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Author examines Burnt Store past, present and future

By Staff | Jan 15, 2016

How did Burnt Store Road get its name? Where was the Burnt Store?

Those and many other questions are answered in a new e-book written by Graham Segger, a Canadian resident and seasonal resident of Burnt Store Road, who hopes to educate residents about the area, as well as help numerous charities he supports.

“Where Do We Live: Research by a Seasonal Resident of Burnt Store Road” explores a wide range of subjects of interest to area residents, such as the history of the area, the conservation lands that surround it, early commerce on Charlotte Harbor and current topics such as the widening of the road in both Charlotte and Lee counties.

Seeger discussed his new book Wednesday to a packed house at the Cass Cay Restaurant at Burnt Store Marina, that after drawing more than 100 people for the same discussion the night before at The Platinum Point Yacht Club.

Segger, who has wintered in the area for four years, said he wanted to get a better understanding of the area.

“Being a history and geography nut, I would ask people about the area and nobody could help me,” Seeger said. “I don’t like no for an answer, so I went out and got them.”

Segger spent 18 months researching the area with the help of the Cape Coral Historical Society, The Punta Gorda History Center, Cape Coral historian Paul Sanborn and others. He read the book by U.S. Cleveland and others who wrote about the area. He said Vernon Peoples was one of the inspirations behind the book.

Much of the book discusses the history of the area, the history of Burnt Store’s development, Mr. Zemel, who owned 10,000 acres between U.S. 41 and Burnt Store Road, and how their success and failures tracks perfectly with our economic ups and downs, Seeger said.

“We’re very unique in that we straddle Charlotte and Lee counties. I traced the history of the county line and all the changes in the area,” Seeger said. “I found out that then Lt. Col. Lee came to Charlotte Harbor and mapped it.”

But the book isn’t just history. It also discusses local issues such as the widening of the road, the infusion of many Canadians, homes to home sites, dredging of the Northwest Cape, and many other things.

“They’re questions I had about the area. It’s not a pure history book, it’s social science. It talks about the arrested development here, the new development being proposed, such as Tranquility Lake,” he said.

The book is being freely distributed, with a request that readers make a donation to three local charities that Segger supports, The Burnt Store-PPYC Charitable Boating Foundation, the Punta Gorda History Center and the Friends of Charlotte Harbor Estuary.

Another charity is Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Canada, for Canadian readers, since donations to the American charities would not be tax deductible.

Segger said he hopes people will enjoy learning about the area that people seem to forget.

“A lot of people have been very helpful to me in the research. There are books written about Cape Coral and Punta Gorda. There’s nothing written about this 20-mile stretch and it’s a void we were really trying to address,” Segger said.

To download the book, go to www.wheredowelive.com, which provides a description of the book, questions he was trying to answer.