In the mid-1950's, four men with varying back rounds became friends and began developing land on the east coast near Ft. Lauderdale. In 1957, Al Johns, Bud Cole, Sam Burchers and Bob Barbee were at a meeting with James Buchanan, then Chairman of the Board of General Development Corporation, where plans for Charlotte Harbor were unrolled.
Al and Bob were curious and took a sightseeing trip by plane and promptly fell in love with Punta Gorda "point". Cole was dragged over by car and told: “you can't exactly get there from here, but it's sure pretty and we better buy it." In 1957 the four men bought 550 acres from Gerald Moody and George Sanders. On the last day of the year, the title passed to Punta Gorda Isles Inc. In early 1958, an office had been built on US 41 in Charlotte Harbor and prospective buyers were taken by boat to view the future Punta Gorda Isles.
Sales were slow the first two years, but by the early 60’s, the future course of PGI was set. At the end of 1960, there were 30 homes. In 1962 people were complaining that there was nothing to do. Peter Bontsema went from house to house to form a shuffleboard league. Sixty people signed up and they played on two courts built by the Isles. In July 1962, a questionnaire was sent asking residents if they would like to form an association dedicated to "fun and happiness in the Isles". A variety of activities were proposed and 62 families joined. The dues were $3.00 per person. The Punta Gorda Civic Association was a reality and Peter Bontsema was the first President
By 1968, land purchases by Punta Gorda Isles Inc. totaled approximately 2300 acres. In December 1968, Punta Gorda Isles Inc. announced plans to build a new golf course section and in January 1969, they purchased an additional 509 acres. The company reported record sales and additional land acquisitions were made. PGI Inc. entered an agreement with the City of Punta Gorda that these additional lands would be annexed by the City.
Sales within PGI were slow at first but picked up as the economy grew. Through the 80's and early 90's sales tended to match the economic times. The current growth spurt can be traced back to 1996 when in a growing economy; Punta Gorda was named by Money Magazine as the "Second best place to live in America", and the "Number 1 small place to live in America". Since that time, Punta Gorda has received several more distinguished honors for its quality of life, anticipated appreciation of home values, and opportunities for employment and wage growth.