Blanchard House Museum, Punta Gorda

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The Blanchard House Museum is a historic home and African American museum located at 406 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Punta Gorda, Florida.
African Americans have played a significant role in Punta Gorda's history. About half of the city's founder were Black, and four Black people signed the papers incorporating the city.

Almost half of the city’s 15 original settlers were black, according to a press release from the Charlotte Harbor & The Gulf Islands Visitors Bureau. Four black people signed their names to the document that incorporated the city.
The building was constructed on Fitzhugh Avenue in 1925 by Joseph Blanchard, a former steamboat pilot. The Blanchard family retained ownership of the home until 1997, when it was purchased by local resident Bernice A. Russell. Russell intended to found a local Black history museum in the structure, but died in 1999. Russell's heirs donated the building to the Bernice A. Russell Community Development Corporation.
In 2002, the house was moved from Fitzhugh Avenue to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The location is the site of the long-demolished Gollman's Bar, a jook joint. The bar catered to Blacks and featured blues music, and was one of the few places where local African Americans could socialize publicly.
The Blanchard House Museum opened in 2004. The building was badly damaged by Hurricane Charley shortly after its openly, and did not reopen until February 2006.
Exhibits at the museum cover the African American and cultural history of Charlotte County, including political, civic and religious life; founding families; education; and the Civil Rights Movement. Artifacts on display include photos, newspaper clippings, family heirlooms, and books by black writers. The Blanchard House and Museum also serves as a community center, and its offerings include a book club, seminars on African American history and culture, and leadership classes.
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Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Very interesting and intimate museum focused on the early African-American citizens of Punta Gorda. While we were there we saw a really interesting exhibit on medical cures from early Africa on... 
    Very interesting and intimate museum focused on the early African-American citizens of Punta Gorda. While we were there we saw a really interesting exhibit on medical cures from early Africa on...  more »
  • Small museum with big message, I enjoyed learning the local Black history and contributions to our community. Especially enjoyed Learning about Lt Bailey, Punta Gorda's Tuskegee Airmen 
    Small museum with big message, I enjoyed learning the local Black history and contributions to our community. Especially enjoyed Learning about Lt Bailey, Punta Gorda's Tuskegee Airmen  more »
Google
  • A well preserve visual of the history of Africa Americans who experience and life shine through evening today.
  • Well preserved old home and museum with lots of local history.

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