First Dead White Man marker.

First White Man Dies In America Marker

Field review by the editors.

Punta Gorda, Florida

The Florida commission that tracks historical markers didn't list this one when we checked in 2006. Perhaps the state would rather forget it, but we were amused to find that it is still standing. The marker looks to have been left to itself, battered by time and weather, while several nearby statues of Ponce de Leon, really just fancy lawn ornaments, have been touched-up with fresh coats of paint. The locals just come here to use the boat ramp.

The name of the plaque-worthy dead Spaniard isn't mentioned. All that's revealed is that he was killed by arrows fired by the Caloosa tribe, either in late May or early June, 1513. Millions of white men have died in America since him, but he was the first.

Little conquistador statue guy.

Not counting the Vikings.

Update 2009: The historical marker was replaced, or at least repainted, and the text seems pretty much unchanged. Sorry, Vikings!

First White Man Dies In America Marker

Ponce de Leon Park

Address:
3400 Ponce de Leon Pkwy, Punta Gorda, FL
Directions:
Ponce de Leon Park. I-75 exit 164. West on US 17, which turns into Marion Ave. After about five miles, bear left into the park.
Phone:
941-575-3370
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Military Heritage MuseumMilitary Heritage Museum, Punta Gorda, FL - 2 mi.
Calostimucu: Toth Indian HeadCalostimucu: Toth Indian Head, Punta Gorda, FL - 3 mi.
Segregated Train StationSegregated Train Station, Punta Gorda, FL - 3 mi.
In the region:
Great White Shark Hung by Tail, Sarasota, FL - 37 mi.

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