July 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to the July Edition of my newsletter. Please feel free to reply with a comment. I am always looking to improve on the content for my subscribers.

Also, visit my website waltbethel.com to view my listings, search for properties, or to enjoy one of my archived newsletters and stories on Florida History.

Thank you,

Punta Gorda's "Whispering Giant"
Toth -a Hungarian refugee and former itinerant sculptor -- tarried four months at Punta Gorda in 1974 to carve the giant image of two American Indians. Folks flocked to watch progress.

He was in the early stage of a journey to create a statue of an Indian in every state. He called all his carvings “Whispering Giants.” They were intended as gifts of appreciation for his new homeland and as a statement about Native American culture. Local citizens provided food and shelter. Punta Gorda was his tenth location, with 43 to go. He had already carved one in Deland, Fla. After his visit here, local folks lost track of him. He had not yet become famous.

The Punta Gorda statue was commissioned by the late Fred Babcock. He was owner and winter- resident of the Crescent-B ranch in east Charlotte County and president of the Babcock Lumber Company headquartered at Pittsburgh.

He bought the 1890 McAdow estate on the waterfront and built a motel there. He contributed generously to the Visual Arts Center and donated the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad depot to the Punta Gorda Historical Society. Babcock set Toth on the road to fame and fortune with a commission of $10,000 for a second Florida statue.

The Punta Gorda statue is holding up well. Its sturdiness may be due to its dense wood similar to mahogany. It is the remnant of a “monkey pod” or “ear” tree imported from the Orient as a sapling by Marian McAdow in 1898. She was a young teacher at Chicago when she met Perry McAdow. He was twice her age, legs paralyzed and confined to a wheel chair as a result of an accident neither he nor his wife would discuss to others. The McAdows came to the old Hotel Punta Gorda for their honeymoon. They liked the climate and quaint fishing village so located there permanently.
Mrs. McAdow, daughter of a Michigan nursery farmer, surrounded their home with a botanical garden. She had friends in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They sent her tropical plants from around the world to test for propagation in the southern U.S.

Punta Gorda’s much photographed “banyan tree” (actually a giant fig) was a curiosity in Mrs. McAdow’s botanical garden -- now site of the Punta Gorda Waterfront Hotel.

Another of her exotic specimens was the ”monkey pod” or “ear” tree which grew to great size. It was killed by a lightning strike shortly before Babcock bought the McAdow estate in 1973 as a site for a motel.

Babcock, a timber expert and conservationist, noticed the dead tree and recalled a newspaper report about Toth’s Deland statue nearing completion. He contacted the sculptor and persuaded him to carve a second Whispering Giant in Florida for $10,000.

Babcock got his money’s worth – a “twofer.” The tree had grown two, main branches. Toth incorporated these into his sculpture.

He carved the face an Indian Brave on one side of the tree trunk and a Maiden on the other. From the big branches he fashioned “dreams” emerging from their heads.

Above the Brave he depicted a dying bison. Above the Maiden he carved an eagle struggling to become free.

None of the other Toth statues are as intricate and thought provoking. Fans of Toth and Native-Americans tour the carving sites to photograph them and compile a complete set of 67 Whispering Giants.
"Florida made conservation history by enacting a bill and securing $400 million in funding to help protect the state’s vast network of natural areas. "
Known as the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act, the legislation passed the Florida State Senate and House unanimously in late April. It was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis on the evening of June 29.

The act formally recognizes the existence of the Florida wildlife corridor, an interconnected web of green spaces throughout much of the state that includes forests, swamps, fields, pastures, timberlands, and even the edges of suburbs.
These areas are crucial for the existence of Florida’s rich wildlife, especially wide-ranging species such as Florida panthers, black bears, otters, alligators, and many types of birds. Habitat fragmentation, caused by roads and development, is one of the most critical but least recognized threats to biodiversity.

Along with the bill, the legislature has also earmarked $300 million toward protecting lands within the corridor, which can be used to fund conservation easements on private property or acquire land. That’s in addition to $100 million allocated generally to the main state’s land conservation program, called Florida Forever, which functions similarly, though over a slightly broader geographic area.

The act is also intended to protect agricultural lands from development, to provide for continued recreational access to natural areas, and to safeguard clean water and air. That’s vital in the third most populous state, where an average of nearly a thousand people move every day.
Punta Gorda Murals
Although guided Walking tours are put on hold, above is a link to take a walk through the Murals of Punta Gorda and a step into the rich history of Charlotte County.

Early Punta Gorda

Charlotte County’s early pioneer settlers were mainly homesteaders and cattlemen. They lived off the land and waters in an often- harsh environment. The hard-working men who tended cattle before barbed wire fences confined the animals were called “cow hunters,” paid about $1 a day. Cattle roamed freely on the land, where pine and cabbage palm hammocks provided ideal habitat for bears, wolves, panthers and razor-back hogs. Few roads existed, and the cattle drives created the early trails. Boats were vital for travel, and later the railroads connected the settlements with inland towns. Stores and businesses grew to supply the settlers, and some citrus and pineapple groves were established. Englewood was settled in the 1870s, and then Murdock, Placida and Southland. Logging operations and a railroad spur created Rouxville southeast of Punta Gorda, now part of the state preserve at Babcock Ranch. By the early 1900s, modern development was beginning.
Source: PG History
137+ Riverfront Acres
10531 SW Kissimmee Rd. Arcadia, FL 34269
Gorgeous, undisturbed "Old Florida" river front property for your private estate or recreational hunting and fishing retreat. Offering 137.84+ acres full of oak hammocks, cabbage palms, and pine trees with approx. 1,970 feet of frontage on the Peace River via the quiet inlet "Lettuce Lake." A county maintained public boat ramp is just around the corner. Property is fenced and includes 1,800 sf steel building. Less than 15 minutes to I-75, and just 45 minutes from Sarasota or Ft. Myers. A rare find with navigable waters to Charlotte Harbor.

Total Acres: 137.84
MLS: C7437985
Listing Price: $2,399,000
35+ Acres Zoned RMF-6 with Improvements
9881 Lettuce Lake Rd. Arcadia, FL 34269
35+/- Acres in DeSoto County less than 15 minutes to Interstate 75.This property is zoned RMF-6 allowing for a total of 211 units. Improvements have already been completed such as paved roadways, retention pond, curbing, fire hydrants and lift station. Previously approved development plans are available for review. Opportunity to be in a growing area located near the Peace River with river access 2 minutes away. This property is centrally located between both Kings Hwy and Hwy 17 with quick access to Arcadia, Port Charlotte, or Punta Gorda. Only 45 minutes to Sarasota and Fort Myers.

MLS: C7442469
Total Acres: 35.71
Listing price: $2,900,000
Ready to Build? Three 10 Acre Parcels
Martin Lane, Arcadia, FL 34266
10 Acres of desirable land is waiting for YOU! Offering a quiet and private setting, yet within minutes to Kings Hwy with convenient access into Arcadia, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda. Ideal building site for your dream home with plenty of space for a barn or animals. Zoning is A-10 which allows for agriculture and residential and NO deed restrictions.

Click below to find out more:

150 Acres off Washington Loop with Cabin
36551 Washington Loop Rd. Punta Gorda, FL 33982
150+ acres situated on Shell Creek in the highly sought after Washington Loop area of Charlotte County. Four parcels combine to form this ideal recreational property with 1 Bedroom/1 Bathroom Cabin, cook shack, and private dock with ramp. Encompassed by beautiful sloughs, old Florida Oak hammock’s and Saw Palmettos this is your perfect getaway. Property is located less than 15 minutes to Interstate 75 and downtown Punta Gorda and centrally located between Tampa and Naples. Bring the fishing poles, ATVs and enjoy!

Co-Listed with Lyn Bevis-RE/MAX Harbor
Total Acres: 150.50 Acres
Sold Price: $1,150,000
250+ Acres Recreational and Hunting Property
2251 Durrance St. Arcadia, FL
Sportsman's recreational paradise. ~250 Acres located off of Hwy 31 in Arcadia, FL offering an authentic Florida sanctuary. High fenced hunting preserve quality managed with Elk, Deer, Red Stag, Turkey and Hogs. Mature oak hammocks provide ideal habitat for the abundant wildlife. Joshua Creek flows on property year-round, and borders the north portion of the property. Come build your dream cabin and have a great place to gather with your hunting buddies or family. Property lays perfect for entertaining with ATV's, fishing, buggies or horse trail riding. Additionally, the property has access road, paved county road frontage, well, and power. The tract is perfectly located within one hour to Florida’s Gulf coast and less than 5 minutes to downtown Arcadia, but secluded enough for the avid recreational hunter. Actual acreage will be based on final survey.

MLS: C7440717
Co Listed with Mark Mizell-Landsouth Realty
Total Acres: 250
Sold price: $1,805,245
Three 5+ Acre Parcels
Liverpool Rd. Arcadia, FL 34266
Come build your dream home in the Sunnybreeze area of Desoto County. Only two minutes away from 2 public boat ramps with access onto the Peace River. Just a short drive into Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Arcadia or I-75. NO DEED RESTRICTIONS. Bring your animals and come build on this beautiful piece of land!
Total: 19.4 Acres
Sold Price: $349,200

Prairie Creek Estate on 10 Acres
2080 Sandy Pine Dr. Punta Gorda, FL 33982
Looking for the ideal country estate? Look no further! This 5 bedroom 4 bathroom is ready for you with all the upgrades! Located on 10+ prime acres in Prairie Creek Estates. The fenced drive welcomes you to the brick paved courtyard with huge 3 car garage. As you enter the spacious home you will appreciate the cathedral/vaulted ceilings with wood crown molding, a living room with built in shelving and gas fireplace, den, office, and a family room with another gas fireplace. Kitchen is a Chef's dream with top of the line stainless steel commercial appliances, walk-in pantry, breakfast nook, granite countertops, and solid Mahogany cabinets. Master suite overlooks the pool with zero radius sliders. The master bathroom has his and her vanities, dual entrance walk-in shower, and a relaxing, soaking tub. Entertain in the huge second floor recreational room with its own private balcony overlooking the two story screened lanai with gas heated pool and spa.. There is also a fifth bedroom/ bonus room on the second floor. Property is cross fenced and contains aerated pond, spacious barn with plenty of storage for your equipment, and pristine pastures perfect for your horses and animals. Prairie Creek is just a short drive to downtown Punta Gorda’s restaurants, shopping, and Charlotte Harbor.

MLS: C7437967
Total Acres: 10
Sold Price: $1,295,000
Two 10 Acre Groves DeSoto
NW Hwy 70 #20 Arcadia, FL 34266
Two 10 Acre parcel orange groves off Hwy 70 on the East side of Arcadia.

Total Acres: 20
Sold Price: $80,000

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 | wbethel@waltbethel.com| www.waltbethel.com