The Town of Naples was recognized in Florida by the 1880's. Little more than a hundred years ago the population was a scant 34 full time residents and would blossom to over 80 in the winter months. There began our vacation destination for the masses albeit to a much lesser degree than today.
I so wish I had a Time Machine and visited during the first Florida real estate boom in the early 1900's. Lots in Old Naples (new Naples then) were going for $10 a piece. It astounds me that the survey was completed by 1886 and platted in 1887. Visionaries of the day who had formed the Naples Town Umprovement Company were tirelessly promoting their project an began construction on the pier in 1888. Those early pioneers had little more than a few cottages, a general store and one hotel to service the area. Getting here was a chore in itself, accessible only by boat which docked at the end of the Naples Pier. There was a regularly scheduled run from the Island of Key West, which was Florida's largest city at the time, to Tampa. Details on the frequency range from once a month to weekly although I cannot verify any.
The Tamiami Trail, also known as Route 41, finally reached Naples in 1924. The connection to the East from Miami was completed in 1928 in Big Cypress Swamp. The entire project took 13 years of death, blood, sweat and tears to reach it's terminus. The famous "Orange Blossom Special" had made it's way to Naples a year earlier in January of 1927. Beating the completedtion of the paseenger terminal by four months.
There are 122 residences available in Olde Naples. A single family home will range from just under $1,000,000 to slightly more than $10,000,000 at this time and you have 56 to choose from. Condominiums and villas make up the remainder and can be had as Time Share or Fractional Ownership from $9,000 to $50K. Condos begin at $149,900 for a 1/1 and climb to $2,590,000 for four bedrooms plus a den and four bathrooms in the center of town on World famouse 5th Avenue South.
In Olde Naples, the Pier remains as our symbol of the humble yet treacherous beginnings we had endured. A swamp ridden, mosquito infested challenge which claimed fortunes and lives as people saw the natural beauty and aspired to create their dream. Now, one of those $10 lots can exceed $10,000,000 and residents fly here in private jets, drive here on Interstate 75 and journey here by yacht each winter. A lot has changed but much has remained the same and that is the charm of Naples and especially our beginnings in what we now call Olde Naples. When you're here take a walk on Broad Avenue and onto the Pier, at it's end close your eyes and listen. That's the sound that was heard a hundred years ago and it continues to be deafening!