This mural captures the history behind the “Bayshore Lodge” that once stood along the harbor of Punta Gorda where the PG Waterfront Hotel & Suites is today. Originally the McAdow house, it was built in 1897 and was the largest and finest home in town and occupied the most beautiful location in all of Punta Gorda. In 1946 it became the BayShore Lodge welcoming guests from the north.
Perry McAdow, a wealthy mid-westerner, visited Punta Gorda in 1896 staying at the Hotel Punta Gorda. He decided to make this his new home and worked out a deal with the City Council to build a home in Harvey Park (between Harvey and Cross Streets) with the agreement that it would revert back to the city upon his death. The house was completed in 1897 and was 2 1/2 stories, 60 x 45 feet with large verandas and was said to have cost $10,000. Perry brought his new wife, Marian, to Punta Gorda in the winter of 1897 and they took up residence in the new home.
Marian was a student of tropical horticulture and traveled the world searching for tropical trees and plants for their home. She planted the Banyan tree that still stands behind the Hotel on Retta Esplanade. She also planted an Ear Tree, also known as a Monkey or Elephant Ear, sapling that she brought back from her world travels in 1898 near the house.
In 1946 Joseph Redinger bought the property and began extensive renovation. He divided the spacious rooms into 12 more, added bathrooms, a bigger kitchen, and dining room and operated the home as the Bayshore Lodge until 1961. The dining room was said to be the largest in Punta Gorda and could serve 300 guests.
Redinger sold the Lodge to Ralph Amberg in 1958. His son, David, remembers living there as a boy with his bedroom window overlooking the now giant Ear tree. The mural is based on a photograph of the Lodge at that time. The Bayshore Lodge sign on the left features David’s mother and grandparents, again based on an old photograph from the 1960’s.
In 1966 Fred Babcock purchased the Lodge, cleared the site and built the Holiday Inn. The Ear tree was left but died in 1973 after being struck by lightning.
Babcock being a timber expert and conservationist recalled a newspaper report about Peter Wolf Toth’s carving in Deland. He contacted the sculptor and persuaded him to carve a second Whispering Giant in Florida for a commission of $10,000. Toth tarried four months at Punta Gorda in 1974 to carve the 30’ giant image of two American Indians – one male and one maiden. He named this carving “Calostimucu” to honor the tribes of the Calusa and Timucua tribes and is featured on the rightmost panel of this mural.
This mural was completed in 2016 and dedicated on August 25, 2016.