Frank Rigell, known as “Big Hank”, came to Punta Gorda in 1925 to manage the West Company Lumber & Supply Co. When the land boom ended, the lumber yard went into bankruptcy. Rigell bought the building and the remaining stock. At that time the railroad owned the land and rented it out.
Because most able bodied men were in the military during World War II, Rigell’s two daughters, Peggy (later Mrs. Victor Desguin) and Jean, worked at the lumber yard. Rigell Lumber & Supply Co. also operated the first concrete cement and block plant in the county. The raw materials of sacks of cement and sand had to be unloaded from train gondola cars by hand. A lot of building materials were shipped by barge from the Punta Gorda docks to the islands in Charlotte Harbor for new homes.
Brad Baldwin, together with the Desguin Family (grandchildren of the late Frank Rigell) all donated to this mural as a reminder of the contributions Rigell made to the local economy as owner of the Rigell Lumber & Supply Company. The mural illustrates the turn of the century lumber and building history of Charlotte County based on historic photographs.
The six panels depict: 1. construction of a church; 2. harvesting trees; 3. a sawmill; 4. unloading building materials by hand from a railroad siding; 5. women working during WWII; and 6. delivery of materials by train.
The mural was completed in 2001.