Don’t let this one pass you by!

MLS: C7400828
Heated Square Feet: 2,448
Listing price: $562,000
16+ Gorgeous Acres
SW Cypress Bend Ave. Arcadia, FL 34269
16.84 +/- Gorgeous Acres situated adjacent to the Sunnybreeze Golf course in Desoto County. This parcel provides adequate privacy with ample space to build your dream home. This cleared parcel has convenient access to a newly upgraded public boat ramp with access onto the Peace River. Only minutes to Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and I75. Come bring your horses and build your dream home on this beautiful piece of land!

MLS: C7401036
Total Acres: 16.84
Listing price: $278,000
3 Lots Available!!
5+ Acre Tracts off Kings Hwy
SW Albritton Rd. Arcadia, FL 34266

Highly Desired 5 Acre Property off of Kings Hwy!! Offering a quiet and private setting this is the ideal building site for your dream home with plenty of space for a barn, pond, or animals. Located right off Kings Highway (State Road 769) with quick access to Port Charlotte, Interstate 75, or to the downtown Arcadia area. Sarasota and Gulf Beaches also within close proximity. This beautiful property won’t last long!! *FINANCING AVAILABLE** Seller also has additional adjoining parcels available for sale as well.

MLS: C7400543, C7400688, C7400685
Total Acres: 5.00
Listing price per Parcel: $75,000
9.95 Acres on Hwy 70 in the Growth Corridor of DeSoto County
SE Hwy 70. Arcadia, FL 34266
9.95 Acres zoned Industrial Light. An ideal location to start your light manufacturing or processing business. The IL zoning offers MANY other options as well. This property is located in business friendly Desoto County and has approx. 300 feet of Hwy 70 frontage. Located in growing business corridor with Walmart, Chili’s, Publix, Walgreens and DeSoto Automall close by.

MLS: C7400845
Total Acres: 9.95
Listing price: $250,000
About Walt Bethel
Walt Bethel is a fifth generation Floridian, born and raised in Arcadia, with a vast knowledge of all areas of Florida Real Estate and an ardent appreciation for Florida history.  
The purchase and development of his first orange grove when he was just sixteen years old fueled Walt's passion for real estate.  
Since then, he has bought, owned, and sold a wide variety of properties throughout a successful business career. His investments have included acreage, agricultural properties, residential homes, condos, and commercial properties. 
Walt's marketing and sales experience was cultivated over time at his family's business, Bethel Farms, where he marketed, managed, and sold products to "Big Box" retailers across the Southeastern and Midwestern United States.
From an early age, Walt's dad instilled in him the values to work hard and always have a goal, to look for a better way of doing things, and to constantly improve on them.  
The daily implementation of these principles, coupled with his enjoyment of networking with new people and his experience in business, sales, and marketing, have contributed to Walt's success as a Realtor.
 Walt has served on various boards and committees throughout the years. He has coached and actively supports local youth athletic programs and leagues. 
He and his wife Jill, also a fourth generation Floridian, reside in Punta Gorda. They have two children, a daughter Peyton and a son Truman.
Walt Bethel | RE/MAX Harbor Realty| 863.990.1748 ||