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Third Street South was born when Old Naples began in
the late nineteenth century. General John S. Williams and Walter N.
Haldeman sailed through Gordon Pass into a beautiful expanse of water
which General Williams is credited with naming, along with the town,
after the Bay of Naples in Italy. Heading a group of families from
Kentucky and Ohio, the two men formed the Naples Town Improvement
Company in 1886.
As access was only by water, the Naples Pier was constructed in 1889 (along with the magnificent wood frame Naples Hotel with its long enclosed porch facing the sea). A shell road was completed between Naples and Fort Myers in 1918 and, by 1919, the Mercantile Building, which still anchors Swan Court, had become the Seminole Market with the Western Union office upstairs. By the 1920�s, the Tamiami Trail connecting Miami, Naples and Tampa was complete. Over the years, the Naples Hotel became well known and visited by numerous celebrities including Thomas Edison, Gary Cooper and Daphne du Maurier. After World War II, the graceful growth of Third Street South began under the direction of businessman and philanthropist Julius Fleischmann, whom everyone knew as Junkie, and his wife, Dorette.
Charmed by the area, their first purchase was the Mercantile Building. They transformed it into an antique shop called the Antique Addict and stocked it with furniture and porcelains they purchased in Europe. Ultimately, they completed Swan Court and built many other buildings, as did others, which shop owners filled with the attractive clothes, decorations and other earthly delights that have always drawn people to shop and dine on Third Street South.
Today, Third Street South and Old Naples are on the National Register of Historic Places, and nearly uniquely along the Gulf of Mexico, have retained many of the original structures. Most importantly, the grace and charm that brought the first settlers here continues to draw their descendants and all the others who have since found this unforgettable place.
The well to do found Naples as an ideal get away with it's fabulous weather and beaches. Development really took off in the 1960's when Interstate 75 was constructed giving easy access to the area.
Today Naples has 50 plus golf courses, up scale gated communities,entertainment such as the Philharmonic Center For The Arts, community activities and annual events. World renowned shops, department stores and restaurants are prevalent in the Naples area.
Nearby is the Caribbean Gardens that is the home for endangered plants and animals. Also nearby the Corkscrew Swamp Wildlife Preserve and the Everglades.
Private schools, Collier County schools and four colleges give residents ample educational resources to draw from.
Naples Municipal Airport is a short distance from downtown with the larger SW Florida International Airport just about 30 miles north via I-75.
Click here for an interesting article from the
in 2002. Maybe dated but still relevant.
Bonita Springs was known for many years as that stretch
of vacant agriculture land between South Fort Myers and North Naples.
Now it is under fast development. Large residential subdivisions have
been established in recent years with more under construction. Retail
space has been created, and continues to be created, to support the
Bonita Springs is starting to rival Naples as a winter nesting place for the northern snow birds, an enduring term to describe the folks who come for a few months to get away from the harsh winters up north.
|The Golden Gate area mainly just east and
northeast of Naples is fast losing it's rural identity. You will find
moderately priced homes within this unincorporated area of Collier
County. Gated communities and golf courses are springing up almost