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Looking Back: Historical photos, postcards from Naples, Southwest Florida

The Enchanting Shores mobile home park in East Naples is the centerpiece of this aerial dated 1974. U.S. 41 East was two lanes. That's Naples Bay in the distance to the west.

Courtesy Joan Hill

The Enchanting Shores mobile home park in East Naples is the centerpiece of this aerial dated 1974. U.S. 41 East was two lanes. That's Naples Bay in the distance to the west.

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  • Anyone for swimming? They surely don't look dressed for tennis, at least by today's standards. This undated promotional Naples postcard was part of a souvenir package put out by the Edwin M. Watson real estate firm.
  • Here's a picture of a 17-foot sawfish (angler unknown) caught in the early 1950s at the Naples Pier. You were allowed to shark fish form the pier in those days. The shark and sawfish would move into the pier area during January and February after the black mullet run.
  • Jungle Larry collected wild creatures for many years in many lands. He was formerly with Frank 'Bring 'Em Back Alive' Buck. Millions saw Jungle Larry on TV and at Cedar Point, Ohio, and also Naples-on-the-Gulf, Florida. This undated promotional Naples postcard was part of a souvenir package put out by the Edwin M. Watson real estate firm.
  •  In 1965, Naples Mayor Archie Turner presided over the city's 40th anniversary party. Queen of the event was Mrs. Jerry Capuano, in an era before the Collier County News — and later the Daily News — published married women's own first names. The rest of the caption says: 'The judging took place in the downtown parking lot on Friday evening with a crowd of more than 1,500 partygoers present. The mayor is properly attired for dunking.'
  • We have published older photos in this space over the years — but few as illuminating. This is the Downtown Rotary Club of Naples softball team about 30 years ago — either the very end of the 1970s or the start of the '80s. Top row from left: Al Actistino, Doug Rogers, John Nocera, Al Hackney, unidentified, Bill Minarich and Dave Claypool; kneeling: Hank Caballero, Don Hashagen, Corbin Wyant, Tom Bringardner and Nick Kalvin.
  • The year: 1967. The event: the pageant for Naples' Swamp Buggy Queen. The caption on this Collier County News photo said: 'In a typical Collier County setting, amid palms and palmettos, 15 of the 20 contestants who will vie for the 1967 Crown of Swamp Buggy Days Queen, pose with one of the unique vehicles which give the festival its name. Elimination competition for choosing eight finalists, who will then compete at the Swamp Buggy Coronation Ball, slated for Saturday night, will be held tomorrow at 8 p.m. in the Naples Senior High School Auditorium. Admission is free and those who attend will be asked to help select eight girls for the final running. Shown above, not necessarily in the order in which they appear, are Cindy Slezsak, Vickie Batcher, Patsy Langford, Gail Below, Debra Engel, Paula Burke, Rebecca Paul, Susan Shearer, Sue Kengel, Julane Brandt, Roni Hill, Ann Scott, Kathy Hendry, Doo Breeden and Karla Pearce.' The winner: Miss Langford, now Pat Martin, is at right of the group of four girls, back row, standing on the buggy.
  • 	Saluting is big for photo opportunities these days. It was big in 1967 too, judging by this feature photo from the Collier County News, the Daily News' predecessor. 'The Mario Rossi children pay tribute to half of the team that made it all possible,' says the caption. 'Left to right are: Dad, Debbi, 17, Pam, 16, Nancy, 14, Mary Ann, 12, Joanne, 11, Lou Ann, 10, John, 9, Anne Marie, 7, and James, 6. Mama Rossi didn't get in the picture, preferring that Daddy hold the spotlight all by himself.'
  • According to Merle Surrency Harris, who watched the Orange Blossom Special pull into Naples on Jan. 7, 1927, “There were many introductions and speakers, with lots of pomp and ceremony popular in those days. Bouquets were presented to certain ladies and when the speeches finally ended, a parade formed with the VIPs and pretty girls in the lead ... .” Seaboard’s arrival was heralded by what the Collier County News called “the largest celebration in the honor of the opening of a new railroad line in the nation’s history” that showcased “the beauties and possibilities of the little gulfside city.’’
  • Editors of the Naples News called it the 'mystery buggy' in the early 1970s, as they prepared to run this undated photo for the now-defunct 'Visitors Edition.' The photo, originally published on April 25, 1979, is taken from the Daily News' archive of photos from the Bonita Springs area and shows a beach 'buggy' that would be the predecessor of the beach trolleys of today.
  • JFK half-dollars, which were becoming 'collector's items,' were in the bag in this 1967 Collier Daily News photo. Gene Turner, president of First National Bank, was donating 200 of the valuable coins to Mrs. Dallas Reach, a Naples Community Hospital volunteer, for sale at a hospital auxiliary charity event. The caption spoke in serious tones about the bank going to great lengths — to Jacksonville — to secure the coins.
  • Copy photo of 'Mother' Madeline Bowles, the founder of Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ. The church started in Copeland in 1944, with services led by Bowles. The church moved to Naples where services were held in her home, then moved to a small, wooden building in McDonald's Quarters in River Park in 1958.
  • The original caption for this mid-1960s Collier County News photo puts it into historical context: 'PIONEER SETTLERS — The whole face of Naples has changed in the past 25 years and links with the past are fast disappearing. However, these two early residents, both still living, were among the first to help shape the famed Naples image. Mrs. E.C. Crayton arrived in 1917 and Crayton Cove was named after her husband, one of the first real estate developers here. Speed Menefee, right, the city's first mayor, came right after the Spanish-American War and has never left Naples.' Crayton and Menefee died within a few weeks of each other in 1968.
  • 'Municipal Yacht Basin. Crayton Cove has facilities to accommodate more than one hundred luxury yachts, charter boats and smaller craft.' This undated promotional Naples postcard was part of a souvenir package put out by the Edwin M. Watson real estate firm.
  • This undated promotional Naples postcard was part of a souvenir package put out by the Edwin M. Watson real estate firm. Caption: Broad Avenue in the heart of downtown Naples. This is only one of many beautiful palm-lined streets for which Naples is famed.
  • No fancy sales centers of clubhouses in those days — just branch offices such as this one to market new subdivisions. This Caribbean Realty outpost was at U.S. 41 North and Costello Drive, flanked by a tire shop and the now-vacant site of the Witch’s Brew. Sorrento Gardens to the east of 41 was advertised as “A Nice Place To Live’’ — high and dry, affordable and “excellent water.” Undated photo courtesy of Yvette and Greg Whitaker of Naples, from the collection of their late father, Les Whitaker, who was a prominent local Realtor. Readers with memorabilia to share are encouraged to call the Perspective editor at 263-4773.
  • In 1952, long before Naples beach houses were as big as hotels, Jan and Carl Hertzberg above, built on First Avenue North. The natural pine woodwork and low ceilings in the living room were typical of the era. Buckets of fresh seafood were 50 cents apiece from net fishermen who frequented the Hertzbergs' 'front yard.'
  • 'Lavish landscaping. Naples' climate is ideal for abundant growth of every tropical planting — orchids, bougainvillea, poinsettia, jasmine and gardenia.' This undated promotional Naples postcard was part of a souvenir package put out by the Edwin M. Watson real estate firm.
  • The Enchanting Shores mobile home park in East Naples is the centerpiece of this aerial dated 1974. U.S. 41 East was two lanes. That's Naples Bay in the distance to the west.
  • Looking north, the Bayshore Drive area of East Naples looked a lot different in 1968 than it does today. Back then the north-south Bayshore was called Kelly Road. The public boat launch was taking shape at left on Naples Bay opposite Port Royal. Today's Windstar neighborhood takes up most of the vacant land in the middle and upper middle of the photo.
  • Now a hotbed of development, the former Kelly Road area of East Naples was barely waking up in 1963 — three years after Hurricane Donna. Kelly Road, running diagonally top to bottom to the right of center, is now named Bayshore Drive. Thomasson Drive runs left to right just above center. Naples Bay is at left.
  • Now a hotbed of development, the former Kelly Road area of East Naples was beginning to wake up in this January 1969 photo. Kelly Road, running left to right across the bottom of the photo, is now named Bayshore Drive. U.S. 41 East runs just across the bottom right corner. Haldeman Creek runs right through the middle of the picture, connecting to Naples Bay. The homes of Port Royal and then the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico are at the top of the photo. The large open space in the bottom right quadrant fronting U.S. 41 East are the beginnings of Gulfgate Plaza, which now houses a BigLots, a popular Chinese buffet eatery and many other stores.
  • What's that taking shape to the lower right of Naples Municipal Airport in 1967 in this view looking west? 
It's the swamp buggy track and grounds that moved farther east about 20 years later and now seeks another move, toward Immokalee. This photo tells many stories.
  • The words of Art Ullmann, contributor of many of our photos of yesteryear, sum up this one in a sentence: 'Radio Road, from the airport to County Road 951 (now Collier Boulevard), with nothing in between.' The year: 1965.
  • We are accustomed to aerial photos of Naples' formative years. Though this one is only a few years older than most, made in 1958, it is much harder to tell exactly where it is. Photo owner Art Ullmann of Naples says that's Doctors Pass in its original form at left. The Moorings, before dredging, is in the middle and Coquina Sands is taking shape at right. Naples Airport is at upper right.
  • With the sun glistening on the window of the photographer's plane, this northeasterly view in 1958 shows Naples' Port Royal and Royal Harbor dredge-and-fill projects well under way two years before Hurricane Donna. Keewaydin Island to the south and most of the area to the east, remain undeveloped.
  • No, it's not Crayton Cove — the area of the Naples City Dock as well as The Dock restaurant. It's a few blocks to the south, around the Naples Yacht Club. The view looks west and slightly south as Old Naples gives way at Aqualane Shores. Note the size of the houses and the spacing between them in this view which photo owner Art Ullmann says was made sometime in the 1960s.
  • Marco Island? Naples' Park Shore? Vanderbilt Beach? It's Fort Myers Beach, circa 1969, looking south from Matanzas Pass (foreground) to Big Carlos Pass and southward to Lovers Key and Bonita Springs. The pier at Times Square remains a shore landmark today.
  • From Club 41: It's a treasure: Dorothy Caruthers writes 'Everytime I see your pictures of collections of matchbooks from old restaurants around town, I wish you had this picture. Now you do.' In the early 1950s, Club 41 was one of the first restaurants in Naples, located just east of Four Corners on the north side of U.S. 41. It was small, very nice and with great Italian food. Joe Ray played piano, Joe Cleary tended bar and 'as advertised,' it was air-conditioned! The story goes that Mamie Tooke from the Bank of Naples took her only two employees to Club 41 on the last working day of each month. They had dinner there, then returned to the bank, prepared the monthly statements and could not go home until every Naples 'banked' penny was accounted for. This was often 1 or 2 a.m. Imagine my surprise, in 1978, when my 80-year-old mother handed me this ashtray and said, 'I didn't know how to tell you I took this the last time we went there.' I hugged her. It's a treasure.

Most of these historical photos were published in 2004 in the Sunday Perspective section of the Naples Daily News.

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