Naples, Florida: a land of fascinating beauty. A place of peaceful beaches, gorgeous sunsets and the charm of a quiet city filled with fancy restaurants, lavish hotels and luxurious homes – a place where man-made architecture and natural allure go hand in hand. With all these attractive sights that make one drool with their eyes popped out, one may wonder where did this all begin. The history of Naples, Florida in terms of its involvement in the United States is fairly recent compared to the other parts of the country, yet interesting nonetheless. This was partly due to the inaccessibility of the area but we’ll get more into that later.
According to local museum records, human activity in the area began as possibly 10,000 years ago. There was evidence found that indicate human settlement during that time. Also, Saber tooth tigers would have roamed the lands in search for lunch. In fact there is even a skull of such a cat found its way in one of the local museums as part of their exhibits. Whether this feline has found its lunch or not remains entirely up to speculation. Nevertheless, over the course of the centuries, the Saber tooth tigers went out of fashion and then fast forward to the 18th century, Spanish expeditions recorded that present-day Naples, Florida was in control of the Calusa Indians. However, a series of plagues and in-fighting between the tribes plus the conflict against the Europeans eventually wiped them out from the region. So much so that by the beginning of the 19th century, a different tribe, the Seminole Indians has claimed the land for their own.
Real development came to what would become Naples, Florida in the late 19th century, when the two budies John Stuart Williams and Walter N. Halderman came in the picture and purchased some land. Williams was a former general who had partook in the Civil war while Halderman was a successful publisher of the Loiusville Courier-Journal. They were genuine frontiersmen, these two. They were responsible for the construction of a pier, a post office, a general store and a small hotel, an achievement you only mostly see done in video games nowadays, but we digress. These few structures were the first significant buildings of Naples, Florida, many of which still stand to this day and can be visited. Thus, with the construction of these few buildings people started to visit the area marked the humble beginnings of the city’s present massive tourist industry. And with the tourists coming in so did the journalists and many observers agreed to the notion that the place resembles Naples in Italy so they took to calling the place as such. This nickname stuck and has been called this ever since.
However, charming as the place may be, the issue back in the day was Naples, Florida was surrounded by water and can only be accessed by boat. This made a nice little retreat place for the well-to-do during the winter season but was not good for the city’s development and commerce. This was when Baron Collier entered the scene in 1927 where he financed the construction of railroads, bridges and the Tamiami Highway, a highway which is still in use to this day. And with that the city grew even more with products coming in and out with ease and this paved way to the makings of a great city, the city of Naples, Florida.