Explore the Rich History Surrounding West Villages, Starting With the Myakka River

The history of West Villages dates back to 2014, but before the community took root two ranches, Berry and Taylor, occupied more than 9,000 acres, where for 70 years the families grew citrus, watermelon, sod, hay and more, along with ranching cattle.

As you create your own memories at West Villages, don’t forget to explore the history around you—even what you’re standing on. Underneath all those resort-style amenities throughout West Villages, the soil, “myakka,” is actually Florida’s official state dirt.

“Myakka” derives from a Native American word meaning, “deep waters,” as in the river running through one of the state’s largest and oldest parks, virtually adjacent to West Villages. With 58 pristine square miles, the park is home to the designated “Florida Wild and Scenic River.”

Millions of years before Ponce de Leon landed at what’s now Port Charlotte in April 1513, mastodons and mammoths, saber-toothed cats and even camels roamed here.

Now, the West Villages habitat showcases nine distinctive neighborhoods whose design and environmental care have made the award-winning West Villages the nation’s fourth fastest-selling master-planned community. West Villages also ranks among the top five fastest-selling master-planned communities in the U.S.

Take some time to go back in time, from historic Venice and Port Charlotte to Punta Gorda and closer to home, North Port and Englewood. Here are a few must-do destinations:

Little Salt Spring Marker: Start here on your way to other sites. The North Port marker identifies the area as a “unique laboratory for the study of early humans and past environments,” where the remains of a nearby Indian village and other artifacts have dated back some 10,000 years.

Englewood: A 15-minute drive takes you to Englewood, with some 270 historical structures and 40 archeological sites. Landmarks include The Hermitage, Lemon Bay Woman’s Club, Historic Green Street Church, Indian Mound Park and the Lampp House. At the latter, visit the history room to do some research and perhaps chat with a veteran.

Military history: Speaking of those who served, Punta Gorda’s Military History Museum is a must. Filled with some 30,000 one-of-a-kind artifacts, the museum includes interactive galleries recalling conflicts from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror.

Historic Spanish Point: History repeats itself, so, yes, we’re back to the Spanish explorers. Considered one of Florida’s best living-history museums, the Osprey site is an archeological, historical and environmental treasure on a site dating back 5,000 years.

As you enjoy Life Your Way, learn more about the area’s rich history—and to learn more about a new home at West Villages, visiting West Villages’ Model Home Centers, listed here. Or call the Home Buyers Information Line at 941-960-7805.

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