Naples Pier from the Beach
Naples pier was built in 1888 and stretches out 300 metres (1,000 feet) into the Gulf of Mexico.. Prior to the completion in 1928 of the Tamiami Trail (now Highway 41), the only way for visitors to reach Naples was by boat, making the pier an essential part of the infrastructure of the early town. In the early 1900s narrow gauge rail tracks ran the length of the pier to move freight and baggage between the pier head and the shore. Naples’ first Post Office was built on the pier, but was destroyed by fire in 1912 although the pier itself survived. When it came to hurricanes, the pier was not so lucky, suffering serious damage in 1910, 1926 and 1960. It had to be substantially rebuilt after each hurricane. Naples Pier was renovated in 2015 and is now used as a fishing pier. This picture was taken in 2014, prior to the renovation, on a day when even the Gulf of Mexico was suffering from sea fog.
Red-bellied Woodpecker, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
It is amazing how close you gat get to the wildlife in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Here a misleadingly named Red-bellied Woodpecker poses for the camera on a tree. As can be clearly seen, this species has a red cap on its head, not its belly, but apparently a close relative bagged the name ‘red-headed woodpecker’ first. Click Tab 2 to see a picture of a Barred Owl sitting on a tree branch in the sanctuary
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Boardwalk, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
North east of Naples is a 56 square kilometre (14,000 acre) area of swampland that is full of wildlife. The Corkscrew Cypress Rookery Association was formed in 1954 to protect the swamp and they gave the National Audubon Society responsibility for managing the land. In 1955 work began on the construction of the first boardwalk through the swamp. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary now has around 3 km (1.9 miles) of boardwalk from which visitors can view the swamp and its wildlife. Click Tab 2 to see an alligator lurking in the swamp
The railroad that arrived in Naples in 1927 was known as the Seaboard Air Line Railway. Prior to the development of commercial air travel, the term ‘air line’ referred to the shortest distance between two points. Passenger service was discontinued before the end of the 1920s and freight service ceased in the 1930s. By 1944 both depot and tracks had been bought by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad who resumed both passenger and freight services. In 1967 the Atlantic Coast Line merged with the Seaboard Air Line Railway to create the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad. Passenger service was discontinued in 1971 and freight service ended in the late 1970s. The tracks were removed in 1979 but the depot building remained because it had been listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. The depot has been restored by Collier County Museums and opened to the public as the Naples Depot Museum, The museum exhibits show how Southwest Floridians used technology and transportation to conquer the local terrain. Click on Tab 2 to see a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Airon display inside the museum.
Walter N Haldeman, built this two-storey house in 1895, the year before he and John Stuart Williams formally founded Naples. The oldest house in Naples was built using tabby mortar, a hand-made concrete consisting of sand, shells and water. On display in the house are artwork, furnishings and tools spanning more than 100 years. Palm Cottage is open for tours Tuesday to Saturday afternoons but sadly we could only schedule a morning in Naples.
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Ah Naples! It is a picturesque city that sits on the shore of the Bay of Naples under the malevolent glare of Mount Vesuvius. Its namesake in Florida has only a tiny bay to preside over and there is no glowering volcano. This part of the Florida coast had been promoted in the 1870s and 1880s as a place that ‘surpassed the bay in Naples, Italy’, so when John Stuart Williams and Walter N Haldeman from Kentucky founded the town in 1886 they named it Naples. They established the Naples Town Improvement Company and through it they built a pier, a 16 room hotel and homes along the beach with the aim of making Naples a winter retreat. By 1889 the Naples Town Improvement Company was running out of money and in January 1890 it was sold to Walter N Haldeman. In the early 1900’s St Petersburg land developer Ed Crayton bought Haldeman’s properties and began a new phase of development. Electric power was introduced in 1926, the railroad arrived in 1927 and in 1928 the Tamiami Trailprovided a road link to Miami. The Great Depression slowed down development of Naples leaving it as a small winter resort. In 1943 a US Army Air Field (now Naples Airport) was built to train World War II combat pilots. Modern Naples is a tourist resort popular as a base for visiting the nearby Everglades National Park.