Fishermen’s Village stands on the site of the Maud Street City Docks which were built in 1928-29 to replace the old King Street pier. The King Street pier was home to the fish packing houses, or plants, that were integral to the fishing industry of the area. The old docks gave way to the Barron Collier bridge which was later replaced by the present bridge known as northbound Route 41.
There were as many as seven companies that operated these plants on the new pier, but by the mid 30’s there were only two who remained. These were the Punta Gorda Fish Co. and the West Coast Fish Co. The pier was also occupied by the Gulf Oil Co. who had a bulk storage facility located in a section of what is now our Village Courtyard. Across from this was Matt Week’s Boat Shop which had adjoining shore space for boat sheds and marine ways.
Each of the fish companies had a small fleet of “run boats” that made periodic trips down Charlotte Harbor fishing, carrying ice, supplies and fishermen returning to their fish camps. These camps consisted of stilt houses constructed in various locations in the harbor and coves along what is now the intracoastal waterway. Some still stand and are on the National Historic Registry. After these trips down the harbor were completed the boats returned to the dock to off-load their catch. The fish were sorted, packed in ice and shipped to northern markets.
In 1939, a fire destroyed the two large packing plants. The West Coast Fish Co. folded but the Punta Gorda Fish Co. continued to operate on a much smaller scale. In the mid 40’s, a small crab packing plant was built on the pier. Later this plant expanded to include shrimp which is still a tradition carried on by local shrimp boats.
The dock and remaining buildings fell into disrepair. In 1977, the city council felt this property could be better utilized. In 1980, Fishermen’s Village was constructed as an integral part of a historic community boasting waterfront shopping, dining, a resort and marina featuring boutiques, fishing charters, Charlotte Harbor boating excursions, boat rentals, villa vacation rentals, military heritage museum, live entertainment and special events.
Come visit and experience FISHERMEN’S VILLAGE, where something is always Happening on the Harbor!