Naples has been cited regularly and consistently, especially over the past 20 years, by such publications as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Money magazine as one of the finest communities in the United States. The map at the right depicts Naples and surrounding areas, as well as some of Naples’ main points of interest. If you click on the map you will see an enlarged version of the map and more photos.
The beginnings of Naples are quite humble. Both attention and people were brought to Monroe County, part of which later became Collier County, during the Civil War. A pioneer by the name of Walter Gordon created a rugged fishing camp quite near the channel that leads to the Gulf of Mexico in southern Naples, and, today that channel known as Gordon’s Pass bears his name.
In the late 1800’s only two families lived within the boundaries of what is known today as Naples, Florida. Then, between 1886 and 1887, a group of 12 men headed by Louisville Courier Journal owner Walter N. Haldeman formed The Naples Company subsequent to their purchase of approximately 8,700 acres. This group surveyed the lands they had purchased and built Naples’ first major transportation link one year later. This 600 foot long pier still stands today in downtown Naples.
It has been rebuilt to a length of 1000 feet, and is known and enjoyed by all residents as The Naples Pier. In the early 1900’s a New York City multi-millionaire street car advertising magnate named Barron G. Collier visited Southwest Florida, and by 1923 his land holdings included over 1,000,000 acres including Marco Island. On July 9, 1923 the state legislature created Collier County and the Collier family remains a vibrant substantial business component of the Naples community to this day.
Southwest Florida is also known as the Platinum Coast. The area enjoys an international reputation for its quality of life, its environment, and especially for the prize jewel within this setting: Naples. Some of the most key components developed over the past 20 years include: the building of Southwest Florida International Airport located off I-75 4-exits to the north (approximately 35 miles) of Naples, the establishment of the Ritz-Carlton Naples (consistently ranked by Conde Nast among the 3 top international resort destinations) and the Registry Resort, the construction of Interstate I-75 which now runs from Miami to the Florida State Line and all the way through the southeastern states, and the construction being completed in 1999 of the 10th State of Florida accredited university (Florida Gulf Coast University) half way between Naples and Fort Myers. In addition to these, Naples has an abundance of world class shopping areas and boutiques including almost every nationally known retailer among the Waterside Shops, Venetian Village, and 5th Avenue & 3rd Street South shopping areas plus a 1,000,000 square foot enclosed shopping mall in the City of Naples (The Coastland Center). We enjoy our Philharmonic Center for the Performing Arts in Pelican Bay and downtown Sugden Theater on 5th Avenue South, State Parks, and incredible (emphasis on the “edible”) restaurants offering every conceivable type of culinary fare. We have a sophisticated and attentive community land planning infrastructure that preserves and enhances the evolution of the overall Naples community, and several state-of-the-art hospitals that include: Naples Community Hospital, Naples Community Hospital’s Schick Heart Center, and the recently opened HMA hospitals: Physicians Regional Medical Center & HMA Collier Regional Medical Center.
We continue to build an ever increasing number of both elementary and high schools, enjoy miles upon miles of pristine sugar sand beaches, some of Florida’s finest fishing waters, have an active Audubon Society as well as other conservation minded societies and organizations, support many cooperative local business and trade associations, host a massive service industry geared to deliver quality services throughout the area to part time and year round residents, offer a strong Economic Development Council to attract clean industry, and have a strong civic minded citizenry. Come visit us. See Naples and all the good things we have to offer you…it is guaranteed you will thank yourself…and so will your friends…and so will your family…and so will we!
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have enjoyed Naples as much as I have for the past 25 years.