Historic Naples, Florida

Historic Naples, Florida

Gordon Pass in Naples, Florida
Gordon Pass then and now.

Naples, Florida offers a bit of the old and new to visiting cruisers.

Naples, Florida, is and always has been about the water. Surrounded by the Gordon River, Naples Bay, Gordon Pass, and the Gulf of Mexico, Naples began as—and remains—a maritime haven.

Centuries before Columbus, the area we know as Naples, Florida was inhabited by the Calusa Indians. They were the earliest to harvest fish and clams from the surrounding waters. They were were canal excavators long before Spain staked claim in 1513 to what is now Florida. By the early 1700s, Seminoles became the dominant native tribe on the waterfront until the mid-1850s when they were driven inland by the U.S. Army.

After the Civil War, small numbers of farmers and squatters made their way to Southwest Florida by wagon, ox cart, and even sailboats. Naples evolved into a boating community with abundant fish and game. The bay’s beauty was thought to surpass that of the bay in Naples, Italy, hence its name. By the time the town was officially founded in 1886, Naples had already attracted investors and gained popularity as a winter resort for wealthy Northerners.

Storied Past