Port Charlotte

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Port Charlotte, uninc. town (1990 pop. 41,535), Charlotte co., SW Fla., on Charlotte Harbor (an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico) and the Peace and Myakka rivers. It is a planned residential community—one of several on a peninsula once owned by the Vanderbilt family. The area, formerly cattle pasture land, is now popular with retirees and vacationers. Port Charlotte has 145 mi (233 km) of artificial waterways, many with access to the Gulf of Mexico; 38 mi (61 km) of natural shoreline; and 42 bridges. The Cultural Center of Charlotte County and the Florida Bat Center are there. The population increased significantly in the late 20th cent., and the town suffered significant damage from Hurricane Charley in 2004.