There’s no place in Naples more famous than its pier. Throughout the years, it’s experienced a few changes—both planned and unplanned—and its biggest yet is presently in progress. Since a lot of what constitutes our idea of Naples is an impression of what used to be, we’re sharing the tale of how this enchanting historic attraction came to hold a place in Naples history and the hearts of—of its 1.1 million yearly guests.
In the early days of Naples around 1888, an organization called the Naples Company used a steamship called the Fearless to ferry passengers and cargo from Punta Gorda to Naples, it entered through Gordon Pass and cruised up into Naples Bay. Problems happened, when, amid low tide travelers and cargo on the transports came aground because of various sandbars. Development on a 600-foot T-formed wharf in 18 feet of water was started toward the end of what is currently 12th Avenue South (at that point called Pier Street).
Development of the wooden pier was finished a year later, and Naples’ first hotel opened on the shoreline close-by. The mixed footpath/tramway was fitted with rails that reached out from the end of the dock down Pier Street to the inn, making it simple for materials and baggage to be transported from ship to shore (and for children to take a ride). A post office was also opened at the foot of the wharf.
In the course of the first quarter of the 20th century, the pier was hit by several huge storms and had to be rebuilt a few times, but nevertheless, the pier stood its ground. However, it was not until 1960 when the pier suffered its first major destruction by the hands of Hurricane Donna. The sea tempest pummeled Naples’ pier, bringing Category 5 winds and a nine-and-a-half-foot storm surge that crumbled the wharf into the Gulf. (The lodging was demolished, as well.) as it would turn out, the Naples City Council had voted four months before remove the wharf. There was discussion of tearing it down and remaking it toward the end of Fifth Avenue South, but local residents Lester and Dellora Norris volunteered to bankroll the cost of its 10-month long repairs (about $130,000) in the event that it remained in its unique place. And so it does to this day.
As of July 2015, the main boardwalk is removed as the Naples Pier closes to experience a $2.2 million renovation. History comes full circle however, as the structure of the new wharf—which is being made in Fort Myers of strong Brazilian hardwood in 30-foot areas—is glided in by boat, much as it was in 1888. The better than ever wharf is planned to open by November.
Today, it is often visited by tourists and locals alike. There is a 24-hour camera that captures the beach in real time so you can check the weather and the density of the people if you ever you plan to visit. Also there are beach games and boats available for everyone as well as fishing and picture-taking opportunities.