Recent news touts the efforts of a Charlotte County group to attract a powerboat race to local waters in order to promote tourism. Most residents are not aware of the fact that Charlotte County and the Sun newspaper once played a historical role in just such a project.
In 1951, the Chamber of Commerce and its lone part-time employee wanted to create a new event to augment the county’s image as a cattle and fishing backwater. A committee was formed, including I. L. (Brownie) Brown, then editor-publisher of the Punta Gorda Herald, with the objective of attracting an American Power Boat Association event to Charlotte Harbor. The committee was given a budget of $1,200 for the project. APBA rules required a bona fide boat club as sponsor, so chamber president John Rose formed the Punta Gorda Boat Club, the same club that exists today on Retta Esplanade.
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