Group Title: Charlotte Harbor, Fla. Letter from the secretary of war transmitting with a letter from the chief of engineers, reports of preliminary ex
Title: Charlotte Harbor, Fla. ; Letter from the secretary of war transmitting with a letter from the chief of engineers, reports of preliminary ...
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Title: Charlotte Harbor, Fla. ; Letter from the secretary of war transmitting with a letter from the chief of engineers, reports of preliminary ...
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Publisher: United States House of Representatives
Place of Publication: Washington, D. C.
Publication Date: February 25, 1925
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68THI CONGRESS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DOCUMENT
2d Session No. 657




CHARLOT.TE HARBOR, FLA.



LETTER
FROM

THE SECRETARY OF WAR
TRANSMITTING

WITH A LETTER FROM THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, REPORTS ON
PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION AND SURVEY OF CHARLOTTE
HARBOR, FLA., WITH A VIEW TO SECURING A CHANNEL OF
SUITABLE DIMENSIONS TO PUNTA GORDA


FEBRUARY 26, 1925.-Referred to the Committee on Rivers and Harbors and
ordered to be printed, with illustration

WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington, February 25, 1925.
The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
MY DEAR MR. SPEAKER: I am transmitting herewith a letter from
the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, of the 19th instant,
together with reports dated October 14, 1921, by Maj. Wm. C. Lemen,
Corps of Engineers, and November 24, 1924, with map, by Lieut. Col.
G. A. Youngberg, Corps of Engineers, on preliminary examination
and survey, respectively, of Charlotte Harbor, Fla., with a view to
securing a channel of suitable dimensions to Punta Gorda, authorized
by the river and harbor act approved June 5, 1920.
Sincerely yours,
JOHN W. WEEKS,
Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEP OF ENGINEERS,
Washington, February 19, 1925.
Subject: Preliminary examination and survey of Charlotte Harbor,
Fla.
To: The Secretary of War.
1. There are submitted herewith, for transmission to Congress,
reports dated October 14, 1921, by Maj. Wm. C. Lemen, Corps of





2 0IARLOTTE. Hi ARBOR, iVA.

Engineers, and November 24, 192 4, by Lieut. Col. G. A. Youngberg,
Corps of Engineers, ohi preiminary examination and survey, respec-
tively, of Charlotte HIr-bor, Fla., with a view to securing a channel
of suitable dimensions to Punta Gorda, authorized by the river and
harbor act approved June 5, 1920.
2. Punta Gorda lies on Peace River, an arm of Charlotte Harbor,
about 26 miles above the harbor entrance. The Government has
provided a 24-foot channel from the Gulf of Mexico to South Boca
Grande, just inside the entrance to Charlotte Harbor, and thence a
12-foot channel to Punta Gorda. The latter channel was dredged
about 25 years ago at an expense of $100,000. A wharf, which
formerly extended to the channel at its upper end, has since been
destroyed, and the channel, on which no recent maintenance work
has been done, has shoaled to a depth of 10 feet. Request is now made
that the channel be extended past an existing railroad wharf and to the
site of a contemplated new municipal wharf, and also that a channel
be dredged for 32 miles above Punta Gorda to the town of Cleveland.
3. The district engineer states that the present commerce pertain-
ing to Punta Gorda is about 13,000 tons annually, the principal items
being fish and ice. Although there is a 10-foot channel in the river,
the approach to the terminals is much shallower, so that traffic is
limited to light-draft boats and there is no coastwise commerce.
In the opinion of the district engineer, if the channel were extended
to the city waterfront and a municipal terminal built, coastwise
traffic with Tampa might develop. Its probable amount, under
existing conditions, is estimated as 22,000 tons annually, with a
corresponding freight saving of $47,000. He submits estimates for
channels 10 to 13 feet deep and 100 to 200 feet wide, varying from
$46,000 to $134,000. He considers that the prospective commerce
and general benefits justify the provision of a channel 10 feet deep
and 150 feet wide up to the new terminal site, at an estimated cost
of $54,000, with $5,000 annually for maintenance, provided that local
interests contribute 25 per cent of the first cost, not however, to
exceed $13,500, and agree to construct a suitable municipal wharf.
He does not believe justified any extension of the improved channel
upstream from Punta Gorda. The division engineer concurs.
4. These reports have been referred, as'required by law, to the
Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, and attention is invited
to its report herewith. The board feels that the district engineer's
estimates for a prospective coastwise commerce are unduly high,
and prefers to reduce them to a figure of 12,000 tons annually, with
corresponding savings of $28,000. It concurs in his view that a
10-foot depth would be adequate for the development of a small
coastwise commerce of the character anticipated, but considers a
100-foot width ample. The district engineer's estimate for a channel
of these dimensions is $46,000, but the board points out that $18,000
of this is for work in the existing channel, which may not be required
and which in any case is properly maintenance of the present project,
so that the amount chargeable to new work is $28,000. It considers
that the magnitude of the purely local benefits justifies the require-
ment of a 50 per cent local contribution to this sum. It recom-
mends a channel 10 feet deep and 100 feet wide along the lines pro-
posed by the district engineer, provided the locahty makes this
contribution and agrees to construct a terminal.






CHARLOTTE HARBOR, ILA.


5. After due consideration of the above-mentioned reports, I
concur in the views of the board. Punta Gorda is a small but
growing community, with a considerable territory behind it which is
developing rapidly along agricultural lines, and which has moderately
large stands of timber. An adequate channel would permit of the
building up of a coastwise commerce with Tampa of much the same
character as is now being carried on at Fort Myers, on the Caloosa-
hatchee River, some 20 miles to the south. The 10-foot depth now
prevailing in the channel already dredged by the Government is
adequate for the carriers of such traffic, but these can not approach
any of the existing terminals at Punta Gorda, nor is there in existence
a municipal terminal open to all on equal terms. The provision
of a connecting channel of the type requested would be likely to
result in a commerce of sufficient general interest to justify Federal
assistance. However, the considerable proportion of purely local
benefits makes it proper that the community cooperate in the first
cost of the work to the extent of 50 per cent, as proposed by the
board. I therefore recommend that the existing project for the
improvement of Charlotte Harbor, Fla., be modified so as to provide
for a channel 10 feet deep and 100 feet wide extending from the
upper end of the present 12-foot project channel to the new wharf
site near the county bridge, with a turning basin 200 feet square
at that point, along the general lines proposed by the district en-
gineer, at an estimated cost of $28,000, with $5,000 annually for
maintenance: Provided, That local interests contribute one-half of
the estimated first cost, and agree to construct a terminal in accord-
ance with plans to be approved by the Secretary of War and the
Chief of Engineers. The entire amount of the estimated cost to
the United States, $14,000, should be provided in a single appropri-
ation, and the local contribution made available at the same time.
H. TAYLOR,
Major General, Chief of Engineers.


REPORT OF THE BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS
SYLLABUS
The Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors recommends modification of
the existing project so as to provide for extending the channel to the new wharf
site near the county bridge; provided local interests assume half the first cost,
and agree to construct a wharf.
[Third endorsement]
BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS,
Washington, D. C., February 3, 1925.
The CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY:
1. The following is in review of the district engineer's reports on
preliminary examination and survey of Charlotte Harbor, Fla., with
a view to securing a channel of suitable dimensions to Punta Gorda,
authorized by the river and harbor act of June 5, 1920.
2. Charlotte Harbor is a large bay on the west coast of Florida,
about 70 miles from Tampa Bay and 150 miles from Key West.
Punta Gorda, which is on Peace River about 2 miles above its mouth,






CHARLOTTE ITARBOR, FLA.


is 26 miles from the entraniceto Charlotte Harbor. Under an existing
project a 24-foot cK.annoT has been provided between the Gulf of
Mexico and South Boca' Grande, at the mouth of the harbor. In
1899 a channel was dyedged through the bay and up the Peace
River to Punta Gorda, giving a depth-of 12 feet up to the municipal
wharf, since destroyed. This project has been completed and no
recent work done. The limiting depth in the channel is now 10
feet. The mean range of tide is 1.4 feet. Local interests now desire
the extension of the 12-foot channel to the railroad wharf and the
proposed site for a new municipal wharf; also a channel up Peace
River to a marine railway at Cleveland, about 312 miles above Punta
Gorda.
3. The 1923 commerce of Punta Gorda was 13,000 tons, the prin-
cipal items being fish, caught in Charlotte Harbor and carried to
Punta Gorda for packing and rail shipment, and ice carried from
Punta Gorda to phosphate vessels calling at South Boca Grande.
This traffic is of an internal character and is carried by small motor
boats and fishing craft. Due to the lack of deep water alongside the
terminals, there is no coastwise traffic.
4. The district engineer considers possible the development of such
a traffic. He states that the territory naturally tributary to Punta
Gorda is Charlotte County and the southern part of De Soto County,
in which considerable quantities of citrus fruits and other perishables,
and of lumber and naval stores, are available for shipment. Given
adequate water for small coastwise carriers, he believes that a com-
merce with Tampa could be built up. His estimate for the probable
annual tonnage is 22,000. The largest item is 10,000 tons of citrus
fruits and vegetables, which, he considers, might move by water to
Tampa for transfer to refrigerated vessels and coastwise movement
to northern points, provided such a service out of Tampa should be
developed. His estimate for annual savings on the total tonnage is
$47,000.
5. The district engineer submits estimates for channels from deep
water up to a proposed new terminal near the southern end of the
recently constructed highway bridge at Punta Gorda, with depths of
10 to 13 feet and widths of 100 to 200 feet. A 10-foot channel is
estimated at $46,000 or $54,000, according as a width of 100 or 150
feet is selected. For greater depths the cost varies up to $134,000.
The figures of $46,000 and $54,000 include however certain overdepth
dredging in the existing channel. Omitting this work, which may be
found unnecessary and is in any case of the nature of maintenance of
the existing project, the estimates for the 10-foot channels become
$28,000 and $36,000. These figures cover dredging up to the new
terminal site, with a turning basin 200 feet square at that point. A
10-foot channel would be adequate for the type of coastwise carrier
now calling at Fort Myers on the Caloosahatchee River, south of
Punta Gorda, and in the opinion of the district engineer would be a
satisfactory first step. A channel of 12 or 13 feet would be of materi-
ally greater service, but is not,he considers, as yet justified. Hebelieves
that a channel 10 feet deep and 150 feet wide, at an estimated cost of
$54,000, would be of sufficient general importance to justify its being
furnished by the Government, provided local interests contribute 25
per cent of the estimated first cost, not however to exceed $13,500,
and agree to build a satisfactory terminal. These conditions are






CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.


understood to be satisfactory to the locality. The district engineer
does not recommend any further work on the river above Punta
Gorda, believing the interests involved too local and limited to justify
the expenditure. The division engineer concurs in these recom-
mendations.
6. The board, at its first consideration of this case, was not con-
vinced of the necessity or advisability of the improvement, and so in-
formed interested parties. As a result a considerable amount of
additional data has been presented, in the light of which the report
has been twice revised.
7. Some years ago the United States expended $100,000 in dredging
a 12-foot channel to Punta Gorda, requiring no local cooperation
save the construction of a wharf. The wharf having been destroyed,
it is now asked that the channel, which at present has a limiting
depth of 10 feet, be extended to a new wharf site. Of the traffic
anticipated by the district engineer, the board is unable to accept the
item of citrus fruits and vetegables as sufficiently likely of attain-
ment to be given consideration, since it is based on a possible coast-
wise service of refrigerated boats out of Tampa that has never been
developed on any scale, and whose commercial practicability has
never been demonstrated. Eliminating this, there remains a possible
annual commerce of 12,000 tons, with an estimated annual saving of
$28,000. It is likely that a business of this character would develop,
as has been the case at Fort Myers on the Caloosahatchee River.
However, as much of the saving would accrue to the community of
Punta Gorda, a considerable measure of cooperation is proper. The
board concurs with the district engineer that a 10-foot depth will be
satisfactory for present purposes, but believes that 100 feet is an
adequate width. This reduces the first cost for new work to $28,000.
On a basis of 50 per cent cooperation, which is a reasonable measure
of the respective general and local benefits, the cash contribution of
the locality would be $14,000, only slightly in excess of the sum which
they previously agreed to furnish.
8. The board therefore recommends modification of the existing
project for the improvement of Charlotte Harbor, Fla., so as to provide
for a channel 10 feet deep and 100 feet wide extending from the end
of the present channel to the new wharf site near the county bridge,
with a turning basin 200 feet square at that point, at an estimated
cost of $28,000, with $5,000 annually for maintenance; provided
that local interests contribute one-half of the estimated first cost,
and agree to construct a terminal in accordance with plans to be
approved by the Secretary of War and the Chief of Engineers. The
entire amount of the estimated cost to the United States, $14,000,
should be provided in a single appropriation, and the local contribu-
tion made available at the same time.
9. In compliance with law, the board reports that except as con-
templated by the above recommendations, there are no questions of
terminal facilities, waterpower, or other subjects so related to the
project proposed that they may be coordinated therewith to lessen
the cost and compensate the Government for expenditures made in
the interests of navigation.
For the board:
EDGAR JADWIN,
Brigadier General, Corps of Engineers,
Senior Member of the Board.


5






CHARLOTT1E IHAR3BOt, ILA.

PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.
SYLLABUS
This waterway has an improved entrance with 24 feet of water at mean low
water and an improved chaifnel with 11.feet of water through the bay up to and
opposite the town of Pi nta Gorda. The entrance channel up to Boca Grande
terminals has been the subject of a favorable report for obtaining 27 feet at mean
low water. Due to this report, and for the further reason that local interests
have not requested consideration of this portion of Charlotte Harbor, the entrance
channel has not been discussed in this report. In the vicinity of Punta Gorda
the great widths and shallow depths of the waterway make the present improved
channel inaccessible, except by long expensive piers. .The district engineer con-
siders the extension of this channel approximately 2,000 feet worthy of consid-
eration and recommends a survey to determine the extent and advisability.
WAR DEPARTMENT,
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,
Jacksonville, Fla., October 14, 1921.
From: The District Engineer.
To: The Chief of Engineers, United States Army
(Through the Division Engineer)
Subject: Preliminary examination of Charlotte Harbor, Fla.
1. The following report on the above harbor is submitted in ac-
cordance with an item of the river and harbor act approved June 5,
1920, which reads as follows:
The Secretary of War is hereby authorized and directed to cause preliminary
examinations and surveys to be made at the following localities:
Charlotte Harbor, Fla., with a view to securing a channel of suitable dimensions
to Punta Gorda.
DESCRIPTION OF HARBOR AND TRIBUTARIES
2. Charlotte Harbor is a large bay on the west coast of Florida,
the entrance to which lies 70 miles south of the entrance to Tampa
Bay and 150 miles north of Key West. This bay offers the most
southerly deep water harbor on the wNest coast of the mainland of
Florida. From the entrance the harbor extends in an easterly direc-
tion about 11 miles, thence northeasterly about 11 miles. The width
of the bay is about 512 miles, and the total area is about 111 square
miles. Peace River enters its upper portion flowing from a north-
easterly direction and draining about 2,000 square miles of the State
of Florida. Three miles from the mouth of Peace River and located
upon its left or southern bank is the town of Punta Gorda. This
city, except for the terminals of the Charlotte Harbor & Northern
Railway Co. at Boca Grande, provides the only transfer or shipping
point on this body of water. Further, due to the fact that the above
railroad terminals are connected with the mainland through a rail-
road serving only the territory west of the harbor and Peace River,
the city of Punta Gorda is the natural transfer point for such local
freight as is produced by the territory lying to the eastward of Peace
River and Charlotte Harbor Bay, which is served mainly by the At-
lantic Coast Line Railroad. Besides Peace River, tributary to Char-
lotte Harbor, there are Pine Island Sound, Gasparilla Sound, and
Miakka River. Pine Island Sound is the connecting waterway to
San Carlos Bay and Caloosahatchee River, with a controlling depth
of 6 feet through an improved channel. Gasparilla Sound is a shal-






CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.


low'arm of Charlotte Harbor Bay extending northward to Lemon
Bay, and has been under consideration as an inside passage route
from Charlotte Harbor through Lemon Bay to Sarasota Bay.
Miakka Riteier empties into Charlotte Harbor about 6 miles below
Punta Gorda on the northwest shores of the bay. The lower portion,
about 10 miles, of this waterway forms an estuary of the main bay,
with depths varying from 15 to 22 feet at low water. It can not be
considered as navigable much above the 10-mile point nor as having
any tributary effect upon Charlotte Harbor proper.

PREVIOUS REPORTS

3. The following table gives reference to previous reports on the
improvement of Charlotte Harbor and Peace River. The latter river
may be said to be a part of Charlotte Harbor.

Report,
Docu- No. Con- Ses- Chief Page Remarks
ment gress sion of Engi- Page Remarks
neers

Preliminaryexamination of Char- -------- -------------- 1880 1100-1110 Favorable.'
lotte Harbor and Peace Creek,
Fla.
Survey between Liverpool and .-------------------------- 1888 1102-1107 Do.2
the mouth of Peace River, Fla.
Preliminary examination of-
Peace River ......----------. house ex. 241 51 2 1891 1646-1651 With map; favor-
able.a
Do ---------_ -------- House 70 66 1 ----------------- Unfavorable.
Charlotte Harbor, Fla- ----------- ------ 1885 1286 Do.4
Charlotte Harbor. and San -------------- ------- -----1887 1258-1259 Do.4
Carlos Bay.
Boca Grande and Charlotte _.------------.------------- 1900 2049-2054 Do.<
Harbor, Fla.
Charlotte Harbor, Fla ------ House__ 181 58 2 1904 1714-1718 Do.'
Do---------------- --do--..- 1 60 1 --------.----------- Do.'
Do---------------- ---_do----- 699 62 2 ------------------- Do.4
Do ------- ------ ------do- 121 63 1 .--------.--------- With map, un-
favorable.
Do .---------------.----.do _--- 113 66 1 -------- ---------- Favorable.

1 Favorable for limited navigation to Fort Ogden during 9 months in the year at an estimated cost of
$17,000.
2 Favorable for completion of project at estimated cost of $25,000.
SFavorable only for that portion below Fort Ogden.
SIncludes Peace River only from Punta Gorda to its mouth.

PUBLIC HEARING

4. A public hearing was held at Punta Gorda on April 21, 1921.
About 10 or 12 persons were present, all but 3 or 4 being merely
passive and apparently disinterested spectators. A letter 1 was read
by the secretary of the Punta Gorda Commercial Club covering, in
a measure, the desired information as enumerated in paragraph 4
of the notice 1 of public hearing. Various indefinite and hazy ideas
were at first presented as to the needs of river improvements for
Punta Gorda and vicinity. Before the meeting adjourned the fol-
lowing had been decided on as covering the improvements desired,
and it had been agreed that a supplemental report I would be made
by the Commercial Club covering the questions asked in the notice
of public hearing.

1 Not printed.


7-





CHARLOpTTrE HARBOR, FLA.


IMPROVEMENT DESIRED AND DISCUSSION
5. The gist of the requests for further improvement of the harbor
is as follows:
(a) That the present 12-foot channel be extended to the Atlantic Coast Line
Railway wharf, so as to provide physical connection between that railroad and
freight and passenger boats.
(b) To extend the present 12-foot channel eastward to the draw of the con-
crete highway bridge, now completed, and dredge an anchorage basin about
300 feet square adjacent to the bridge, where it is contemplated to construct a
municipal wharf.
(c) To extend the channel up Peace River about 4 miles to a settlement
called Cleveland for the purpose of enabling fishing smacks and other vessels.
of moderate size and draft to be hauled out and repaired on a marine railway
at that settlement.
6. Under past projects a channel 12 feet deep has been created
up to a point about opposite to the remains of the old municipal
pier, but approximately 3,300 feet offshore from it. At a distance
of about 1,800 feet up Peace River there has been constructed a
concrete highway bridge, with provisions along its downstream or
ebb tide side for the construction of a wharf, which is to take the place
of the now dilapidated municipal pier. The extension of the channel
requested is with a view to reaching this proposed wharf. The
Atlantic Coast Line pier, as indicated upon the map, is approximately
200 feet downstream from the concrete bridge, and the extension of
the channel to the bridge will pass within a reasonable distance of
this present railroad pier. The third request indicated as (c), namely,
the further extension of this channel to the town of Cleveland,
approximately 3 2 miles above the bridge, is for the purpose of reach-
ing a small marine railway existing at that point. In view of the
fact that Charlotte Harbor has apparently never been considered as
extending above the town of Punta Gorda, I do not believe that
consideration can be given to the extension of the channel above
the concrete bridge on Peace River under the present law calling
for this examination.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
7. Previous work.-A channel 300 feet wide and 24 feet deep at
mean low water from the Gulf of Mexico to Boca Grande just inside
the entrance was completed in 1913 and now has a controlling depth
of 24 feet at mean low water. A channel through the shoals in
Charlotte Harbor and up to and in front of the old municipal wharf
has been dredged with widths varying from 120 to 200 feet the main
part being the latter width. The present controlling depth in this
channel is approximately 11 feet. This latter dredging work was
done in about 1899 and 1900, and since that date no work has been
done in the way of maintenance upon this channel. The approxi-
mate depth in front of the present existing wharf is 6 feet. The
mean rise and fall of the tide at the bar at Boca Grande is nearly
2 feet and at Punta Gorda is 1.4 feet. There is a tidal current of
about 1.5 miles per hour in the harbor. Fluctuations of tidal rises
are noticeable, due to strong winds. No artificial obstructions,
such as bridges, exist across Charlotte Harbor until the upper limits
of the municipality of Punta Gorda are reached, and there has been
recently constructed at this point a concrete bridge with a swing
draw of 50 feet horizontal opening, with 10 feet vertical clearance
at low water, 8 feet at high water.





CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA


9


TERMINAL FACILITIES

8. At South Boca Grande is a wharf constructed on creosoted pine
piles where ships drawing 24 feet are moored while loading phos-
phate. A belt conveyor loading apparatus, capacity 300 tons per
hour, carries the phosphate from a 7,000-ton capacity storage bin
on the shore to the ships. This equipment belongs to the Charlotte
Harbor & Northern Railway. I was reliably informed that the con-
struction of an additional wharf with phosphate loading equipment
of greater capacity than the above will soon be started. As South
Boca Grande is used only by the Charlotte Harbor & Northern Rail-
way Co. for shipment of phosphate to domestic and foreign ports,
it can scarcely be designated as a secord-class harbor, notwithstand-
ing the nature of its commerce and existing depth. I would place
the lower part of Charlotte Harbor in class 3 and upper part in
class 4. At Punta Gorda are the Atlantic Coast Line Railway
wharf and a dilapidated municipal pier. The first is used for land-
ing, icing, and packing fish, and as a landing for small passenger
boats running southward from Punta Gorda; the second is used
only by tourist fishermen. The depth at the head of these wharves
is about 6 feet at mean low water. The total frontage on the Atlantic
Coast Line wharf is about 200 feet. The head of the municipal pier
has tumbled down.
9. It is the intention of the local municipality to construct on the
west or downstream side of the present highway bridge a municipal
wharf for the accommodation of local business, provided they can
obtain extension of the present channel to this wharf with depths
adequate to enable small coastwise vessels to reach the wharf. The
depth up to this point-that is, between the end of the present
channel and the bridge-is about 5 feet at mean low water.
WATER POWER, LAND RECLAMATION, AND FLOOD PROTECTION
10. In accordance with the requirements of the law, I have to
report that there is no question of water power, land reclamation, or
flood protection that should be considered in connection with the
further improvement of this waterway.
LOCAL COOPERATION
11. The river and harbor act of July 25, 1912, adopting the project
for the improvement of the entrance channel to Charlotte Harbor,
imposed the condition that local interests contribute one-half of the
estimated original cost of the proposed improvement. The required
contribution of $20,000 was deposited by the Charlotte Harbor &
Northern Railway interests with the United States Subtreasury at
New York, and has been used in the creation of the channel up to
Boca Grande. In connection with the creation of the 12-foot channel
up to Punta Gorda, about 1900, a municipal pier was built to connect
with the end of the channel. This pier has been allowed to fall into
decay, doubtless due to lack of business and the activity of the teredo
in these waters. Before any further improvement or extension of
the channel by the Government should be made the local municipality
should be required to agree to construct a proper municipal wharf for
the handling of local freight. From the information brought out at






CHARLOTTE HARBOR, LA. ,


the.hearing and subsequent communications, it is-believed that this
will be readily agreed to by the municipality, provided the channel
is deemed worthy of further improvement.

'COMMERCIAL STATISTICS

12. The present commerce handled at Punta Gorda is local in its
character. The commerce for the calendar year 1920 handled through
Charlotte Harbor, as a whole, amounted to 497,563 short tons, valued
at $3,610,904, of which 138,305 tons were exported to foreign ports
and 338,115 tons, valued at $1,944,555, was exported coastwise; 435
short tons, valued at $26,110, were imported coastwise, and the
balance, 20,708 short tons, valued at $844,995, was transported locally
on the bay. This latter item of 20,708 short tons practically repre-
sents the commerce handled at Punta Gorda. The commerce handled
over Charlotte Ha'rbor as a whole indicates an increase over last
year of 111 per cent. Foreign and domestic shipments of phosx
phate increased 17 per cent over last year, and internal traffic in-
creased 20 per cent. It is estimated that approximately 96 per cent
of the total tonnage used the improved channel over the bar at the
entrance only, being carried in steamers drawing from 20 to 23 feet.
The remaining 4 per cent used the improved channel over the bar
and up to Punta Gorda, being carried in motor boats drawing from
3 to 6 feet. The following tables are given as reporting the move-
ment over Charlotte Harbor:

Calendar year Tons Value Passengers Calendar year Tons Value Passengers

1916 .-------.. 341, 560 $1, 593, 947 7,312 1919--...-...... 235, 852 $2, 079, 188 1, 200
1917.---...--- 304,095 1,902,042 749 1920----......... 497,563 3,610,904 1, 480
1918...-------. 219,992 1,991,026 1,625 1

Foreign Domestic Local Total
exports coastwise
Classes of commodities
Tons Value Tons Value Tons Value Tons Value

Animals and animal products, except
wool and hair ..-----. --- -------- ---------. 4, 555 $523,150 4,555 $523,150
Vegetable food products, oil seeds, ex-
pressed oils, and beverages---------. ------ --------------- .766 74,530 766 74, 530
Other vegetable products, except fibers
and wood ------------. ---------------.---.-----.-------.--- ---- 5 1, 000 5 1.000
Wood and paper .-------..----..--------. ---..----------- 614 18,605 614 18, 605
Nonmetallic minerals _------- ------...--------- --- 435 $26,100 576 38,630 1,011 64,730
Ores, metals, and manufactures, except I
machinery and vehicles- .. _..-----------..----.. -------.--------- 5 1,000 5 1,000
Machinery and vehicles ...--------- ------ ------------ 41 48,750 41 48,750
Chemicals --------_ --------- ----- 138, 305 $795, 254 338, 115 1, 944, 555 500 30, 080476, 9202, 769, 889
Unclassified .i -- ------ ------- -.------ -------------- 13,646 109,250 13, 646 109, 250
Total__------------------- 138, 305 795, 254 338, 550 1, 970, 655 20, 708 844, 995 497, 563 3, 610, 904


SUMMARY

13. Charlotte Harbor is a term or a name applied to the entire bay
reaching from Boca Grande up to and including the lower portion of
Peace River up to the city of Punta Gorda. Its entrance is appar-
ently well provided with a depth of water that serves the movement
'of the heavy shipments of phosphate. Practically the only other


10





CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.


terminal on the bay is at Punta Gorda, which is reached by a 12-foot
channel from the main entrance at the mouth of the bay. The water-
way immediately in front of Punta Gorda is very broad and shallow,
and in order to make use of this channel that has been heretofore
created by the National Government, long and expensive wharves
are necessary. Local interests are desirous that this channel be
extended in a general easterly direction so as to enable them, at a
moderate cost, to reach the improved channel. The locality under
consideration has been in the past a point of great activity. The
surrounding country to the north and northwest is rich in phosphate
prospects, and to the east and northeast in citrus and vegetable pros-
pects. There are very heavy timber holdings in the immediate
vicinity. While it is not believed that Punta Gorda can ever be
termed more than a fourth-class port, demanding only the transfer
of local business, yet the amount of aid needed to encourage the build-
ing up of its present commerce is so small as to warrant favorable
consideration. In all portions of this part of Florida a great deal of
immigration is taking place from other portions of the United States,
and new counties are being created and settled and the country devel-
oped and the increase of 20 per cent in last year's local commerce is
indicative of the probable future growth of this part of the country.
LOCAL AND GENERAL BENEFITS
14. In conformance with the river and harbor act of June 5, 1920,
the further improvement of Charlotte Harbor along the lines indicated
above can be considered as of local benefit to not only Punta Gorda
but the adjacent part of Florida. It has a slight general benefit, in
that it enables the movement of the produce of this part of the State
of Florida to other parts of the United States, and a slight movement
to foreign ports that might be possible through the terminals at the
mouth of Charlotte Harbor.
RECOMMENDATION
15. In view of the above investigation, it is recommended that
Charlotte Harbor is worthy of further improvement to the extent
indicated in the above report, with the understanding and only after
the agreement of local authorities to provide suitable terminals for the
transfer of such local freight as will seek this channel of movement to
Boca Grande terminals, or to other intracoastal waterways. It is
further recommended that a survey be authorized to determine the
extent and possible cost of such an improvement.
WM. C. LEMEN,
Major, Corps of Engineers.


[First endorsement]
OFFICE DIVISION ENGINEER, SOUTHEAST DIVISION,
Savannah, Ga., October 19, 1921.
The CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY:
In view of the probably small cost of the improvement desired and
of the cooperation ,to be required of local interests, the division
SD---68-2--vol 27-82


11






CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.


engineer concurs in the recommendation of the district engineer that
Charlotte Harbor be considered as worthy of further improvement
to the extent of making a survey.
SPENCER COSBY,
Colonel, Corps of Engineers, Division Engineer.

[Third endorsement .

BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS,
Washington, D. C., November 8, 1921.
The CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY:
1. For reasons stated herein, the board concurs with the district
and division engineers in recommending a survey in order to deter-
mine the extent and advisability of the improvement and the amount
and character of cooperation that may be expected.
2. A comprehensive map showing the proposed channel exten-
sion and highway bridge and proposed municipal wharf should be
furnished with the report of survey.
For the board:
G. M. HOFFMAN,
Colonel, Corps of Engineers,
Resident Member of the Board.


SURVEY OF CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.
SYLLABUS
Charlotte Harbor is a large indentation on the west coast of Florida, 70 miles
south of Tampa Bay. A channel 300 feet wide and 24 feet deep at mean low
water has been dredged in the Gulf of Mexico to afford access to the port of
South Boca Grande, which lies at the southern extremity of Gasparilla Island
and marks the entrance to the harbor. This port is a phosphate export terminal
owned and operated by the Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railway Co. Because
of its location far from the mainland, it can not be developed as a general com-
mercial port.
In 1899 an improved channel 12 feet deep with widths varying from 120 to
200 feet, according to locality, was completed from South Boca Grande up to a
point, formerly at the end of a long wooden wharf, opposite the town of Punta
Gorda on the southeast bank of Peace River about 25 miles from the harbor
entrance. Since 1899 the channel has shoaled so that the practicable usable
depth is approximately 10 feet. In the meantime the wharf has also been de-
stroyed with the result that the channel, such as it is, now ends near the center
line of Peace River, about 2,000 feet from the nearest freight wharf. In con-
sequence, the wharves at Punta Gorda are now inaccessible to boats drawing
more than about 51 feet.
The adjoining territory is capable of great agricultural development, being
especially favorable to the production of citrous fruit and vegetables. The
fishing industry is also of importance. By reason of the climate and recrea-
tional resources, it is also well adapted to development as a winter residence and
tourist resort. The region needs additional transportation facilities. The
district engineer deems the waterway worthy of further improvement. He
estimates that a channel 10 feet deep and 150 feet wide from South Boca Grande
to Punta Gorda, with a turning basin 200 feet square at its upper end, can be
created for $54,000 and that it can be maintained thereafter at an average
annual cost of $5,340. He recommends that the United States undertake the
improvement, subject to the conditions that local interests shall contribute 25
per cent of the estimated first cost and shall provide suitable terminals ready for
use by the time the channel is completed.






CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.


WAR DEPARTMENT,
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,
Jacksonville, Fla., November 24, 1924.
Subject: Survey of Charlotte Harbor, Fla.
To: The Chief of Engineers, United States Army
(Through the Division Engineer).
1. The river and harbor act approved June 5, 1920, contains the
following item:
The Secretary of War is hereby authorized and directed to cause preliminary
examinations and surveys to be made at the following localities:
*
Charlotte Harbor, Fla., with a view to securing a channel of suitable dimen-
sions to Punta Gorda.
In accordance with this act a report of the preliminary examina-
tion of Charlotte Harbor, Fla., was forwarded on October 14, 1921,
by the district engineer (then Maj. William C. Lemen, Corps of
Engineers), recommending that a survey be authorized.
When that report was made the controlling depth from the Gulf
of Mexico to Boca Grande was approximately 24 feet, while it was
but 11 feet from Boca Grande to a point in the center of the harbor
opposite the town of Punta Gorda. This point was originally at the
end of a municipal pier, which had been destroyed at some time prior
to the date of the report. In Charlotte Harbor, between South Boca
Grande and Punta Gorda, there was a depth of 12 feet or better
available for navigation, except over two shoals, which were dredged
by the United States in 1899 to a depth of 12 feet. However, no
maintenance work had been done since the original dredging, and
therefore, as stated in the report of the preliminary examination, the
controlling depth in the, channel from Boca Grande to Punta Gorda
had reduced to about 11 feet. Moreover, this channel afforded no
great benefit, since, by reason of the destruction of the wharf, it
ended in midstream and the water between that point and the exist-
ing terminals had a usable depth of slightly over 5 feet. A more
complete description of the locality will be found in the report of
preliminary examination dated October 14, 1921. Since then fur-
ther shoaling has occurred, so that from the standpoint of practicable
navigation the depth of the former 12-foot channel is approximately
10 feet at the date of this present report.
The report of preliminary examination was duly considered by the
Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, which concurred in the
views of the district and division engineers and recommended a
survey.
A field survey having been made, a report I thereon was forwarded
by the district engineer (Major Lemen) on April 21, 1922, recom-
mending that the Government dredge a channel 10 feet deep and
100 feet wide, together with a turning basin 300 feet long by 300
feet wide. This channel was to be dredged from the terminus of
the channel previously excavated to the end of the destroyed municipal
pier, and extend in a northeasterly direction up to the draw span in
the county bridge, where new municipal terminals were to be erected.
The turning basin was to be dredged in front of and adjacent to these
terminals. The district engineer recommended that this work be
1 Not printed,


- 13






14 CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.

done on condition, that local interests cooperate to the extent of 25
per cent of thetotal estimated cost, and, in addition, guarantee the
construction of suitable terminals. The new work was therefore
directly correlated with the old channel. Its purpose was to extend
the latter and restore it to use. The Board of Engineers duly con-
sidered the report on the survey and in connection therewith was
apparently informed that vessels of the type used in the Gulf trade
draw a minimum of 12 feet when fully. loaded. At that time a par-
ticular craft, expected to make regular trips to Punta Gorda, was
stated by the owner to be of that class. As the mean range of tide
is but 1.4 feet, the board concluded that a 10-foot project would
not be adequate for this service, and recommended that the report
be returned to the district engineer. The latter was instructed by
the Chief of Engineers to make a further investigation of existing
and prospective commerce of the locality and to submit an estimate
of the costs of providing a channel suitable for vessels of 12-foot
draft. He was further instructed to submit a new and revised
report, containing such recommendation as might appear advisable
to him in view of his further study of the case.
In the meantime, on August 22, 1922, the undersigned had as-
sumed the duties of district engineer, relieving -Maj. William C.
Lemen. In compliance with the instructions above mentioned, new
estimates were made as to the commerce and resources of Charlotte
Harbor and vicinity. The statistics for the calendar year 1923,
being the latest available, are accordingly submitted as the basis
of this report, which is a complete revision of previous reports and
represents the latest obtainable information on the subject.
2. Public hearing.-In order to obtain additional information for
this revised report, a public hearing was held at Punta Gorda on
December 14, 1923, at which about 25 persons were present, some
10 of whom took active part in the discussion. Report of hearing
is inclosed.1 The important points brought out by those taking
part in the hearing may be summarized as follows:
(a) The town of Punta Gorda greatly desires a channel up to the proposed city
terminal at the approach to the county bridge. As an alternative plan, the chan-
nel extended up to the draw span in the county bridge would be acceptable, this
being some 800 feet shorter than the proposed channel which is preferred, but it
would necessitate the construction by the town of a pier about 2,000 feet long.
The town is not financially in a position to build this pier, but would do so in case
of necessity.
(b) The town has previously asked for a 10-foot channel, not because such
channel would meet its needs, but because a 10-foot channel would somewhat
improve the shipping situation, and the authorities hoped that by being ultra-
conservative in their request the project would be approved by the Federal
authorities. It was believed that if such a project should be carried out the
results would demonstrate the real need for a deeper channel and that the city
would then be able to obtain a deeper channel, capable of accommodating larger
vessels up to 12-foot draft of the type which were expected to engage in the local
Gulf coast trade.
(c) When the 10-foot channel was originally asked for, about three years ago,
one-fourth of the cost of the proposed work was personally pledged by one of the
residents. This pledge has now been withdrawn because that resident has re-
moved elsewhere, having become impatient at the delays and obstacles that the
project has met with. However, it was the unanimous opinion of those present
that one-fourth of the cost of the proposed channel could be raised whenever the
people should be thoroughly assured that upon the raising of this fund work on
the channel would be promptly started and carried to completion.
(d) It is the desire of the shippers generally to use water transportation to and
from Punta Gorda to an extent which is not now possible on account of the lack
1 Not printed.






CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.


of a suitable channel. Furthermore, there are large quantities of naval stores and
lumber in the surrounding country which it is alleged could be marketed profit-
ably if suitable water transportation were provided at Puata Gorda, which is the
natural shipping point for these products.
3. Improvements desired and discussion.-The town of Punta Gorda
desires-
(a) That the present channel be extended so as to reach the site of the pro-
posed municipal wharf adjoining the approach to the county bridge across
Peace River. This would be an extension of the existing channel of about
2,700 feet.
(b) That the entire channel from Boca Grande, including the extension to the
municipal wharf, be dredged to afford a draft of .12 feet at mean low water.
An alternative plan, viz, the extension of the channel up to the
draw span in the new concrete county bridge, would be acceptable
to the town of Punta Gorda. The cost of such an extension would
be somewhat smaller than the above preferred plan. Under this
alternative plan the length of the new channel to be dredged would
be reduced by some 800 feet. However, there are objections to this
second plan, which may be briefly summarized as follows:
(a) It would necessitate the construction and maintenance of a long and
expensive pier, making the alleged total lesser cost to the town extremely
doubtful.
(b) A pier alongside a highway bridge is ordinarily inconvenient and, as this
pier would be of wood, the fire risk, involving both the pier and the bridge,
would be very serious.
(c) The county authorities have expressed some objection to the construction
of this pier alongside the bridge.
(d) In addition to the objections above, a channel ending in midstream, as
would be the case under the alternative plan, does not bring deep water up to
the point where it is needed, i. e., up to a conveneint shipping terminal. Fur-
thermore, the channel as its exists to-day is in an exactly analagous status, and
the only advantage to be gained by extending it to the bridge would be to some-
what facilitate pier construction.
The district engineer therefore considers that this alternative plan
is at best only a makeshift and does not meet the reasonable require-
ments of the port. For the purposes of this report this plan will be
discarded as unsuitable.
4. Physical characteristics; previous workc.-A channel 300 feet wide
and 24 feet deep at mean low water, from the Gulf of Mexico to South
Boca Grande just inside the entrance, was completed in 1913, and
now has a controlling depth of 24 feet at mean low water. This
channel is designed to serve the needs of the phosphate industry,
which has its terminals at South Boca Grande, 25 miles seaward of
the town of Punta Gorda. The further improvement of this deep
water channel is not considered in this report, which is addressed to
the needs of Punta Gorda and the adjoining territory in the vicinity
of Charlotte Harbor and Peace River above South Boca Grande.
A channel through the shoals in Charlotte Harbor, leading to the old
municipal wharf, was dredged in 1899, with widths varying from
120 to 200 feet, the main part being the latter width. However,
no maintenance work has been done since that time and the two cuts
in lower Charlotte Harbor have shoaled so that, while a narrow
thread-like channel affording a depth of about 11 feet through the
cuts is said to exist, its average width through the cuts is so very





CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.


restricted that vessels drawing more than 10 feet of water can not
cross the shoals with the requisite degree of safety. The mean rise
and fall of the tide at the baP at Boca Grande is nearly 2 feet and at
Punta Gorda is 1.4 feet. There is a tidal current of about 1.5 miles
per hour in the harbor. Variations in tidal rises are noticeable, due
to strong winds. No artificial obstructions, such as bridges, exist
across CTarlotte Harbor until the upper limits of the municipality of
Punta Gorda are reached, where a concrete bridge has recently been
constructed with a swing draw of 50 feet horizontal opening and
affording a vertical clearance of 10 feet at low water and 8 feet at
high water.
5. Local cooperation.-The river and harbor act of July 25, 1912,
adopting the project for the improvement of the entrance channel to
Charlotte Harbor, imposed the condition that local interests should
contribute one-half of the estimated original cost of the proposed
improvement. The required contribution of $20,000 was deposited
by the Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railway interests with the
United States Subtreasury at New York, and has been used in the
creation of the 24-foot channel up to South Boca Grande. In con-
nection with the creation of the 10-foot channel up to Punta Gorda,
about 1900, a municipal pier was built to connect-with the end of the
channel. This pier has been destroyed by processes of natural decay,
storm, and fire. As a condition of the extension and improvement
of the channel by the United States Government, it is believed that
local interests should contribute a fair share of the cost of such im-
provement and should agree to construct a suitable municipal
terminal to insure that full advantage may be taken of the improved
channel. One-fourth of the cost of the channel improvement is
considered a fair share to be contributed by local interests, and from
information brought out at the hearing it is believed that when the
improvement shall be assured this amount will be provided by local
interests. Inasmuch as local interests can not well take any action
until Congress has authorized the project and appropriated funds
therefore, the Secretary of War should be given discretionary power
to fix the details of the terms and conditions relating to the contribu-
tion and construction of the terminal.
As a matter of theory, it would also appear proper that the owners
of any land which is to be filled by the dredged material should con-
tribute to the work by making a suitable payment for the material
dumped on their land. As a matter of practice, however, no con-
dition to this effect should be imposed, for it is by no means certain
that property owners will be in position to finance such a requirement.
6. Commercial statistics.-The following figures, taken from the
Annual Report of the Chief of Engineers, give the commerce on this
waterway for the calendar year 1923:


16







CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.


17


Amount in short tons Value
Classes and commodities By commodities
By By cor- By
Bulk Package classes modities classes

LOCAL
Animals and animal products, fish.....-------.... --- 4, 161 ---------- 4,161 $582, 540 $582, 540
Vegetable food products-------------- -------------------------- 523 ---------- 38, 295
Grain-.------------------------------ ----- 100 -------- 4,400 ---
Hay .------- ------------------------ ------10 .----- 260 -
Citrus fruits...---------. ---------------------------- 400 ------. 31, 960
Soft drinks ------------------------------------13 ------- 1,675 -----
Wood and paper----------------------------- -- 430 -------- 8,718
Doors, sashes, etc..-------------- ------------------- 20 -------- 6, 000 -.
Lumber, pine ---------------------------------------- 60 ----1,248 ----------
Fuel ------ --------------------------- 350 ..-------. 1, 470
Nonmetallic minerals..--. --------------------- -------- ------- 481 ------- 23, 353
Cement.--- -------------------------------------- .25 ------- 475- 47
Lime.-------.....----------- -------------- ---- -------------- 158
Oils-
Gasoline..---------------------------------------- 319 --------- 16,668 -----
Kerosene ------------------------------- 131 ------- 6,052 ----
Ores, metals, and manufactures, hardware--------------------- 25 25 5,000 5,000
Machinery and vehicles, automobiles .------------ .---------- 65 65 76, 024 76,024
Chemicals, fertilizer.....------.----.. ---------------. ---- 350 350 10,955 10,955
Unclassified ......--------.. ------------------- -------------------- 7, 073 ---------- 86, 938
Groceries.-----.. -------------------------------------1---- 16,000 ----
Ice __-----..........--------..........----------.- 6,823 ----------40,938
Miscellaneous..---..------------------------------------ 150 --------- 30,000 ...-...
Total----.. .-------------------------- 4,161 8,947 13,108 ---------- 831,823

This commerce is carried in fishing boats and motor launches
drawing 5 feet and less. It is confined to the waters of Charlotte
Harbor. Eighty-four per cent of the traffic is in fish and ice. The
fish are caught in the waters of Charlotte Harbor and are brought to
Punta Gorda for packing and shipment by express. The ice is carried
by fish boats from Punta Gorda to Boca Grande for transfer to the
large phosphate vessels leaving that port. No coastal or transoceanic
commerce reaches Punta Gorda, inasmuch as coastal vessels can not
reach that place by reason of shallow channels. It is, however, on
the potential coastal commerce that the need for deeper water must
be based.
The territory to be served by coastal vessels calling at Punta Gorda
would be Charlotte County and the southern part of De Soto County.
This territory, being principally an agricultural area, has available
for outgoing shipments in quantity such commodities as citrus
fruits, vegetables, lumber, and naval stores. The following figures,
taken from the latest biennial report (1921-22) of the Department of
Agriculture of the State of Florida, give the annual production of
these commodities by counties:

Charlotte De Soto
County County
Oranges.--------------------------------------------------crates-_ 30, 479 740,188
Grapefruit.------------------------- ------------------------do-- 24, 372 101,909
Total citrus fruits....---......----------. ------------- do .- 54, 851 842,097
Cabbages ..-----.- -----------.------------------------------- do--- 1,870 1, 300
Peppers.--------.--------..---- ------------- -----------------do --- 5, 940 1, 830
Tomatoes....---------------- -------------------------------.do--- 5,772 5,000
String beans-.--.-----------------------------------------do. 567 10, 530
Cucumbers -----...------------------------------do.... 819 8,810
Total vegetables ............. .------------------------. .do.... 14,968 27,47
Turpentine....-- -------.------------------------gallons-. 37, 650 60, 000
Rosin ..-- ------- ----------------------------- barrels. 1, 802 450
Merchantable timber .--.-----------.. .--------------------------.acres.. 2,658 4,943





CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.


Commodities consumed by this territory in quantity include
fertilizer, drainage tile, building materials, fuel oils, hardware, and
groceries.
The only commercial carrier now tapping this 'territory is the
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad connecting with central and northern
Florida. Tampa and Jacksonville, the principal markets for Punta
Gorda and vicinity, are distant by rail 125 miles and 275 miles,
respectively. As there is no competitor either by rail or water, the
freight rates by rail are high.
Citrus fruits and vegetables are now shipped by rail in refrig-
erating cars. The Florida Citrus Exchange has engaged to make
shipments of citrus fruits to markets in northern United States and
Europe in refrigerating boats of comparatively light draft. Should
such water shipments become an actuality, both fruits and vege-
tables could be shipped more cheaply by water than by rail from
Punta Gorda to Tampa for transfer to ocean-going fruit carriers.
Should a sufficient depth of water be available at Punta Gorda to
accommodate vessels engaged in the fruit trade, these fruits and
vegetables might be transferred at Punta Gorda directly to the
ocean-going carriers, and thus save the cost of transfer to Tampa.
It is to be understood that citrus fruits are now hauled in motor
trucks, over long distances, from the groves to central packing
plants, and that the water-borne traffic from Punta Gorda, for
transfer at Tampa, would be limited to the fruits packed at Punta
Gorda, and the plan involves no thought of railway shipment from
the interior of the State to Punta Gorda, with a transfer there to a
small vessel and another transfer to a larger vessel at Tampa. Fruits
once loaded on a railway car would ordinarily go direct to Tampa for
transfer to the ocean-going fruit steamers. If, however, such steam-
ers could reach Punta Gorda, the latter would become a primary port
of transfer from rail to vessel similar to the port of Tampa.
The total production of grapefruit and oranges for Charlotte
County and one-quarter of De Soto County for 1922 was 265,375
crates, or 10,604 tons, at 80 pounds per crate. The same deduction
for vegetables gives 21,836 crates, or 546 tons, at 50 pounds per
crate. An annual shipment by water from Punta Gorda of 11,150
tons of fruits and vegetables is believed a conservative estimate
if shipment by ocean-going refrigerating boats should become an
accomplished fact. Such shipments, however, are not at present
absolutely assured, though the experiment will undoubtedly be
made this coming season.
Lumber.-The 2,658 acres of merchantable timber in Charlotte
County can be estimated as 26,580,000 feet, board measure, at
10,000 feet to the acre, or 53,160 tons. De Soto County has about
twice as much merchantable timber. Only a small quantity of this
timber is now being cut, because of the high freight rates to Tampa
and Jacksonville. The rate to Tampa is $20 per car. Not many
lumber schooners in the coastwise trade draw less than 12 feet of
water. However, it is believed that at least 3,000 tons per annum
would be shipped over the proposed 12-foot channel to such points
as Tampa and Cuba.
Naval stores.-The annual production of turpentine and rosin in
this territory is heavy, and it would probably increase with the
increase of lumbering activities. It is not believed, however, that


18






CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.


naval stores in large quantities would be shipped by water, in spite
of the claims made by interested parties at the public hearing. The
naval stores are now shipped directly by rail from the turpentine
stills in the woods to Jacksonville, which is said to handle more
naval stores than any other port in the world. Less than 1,000 tons
of such stores per annum are shipped from Tampa.
The steamer which would be put on the run from Punta Gorda to
Tampa is now running from Fort Myers to Tampa, and this boat
does not carry any naval stores in quantity (as shown by the annual
reports of the Chief of Engineers), although the production of naval
stores in the vicinity of Fort Myers is heavier than that of Charlotte
County. The shipment of such stores by water from Punta Gorda,
though possible, can not be considered as probable.
Incoming shipments.-Commodities which would be brought into
Punta Gorda by water consists of items which are consumed there
in quantity and which are produced in Tampa, or brought into
Tampa by large coastal vessels from New York and from New
Orleans and other Gulf ports. Such items are fertilizers, cement,
fuel oil, hardware, and groceries such as canned goods and other
staple articles. Such construction materials as sand and rock are
obtained from the interior of Florida and would continue to be shipped
by rail. The estimated quantities of incoming shipments are based
upon the present incoming shipments at Fort Myers, Fla., on the
Caloosahatchee River. Fort Myers has water connection with
Tampa, and it is the center of a territory very similar to that of
Punta Gorda in size and in character of industries. It is therefore
believed that the estimates are conservative.
The following table gives an estimate of increased tonnage which
would probably result from a deepening of the waterway, together
with the savings in rate which would accrue therefrom:

Estimates of increased tonnage

Prob- Savings
Freight able
Commodities Tons Origin Destination rate water
per ton rate
per ton Per ton Total

Citrus fruits and vege- 1 10,000 DeSoto and Tampa for transfer $5.95 $4. 00 $1.95 $19, 500. 00
tables. Charlotte to refrigerating
Counties. boats.
Hay and grain..------. 1, 500 Tampa ------- Punta Gorda---- 3.40 3.00 .40 600.00
Lumber -------------3, 000 Punta Gorda_ Tampa and Cuba_ 1.67 1. 00 .67 2, 010. 00
Cement-------------- 1,500 Tampa--..... Punta Gorda.--.. 2 3.14 8 1. 75 1.39 2,085. 00
Fuel oil --------- ,00 -----do ---------do .---------- 5.80 1.50 4.30 6,450.00
Fertilizer----------- 900 -- do --...-----. do-- ...-.2 3. 19 3 1. 50 1.69 1, 521. 00
Groceries ------ 3, 000 .--- do--- .-----. do------..... 9. 00 5. 00 4. 00 12. 000. 00
Hardware_---- ------- 800 ...---do.--..------... do.---------. 7. 60 4. 00 3. 60 2,880. 00
Total ...... ----------- -----.. ---- -----.------- -------47,046.00

1 Contingent upon shipment by refrigerating boats from Tampa to northern markets.
2 From Jacksonville.
a From Tampa.

The following is a list of boats which now regularly operate on
Charlotte Harbor up to Punta Gorda, together with the names of
the owners:
Punta Gorda Fish Co.: Chas. Wallace, 17 by 84 by 5 feet draft; Harris Bros.,
17 by 65 by 5 feet draft; five freight barges, each 18 by 60 feet.


19





CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.


Chadwick Bros.: Iris, 15 by 60 by 4Y2 feet draft; America, 14 by 60 by 4y feet
draft; Mystery, 12 by 45 by 4 feet draft.
West Coast Fish Co.: Chase, 16 by 65 by 5 feet draft; Teddy, 12 by 48 by 3%
feet draft; T. C. Crosland, 16 by 65 by 4 feet draft (new boat under construction).
Quedneau Bros.: Powell, 14 by 62 by 4 feet draft.
Florida Hotel & Navigation Co.: Useppa, 10% by 50 feet; Buddie, 14 by 60
by 4 feet draft; Valima, 10%1 by 50 feet.
Gulf Refining Co.: Captain Collier, 18 by 92 by 7/% feet draft. (Can not reach
dock with full load.)
Vessels available for improved waterway

Tonnage
Name of vessel Owner -- Draft Ports of call Remarks
Gross Net

Feet
I. W. Riggs---.. Fort Myers Steam- ---_---. 115 9 Tampa and Fort See note below.
ship Co. Myers.
Norwall--....... Philip Shore------ 350 ---- 12 Tampa, Punta Proposed, when
Gorda, and channel is avail-
Cuba. able.
Unknown....... Florida Railroad (1) (1) 11-12 Tampa, Miami, Do.
& Navigation and intermedi-
Co. ate points.
1 Unknown.
NOTE.-Letter from Mr. Harry Botts, general manager, Fort Myers Steamship Co., dated Oct. 4, 1924,
states that as soon as the I. W. Riggs can be replaced by the steamer Royal Pplm, of 9Y-foot draft, the
I. W. Riggs will be put on a run from Tampa to Boca Grande, Punta Gorda, and Pine Island Sound points
if deep enough water and terminal facilities are available. The available terminal facilities at present con-
sist of 1 railroad wharf owned by the Atlantic Coast Line R. R.; 1 vehicle wharf owned by the Gulf Refin-
ing Co., and 1 wharf owned by the Southern Utilities Co.

7. Estimates made and hereinafter presented indicate that the first
costs and annual maintenance charges for either a 12 or 13 foot
channel are comparatively high in relation to the tonnage and value
of the present and immediately prospective commerce to be benefited.
The opinion of the Board of Engineers as to the ultimate inadequacy
of a 10-foot channel is nevertheless concurred in by steamship men
operating in the Gulf. They state that the cost of operating a
small cargo boat is practically equal to that of a larger boat, and that
the smaller boat can not operate at a reasonable profit except under
specially favorable circumstances, such as abundance of freight or
lack of other convenient means of transportation, inducing high
freight rates. On the other hand, none of the secondary ports served
by these small steamers, such as St. Petersburg, Bradenton,
Sarasota, and Fort Myers, have as much as 12 feet of water and,
while all of them desire and may profitably use deeper draft channels,
some time must necessarily elapse before such channels can be
provided. The development of the 12-foot type of vessel for the
Gulf trade will of necessity therefore be deferred until the ports can
accommodate this type.
8. In view of these facts and in view of the instructions to the
District Engineer to submit such recommendation as he might deem
appropriate in the light of a further study of the situation, it would
seem appropriate to consider a channel of less than 12-foot depth.
Estimates have accordingly been prepared for channels of 11 feet
and 10 feet, respectively, and have been incorporated in the following
table.








CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.


9. Estimated costs.-The following table indicates the work to be
done and the estimated cost thereof:

10-foot 10-foot 11-foot 12-foot 13-foot
depth depth depth depth depth


Dredging 2 cuts, each 5,000 by 200 feet wide,-between
Boca Grande and Punta Gorda (average depth in
these cuts at present is 10 feet):
Dredging 75,200 cubic yards at 24 cents per cubic
yard -------------------------------
Or dredging 152,600 cubic yards at 24 cents per
cubic yard --------------------------
Or dredging 232,200 cubic yards at 24 cents per
cubic yard --------------------------
Dredging 1 cut 5,000 by 200 feet (average depth at
present is 12 feet): Dredging 37,600 cubic yards at
24 cents per cubic yard.---------------------
Dredging the extension of the present channel up to
proposed site of the terminals; extension to be 2,700
feet long by 100 feet wide in all cases except column
2, which is to be 150 feet wide (average depth at
present is 5 feet):
Dredging 57,500 cubic yards at 24 cents per cubic
yard__--- --- ---------- ---------------
Or dredging 82,500 cubic yards at 24 cents per
cubic yard---------------------------
Or dredging 70,800 cubic yards at 24 cents per
cubic yard----------- --------------------
Or dredging 84,700 cubic yards at 24 cents per
cubic yard- ....----...------------ ----------
Or dredging 99,200 cubic yards at 24 cents per
cubic yard.-- ---------------------------
Dredging a turning basin 200 by 200 feet at the
proposed municipal terminal (average depth at
present is 4 feet):
Dredging about 10,600 cubic yards at 24 cents per
per cubic yard ---------------------------
Or dredging about 12,700 cubic yards at 24 cents
per cubic yard..-----------.----...------------
Or dredging about 14,900 cubic yards at 24 cents
per cubic yard..---.-----------------------
Or dredging about 17,200 cubic yards at 24 cents
per cubic yard.-----------.--------..-
Overdepth dredging, estimated at 1 foot:
Dredging 85,500 cubic yards at 24 cents per cubic
yard -------- ----------------- -
Or dredging 90,500 cubic yards at 24 cents per
cubic yard--...-----. .--------------------
Or dredging 122,600 cubic yards at 24 cents per
cubic yard --- --...... ---.....--- ----.....
Total for dredging---------............. --
For transport of plant--.......------.-- ----.....
Contingencies, superintendence, etc-----............
Total estimated costs of various improvements


----------------- $18,048................----------




----- ----- ----- ----- 9,024


$13,800


$19, 800


16,..992
16, 992
----------


2,544 2, 544 -
------------------ 3,048


20,520 --------


21,720 -----


20,328---
----- 23,808


3, 576 --
---- 4,128


20,520 1--.-----I ----------


29,424 29,424


36,864 44,064 58,608 89,952 122, 112
4,000 4, 000 4,000 4,000 4,000
5,136 5,936 6,392 7,048 7,888


46, 000


54, 000


69,000


101,000


134,000


NOTE.-In estimating the above quantities, a slope of 1 on 3 has been assumed for the edges of the dredge
cuts. Yardages of material have been taken to the nearest 100 cubic yards.

10. Annual maintenance.-Based on past experience, it is estimated
that shoaling may occur to the extent of 1 foot in 5 years. On this
assumption, estimates for maintenance are as follows:


10 by 10 by 11-foot 12-foot 13-foot
100 foot 150foot channel channel channel
channel channel


Dredging 85,500 cubic yards, at 24 cents...--- ----- $20, 520 ------- ----------- ---------
Dredging 90,500 cubic yards, at 24 cents....- --...---- ----.. $21, 720 ----- -----.--
Dredging 85,500 cubic yards, at 24 cents...---.---------. -- ------ $20,520 ----- ------
Dredging 122,600 cubic yards, at 24 cents----- ......-... -------.-----------$29, 424
Dredging 122,600 cubic yards, at 24 cents ----------.-- ---------- --- $29, 424
For transport of plant ------------ ------- 4, 000 4, 000 4,000 4,000 4, 000
Contingencies, superintendence, etc-_- --------- 980 980 980 1,076 1,076
Total maintenance for 5 years... ......... 25, 500 24 700 25, 00 34500 400
Tota annual maintenance....----...--------- 100 5,40 5100 900 6 900


21





CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.


11. For all depths over 10 feet the work to be done will involve
redredging of the two cuts across the flats in lower Charlotte Harbor
between Cape Haze and Pine Island and a redredging of the naviga-
tion channel in Peace River below and opposite Punta Gorda. For
all depths, including 10 feet, it will involve the dredging of a new cut
as an extension to the previously existing channel up to the site of the
proposed new municipal terminal, and would involve also the dredging
of a small turning basin 200 feet square in the immediate vicinity
of that terminal. With particular reference to the 10-foot channel,
it may reasonably be assumed that while 10 feet appears to be
the natural self-maintaining depth in the vicinity of the cuts in the
lower harbor, some dredging may have to be done to insure full width
to the 10-foot depth and to correspond in a measure to the overdepth
dredging that will certainly be done elsewhere. Hence, for the pur-
poses of an estimate, dredging to a depth of 1 foot through the cuts
named has been included. This has been computed at 74,000
cubic yards, which, at a cost of 24 cents per cubic yard, would amount
to $17,760. If, however, as a measure of economy, it should be de-
cided to make no provision for the possible existence of lumps or
shoals-obstructing 10-foot navigation over the flats in the lower har-
bor, the estimates for the 10-foot channels may be reduced accord-
ingly to $28,240 for the channel 10 feet deep by 100 feet wide, and to
$36,240 for the channel 10 feet deep by 150 feet wide.
12. In a long view of transportation conditions as applied to Punta
Gorda and other secondary ports on the Gulf coast of Florida, both
the 11-foot and 10-foot channels are open to the objections previously
mentioned by the Board of Engineers. On the other hand, the costs
of the 13-foot and 12-foot channels seem disproportionate to the bene-
fits which may be expected within a reasonably short period of years,
and the investment of the comparatively large sum necessary to
secure either such channel does not seem warranted at this time.
It is believed, however, that a channel capable of navigation by
the lighter draft vessels listed in the table in paragraph 6 ante, if
provided, would be used to a degree commensurate with its cost,
and that it would have an effect on railway freight rates which would
stimulate the development of the southwestern portion of the State.
This, in turn, would eventually justify a more material improvement
of the channels at Punta Gorda and at the other secondary ports.
As between depths of 11 feet and 10 feet, the benefit to be derived
from the former does not seem to be very significant at this time and
the cost, $69,000, is at least 50 per cent greater than the maximum
estimated cost of a channel 10 feet deep and 100 feet wide. On the
other hand, in view of the great expanse of open water and the corre-
sponding sweep of winds and currents, a channel ocily 100 feet wide
will be found difficult of navigation, and another 50 feet in width would
add to the safety of navigation. The cost of the extra 50 feet is but
$8,000 in excess of the maximum estimated cost of the channel 100
feet wide. That is to say, a channel fully 10 feet deep and 150 feet
wide from South Boca Grande to the terminals at Punta Gorda,
including a turning basin, can be had for $54,000. In view of all
the circumstances, this figure does not seem disproportionately great.
12. Summary.-Charlotte Harbor is the name applied to a large
bay lying on the west coast of Florida, with its entrance 70 miles
south of the entrance to Tampa Bay and 150 miles north of Key


22






CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.


West. It includes the lower portion of Peace River up to the town of
Punta Gorda. The entrance to the lower harbor is provided with
a depth of water that serves for the movement of heavy shipments
of phosphate delivered over the Charlotte Harbor and Northern
Railroad to its terminal at South Boca Grande. The latter terminal
is at the southern end of a string of sand keys and is isolated from
the mainland. Its commerce consists almost entirely in the export of
phosphate and, with the possible exception of lumber, it is scarcely
practicable to develop any other shipping business at the port.
The only other terminal on the bay is at the town of Punta Gorda.
Some 25 years since the Government improved the channel to give
a 12-foot depth from South Boca Grande to a point then at the end
of a long wooden wharf extending approximately to the middle of
the bay opposite the town of Punta Gorda. In the interval that has
elapsed the channel has shoaled so that, from the standpoint of
practical navigation, its depth is now approximately 10 feet. The
wooden wharf has also been destroyed and on account of the shallow
water between the end of the previously dredged channel and the
town, the latter is practically inaccessible to boats drawing more than
5% feet. Local interests desire that the previously dredged channel
be put in condition and that it be extended up to a proposed new city
terminal near the approach of the county bridge. The locality
under consideration has in the past been a point of great activity.
The surrounding country to the north and northwest is rich in phos-
phate prospects and to the east and northeast in citrus and vegetable
prospects. There are very heavy timber holdings in the immediate
vicinity. While it is not believed that Punta Gorda can ever be a
great port, it can nevertheless contribute to the development of the
Gulf coast trade, and the amount of aid needed to build up its present
and prospective commerce is so small as to warrant favorable con-
sideration. It is believed that a volume of traffic will develop
sufficient to justify the investment.
13. Conclusion and recommendation.-In view of the existing situa-
ticn and the commerce which may reasonably be expected to develop
at Punta Gorda, it is considered that the waterway from South
Boca Grande to Punta Gorda is worthy of further improvement to
the extent of providing a channel 10 feet deep and 150 feet wide, with
a turning basin 200 feet square at the upper end of that channel,
in the immediate vicinity of the approach of the county bridge at
Punta Gorda. It is recommended that the United States undertake
the improvement at an estimated cost of $54,000, with an average
annual appropriation of $5,340 thereafter for maintenance, provided
that local interests will contribute to the extent of 25 per cent of the
estimated first cost and not to exceed $13,500 in any event. Before
wcrk is actually commenced, local interests should also be required
to give assurances satisfactory to the Secretary of War that suitable
municipal terminals for the transfer of freight will be available by
the time the channel and turning basin shall be completed. The
entire amount needed for the work should be made available in one
lump sum, for an interruption in the work by reason of lack of funds
would increase the total cost of the project.
GILBERT A. YOUNGBERG,
Lieutenant Colonel, Corps of Engineers,
District Engineer.


23






24 CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.
[First endorsement]
OFFICE DIVISioN ENGINEER,
SOUTHEAST' DIVIsIO ',
Charleston, S. C., November 28, 1924.
To the CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY:
I concur in the conclusion and recommendation of the district
engineer.
J. C. OAKES,
Colonel, Corps of Engineers,
Division Engineer.

O




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