Jacob Wotitzky, a push-cart peddler from Czechoslovakia, revolutionized Florida frontier marketing by carrying merchandise to prospective customers by schooner. He heard of a new railroad (Florida Southern) that was building a new line further south than any in the country. That new rail line ended in Punta Gorda, then called the town of Trabue. Wotitzky was impressed with the future of the area and opened a general store.
This mural was based on a photograph that was taken about 1900 when the Wotitzky General Store was located on the site of the car wash at W. Marion Avenue and Sullivan Street.
The artists’ concept depicted an old photo album with the small black tabs on the photo corners that held photos in an album. The two partial photos shown in the mural were representative of two other local historic photos.
Original Mural: This was the third mural in Punta Gorda and was located on the south end of Hindman Insurance Agency. It was started on March 14, 1996 and was dedicated on April 10, 1996. Artist Gary Grindell of Alva, Florida was assisted by Molly Kelley of Ft. Myers. The original mural was destroyed by Hurricane “Charley” on August 13, 2004.
Recreation: This mural was re-created by local artist Clare Harvey on the east side of the WCI Prudential Realty Building, and again sponsored by the Wotitzky Family. It was dedicated in October 2008.