BABCOCK, EST. 1914
Babcock is steeped in the McAdow family’s late 19th century visions of warmer climates and an easier way of living. The property, purchased in 1914 and held by the Babcock family for more than 90 years, was sold to Town Maker Kitson & Partners in 2006. Babcock Ranch has always held an allure all its own, a unique magnetism that has captivated forward thinking individuals who appreciate the uniqueness of the place.
After making their fortune in the Spotted Horse gold mines of Fergus County, Montana, the Perry McAdow family took to Southwest Florida’s warmer climes and purchased what is now Babcock Ranch in the late 1800’s. After settling at what they called the Crescent B Ranch, the family made their mark. By June, 1899, the Punta Gorda Bank was chartered by the state with capital of $15,000 and Perry Wadsworth McAdow as president. A one-story, brick façade corner storefront housed the bank with Earnest Dry Goods, the Punta Gorda Trading Company, Wade’s Drug Store, and McAdow Hall filling the remainder of the building. An avid horticulturalist, Mrs. McAdow proceeded to beautify downtown Punta Gorda.
PREVIOUS LAND USE
In 1914, the 91,000-acre Crescent B Ranch was acquired by Edward Babcock, a Pittsburgh lumber magnate and politician. The renamed Babcock Ranch served as the base for the family’s timber business, the most prominent end-users being the diamond mines in South Africa that used the pine-based pitch to ward off termites. By the 1930’s, Edward’s son Fred was managing the property and it’s numerous business operations, including:
- Tree Farming
- Rock Mining
- Vegetable Farming
- Alligator Farming
- Experimental Ostrich Breeding
- Swamp Buggy Tours
- Hunting Leases
After Fred’s death in 1997, the heirs attempted to sell the property to the state. In 2005, discussions with the state were terminated. That’s when Syd Kitson stepped in with a complex plan that leveraged future growth on a portion of the property to achieve the conservation goals.
Today, the town of Babcock Ranch that Syd Kitson envisioned is becoming a reality. Designed to accommodate 19,500 residences, an engaging downtown, numerous green spaces, lakes, and nature trails, Babcock Ranch will ultimately be home to approximately 50,000 residents.