It’s amazing to think that people have been driving for well over one hundred years now and the rules of the road and even the way how to drive an automobile has not changed very much over the course of that century. The appearance of the car has changed significantly over the years from the T-model to the ones in the fifties where they had wooden panels on the sides to the totally inconspicuous car tail fins in the 60’s and a few concepts here and there that we may want to forget nowadays (amphibian cars). However, what has not changed much are the rules of engagement when in comes to navigating through traffic. By this, we mean our respect for the traffic lights.
Even as early as the 1920’s traffic lights have been around. And in the historic 5th Avenue South of Naples, Florida, was where the first traffic light in the city was installed. This was when dirt road was still in fashion and some people rode horses while others had, of course, their cars in going about their day to day business. There was no internet, no mobile phones to call on your Uber cab, no streetlights and the only paved road was the highway that’s still under construction around this time. This is a totally different world, yet, the traffic light is there – always ready to guide motorists and keep order in the roads.
The 5th Ave. South in Naples was the small center of the city where all the first shops erected in the area can be found. There was Ed Frank’s Garage, a train depot, a drug store, a train depot and a few other stores. This was the sort of Main Street at that time where the people gather to do business. This spot was known as the Four Corners and all of the traffic there was regulated by the first-ever traffic light in the city.
Time went on and the city blossomed into what it is today, and it has become a paradise indeed, and the first traffic light is no longer in service but one thing remains and that is fifth avenue south did not lose its main role in the City of Naples – being the center of commerce within the area. While it can easily be neglected, the traffic light was one of the things that cemented Fifth Avenue’s importance to the city; for it became a testament to all who drove past there in the early decades of the 20th century that many cars passed by there and so this told people that this corner of the city must be relevant to some extent.
Today, Naples and the rest of the Southwest Florida continues to shine forth as a leading tourist attraction in the US, leading many people to its gorgeous shores and amazing nature parks year after year. There are dozens upon dozens of traffic lights installed by now, of course, but that would not have been possible if not for those few shops that paved the way for the rise of the city and the beacon of light that guided the motorists towards it.