Naples, previously inhabited by the Calusa Native American people, was founded in the late 1800s by the Confederate General John Stuart and Walter N. Haldeman. The city got its name from promoters who described its angelic-like features to those of Naples, Italy. Naples, FL is home to over 21,948 residences and is one of the wealthiest cities in the United States. The general area around Naples is central to seven different land reserves: the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and Picayune Strand State Forest. Naples, indeed, has a rich history of extravagant architecture and landmarks.
Naples Pier and Naples Hotel
The Naples Pier was first built in 1888 as a way for sailors to be able to load items easily on and off ships. In that time, the city saw much traffic as sailors were frequently traveling from Punta Gorda to Naples, but ships were getting stuck on the multiple sandbars. The pier was constructed as a 600 ft T-shaped wharf made of timber, standing in 18 ft of water. Once the pier was built, more and more traffic began to come through Naples. To accommodate the new found business, construction began on Naples’s first ever hotel in 1889. The hotel was located not far from the pier and had become an attraction for the city. The popularity of the pier had grown so much that railings were installed so the transfer of luggage from the end of the pier to the hotel would be seamless. After three hurricanes, the pier has been extended in length depth each time. This piece of Naples history is still loved and frequently visited by locals and tourists.
5th Avenue South
What was once considered Naples “Main Street”, 5th Avenue South was a road that only consisted of a few shops and the city’s Chamber of Commerce. The area of 5th Ave South and 9th St South was known as Four Corners. In the late 1920s, the first train made its way to Naples and arrived at the Naples Seaboard Air Line Passenger Station. Now the station has been restored into a fully functional museum, where guests can relive the nostalgia of the time. In 1949, the first bank in Naples opened on 5th Ave. The bank taught many residents how to save their money allowing the residents to grow their wealth. Over the years, the bank has seen many changes and is currently a Bank of America on 5th Ave South.
The Rexall Drug Store
This classic landmark used to be a hotspot for business men and locals. They sat at the benches in front of the store and discussed local business highs and lows each day. Children would line the floors of the drug store to read comic books and breakfast and lunch were served regularly at the counter. In 1971, the building had become owned under new management and is currently the Naples 5th Avenue Pharmacy.