Tuesday, August 7 – Englewood Rotonda West –
From Google Earth, the Rotonda looks fantastic. One could think that it is a giant mandala, a symbol of the universe where peace and happiness could blossom. Or it could look like a wagon wheel. The aerial dimension gets less fantastic from the ground level. The Rotonda is, but a suburb.
Originally, its developers wanted to create a Self-Contained Circular Community of 50,000. Every home would have access to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. When the U. S. Federal Government enacted the 1970 Environmental Protection Act, the canal development scheme hit a wall, and eventually, the Cavanagh Leasing Corporation declared bankruptcy in 1975.
The land, originally owned by the New York based William and Alfred, Vanderbilt brothers, was sold to Joe Klein of the Miami Cavanagh Leasing Corporation in 1969. The promoters of the project promised an idyllic, Shangri-La lifestyle.
The waterways of the Rotonda are still landlocked. While driving around, we saw a man standing on a small wharf. He looked like a captain ready to set out on an exploration of the infinity defined by this ‘peaceful, planned community situated near the beautiful Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida.’