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Looking Back: Historical photos, postcards from Naples

Before there were plans for fancy shops and condos, and before bait shrimp were kept in this holding tank, Boat Haven Marina on U.S. 41 East kept now-protected loggerhead turtles on display. This is the front of an undated postcard that says, 'Visit America's finest small boat marina located on Naples Bay.'

Postcard courtesy of Robert McDaniel of Naples

Before there were plans for fancy shops and condos, and before bait shrimp were kept in this holding tank, Boat Haven Marina on U.S. 41 East kept now-protected loggerhead turtles on display. This is the front of an undated postcard that says, "Visit America's finest small boat marina located on Naples Bay."

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  • This is a classic. Ruth Pascoe of Naples sent in this snapshot of her made 40 years ago at Vanderbilt Beach in 1970. Nice sunglasses. Nice work by the industrious photographer. Note the small white building on the shore at right. That is not a beach bungalow. That is a hotel. Pascoe recalls it was named Seaside.
  • The old postcard here seems simple enough. We’ve seen ones like it many times before. But for Phyllis Mathers of Naples, it brings back a great story and great memories. Here is the letter she sent to us with the card: The year was 1965. I was in line at the register in the former Grant’s store (now Marshall’s and Office Depot at Naples Shopping Center) perusing the postcard rack. The red and white sail in the picture caught my eye, and the “1600” on the sail confirmed the fact that the boat was my son Shannon’s. On closer examination, I realized the gathering on the beach was indeed our friends and family. That’s Shannon sitting down facing the Gulf and the Ewing family boys, John and Joe, sitting beside him. The two girls lying down are Shannon’s cousins. The girl soaking up the sun on the right is Beckie Brack. Apparently they can take your picture and print it without getting permission, and this particular picture was on note cards and a calendar. We cherish the memory of all the hours on the beach and sailing.
  • It's a photo that has all the elements to tell the story: A lone Seminole Indian and canoe, the wildlife and the Everglades and a poster urging the public to buy, buy, buy. The scene was east of Naples, identified only as Tamiami Canal. Today, billions are spent to undo the environmental damage. The 1920 photo is from the collection of Claude C. Matlach. Glimpses such as the one above are part of 'The Roaring Twenties in Miami Beach and Miami' exhibit at the Southern Florida Historical Museum in Miami or on your personal computer.
  • Believe it or not, this is the La Playa resort on Vanderbilt Beach in 1968, long before the facelifts that made it what it is today and the parking lot/tennis court was turned into a parking garage. The year of this scene: 1968. The resort was a 'motor inn' at the time.
  • The Siesta Terrace Motel - 'seven blocks to the center of town' - gave way to the Thunderbird Motel and now hosts NCH Healthcare System's downtown wellness center at U.S. 41 and Fourth Avenue North. Courtesy of Nina Webber.
  • The old Anchorage Motel on Naples' Third Street South, now condos catered to a 'select clientele.' Courtesy of Nina Webber.
  • Those were the days, when a Naples landmark restaurant was topped by a small apartment and grand outdoor patio. The site? Clues: It's on the Gordon River as it heads south into Naples Bay. That's an abutment of a bridge over the Gordon River at left. It's Kelly's Fish House, built in 1952. The photo is from an approximately 2-by-4-inch undated business card touting Kelly's seafood, key lime pie and fried chicken; phone, Midway 2-5481.
  • The year: 1966. The setting: Gordon River/Naples Bay. The site: Now the warehouse at lower right is Tin City, an enclave of stores and restaurants. The boats at lower left are docked at what was and still is Kelly's Fish House.
  • A blend of old and new — circa 1929. This classic image from the Romer Collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library shows Seminoles and a Goodyear blimp. Gleason Waite Romer, who died in 1971, photographed South Florida by air and land for newspapers and as a freelancer for 25 years until the 1950s. 'Because of these different occupations and his wonderful eye for capturing a moment of time we have beautiful and enduring snapshots of life in early South Florida,' says the Miami-Dade Public Library, which features the Romer Collection in Miami and online.
  • This photo — of the 1950s Naples baseball team — was published in 2005 in our Perspective section and we wondered if readers would know any of their names. Ivie Weeks of Naples knows all of them. Her husband, David, was on the team. From left, front row, they are: Coach George Smith Sr., Pat Hodges, Larry Ledbetter, David Weeks and Norman Weeks; middle row, from left: Manager B.D. Hyder, John Ledbetter, David Parker, Wesley Briggs, Bill Parker, Tommy Lacey and Jack Mills; top, row, from left: Huge Riner (umpire), Ken Hogue, Herb Henning, George O'Green and John E. Hogue. Teams from Immokalee, Fort Myers, Estero, LaBelle, Moore Haven and Citrus Center — a prison — provided competition. Home games were Sunday afternoons in Cambier Park. David Weeks, then a pitcher, recalls the whole town turned out to watch. The season was in summer, and the uniforms were of wool flannel. The Weeks' great-grandfather, Madison Weeks, came to Naples for the first time with his family in 1873. The pioneering Weeks clan sold its Gordon Pass homestead for $450 and moved on in 1855 because the area was getting too crowded. George Smith Jr., a son of Coach Smith, reports it was the second time the Daily News showed his dad in a Looking Back feature.
  • The year? Probably 1966, but definitely no sooner than 1964, says the owner of this photo. She is Linda Innis, whose name was Linda Lange when she was standing at left in the second row from the top. (The sixth student from left in the top row is Don Hunter, who has traded his baritone for a badge as sheriff of Collier County.) Naples Junior High held classes at what today is Gulfview Middle School.
  • Brad Harris, who was raised and still lives in Naples, is in the middle of the front row of this Class of 1959 portrait of the St. Ann altar boy corps. Harris does not recall the names of the priests at left and right in the back row.
  • The Briggs family name personifies early Naples' wealth and philanthropy. In 1960 Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Briggs observed their 50th wedding anniversary with a grand party, commemorated by this Feb. 18, 1960 photo.
  • Wanda Rimes Rodriguez of Naples adds her personal insights about of the Crayton Cove gas station. 'My parents, Ronnie and Evelyn Rimes, were the owners and operators of the Crayton Cove Standard Oil station in the early 1960s. 'The picture is of my daddy at the station in his uniform. The calendar on the wall behind him is hard to make out, but it is either 1963 or 1964. Obviously it was a slow day, as he was messing with his guitar, but life in Naples was generally lived at a slower, gentler pace in those days. Very few people are left in Naples today who still remember the old station being down there. Seeing the picture postcard in the paper really made my day! By the way, my father passed away in 1981 but my mother is still with us.'
  • Dorothy Caruthers of Naples is a regular contributor to the Daily News. Today she is part of it. She shares these 1972 scenes of a now-remodeled and enlarged Fifth Avenue South complex, Colony Court, with offices over shops. She sold real estate there. A personal snapshot shows the courtyard featured palm trees and round stepping stones.
  • A circa 1972 clipping from Naples Today magazine shows Dorothy Caruthers of Naples heading back to work at a now-remodeled and enlarged Fifth Avenue South complex, Colony Court after lunch. Caruthers sold real estate.
  • Got $13,200 for a half-acre lot in Port Royal? That was the starting offer in 1961-62 for the upscale subdivision that set the tone for others that followed in Naples. The price included membership in the neighborhood's beach club. The simple ambience of the Port Royal Club in the early 1960s; it remains much the same today.
  • The beginnings of Naples dredge-and-fill projects such as Aqualane Shores, Royal Harbor and Port Royal stand out in this 1959 aerial, looking south, that seems made with a special high-contrast lens filter. Those are clouds at the top of the picture.
  • It is 1963. You are in a final approach from the southwest, flying into Naples Municipal Airport. Among the many changes since then is the density of development on the west shore of the Gordon River and Naples Bay. Courtesy of Bob Geroy, a director of an operation that knows this view very well — the Collier Mosquito Control District.
  • Here is another breathtaking aerial of Collier County mosquito control methods of yesteryear. Like the shot shared last week by Bob Geroy, a longtime member of the local bug board, these show 1970s combat on Marco Island. In fact, new residents caught unaware at the time wondered if war had been declared — with early-morning spray assaults at full speed at altitudes near tops of trees and roofs. Now the same job is handled by smaller planes using different chemicals and higher altitudes while most of us sleep.
  • The year is 1972. The place is Gulf Shore Boulevard North, where high-rise condos now dominate the skyline. Horizon House was among the first — and not really a high-rise by today's standards. Chet McDowell was the Horizon's doorman at the time and still lives in Naples. He made these photos that capture a different time in the city of Naples. This view looks to the north from the Horizon's rooftop. This view looks across the bay, where houses tend to be much larger these days.
  • The year is 1972. The place is Gulf Shore Boulevard North, where high-rise condos now dominate the skyline. Horizon House was among the first — and not really a high-rise by today's standards. Chet McDowell was the Horizon's doorman at the time and still lives in Naples. He made these photos that capture a different time in the city of Naples.
  • The Lutheran Church at Goodlette-Frank Road and Burning Tree Drive sits today where the old farm buildings were that later became apartments, says Bonnie Veenschoten of Naples. It was called Bradley Farms. Her family rented there when they first moved to Naples in 1954. 'The brick silo on the right will be recognized by oldtimers,' she writes. 'The Gulfshore Insurance building stands there now. Goodlette was a dirt road that ended at Pine Ridge Road. Behind the apartments, a barbed wire fence kept in cattle including Brahma bulls.'
  • Not much has changed at Naples’ River Park neighborhood, foreground, where this photo looking west was made in 1969, before Anthony Park was developed from the woods at right. The city utilities plant is at left (south). Goodlette-Frank Road runs left-to-right near the middle of the photo, with railroad tracks slightly above. Note how the tracks veer to the west just before Fifth Avenue North. River Park residents are taking notice of the soaring real estate prices experienced elsewhere in Collier County. One small house on one-fifth of an acre on a canal today is listed for $499,900.
  • The year: 1971. The view: southeast from the site of the Regency Towers condominium in Naples north of Doctors Pass (see jetty at top right). The price of a condo back then: $83,000. This is the back of a sales brochure, with the site shown in a white rectangle above the company logo. The tree-lined Verdado Way beach access/parking lot is easily seen at center.
  • This aerial shot from the 1960s show the train tracks heading to the Naples Depot. The first train steamed into the not-quite-finished depot on Jan. 7, 1927. Fifteen years later, the railroad shut down its service to Naples, and sold off its holdings to Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. On April 21, 1971 the last passenger train pulled out of the Naples Depot. Freight service continued until 1980.
  • The year is 1927. The scene is the Naples Depot as workers add the finishing touches. 
The scene is from a postcard issued by the Collier County Museum, which is making the depot part of its countywide network of historic preservation and storytelling.
  • Before there were plans for fancy shops and condos, and before bait shrimp were kept in this holding tank, Boat Haven Marina on U.S. 41 East kept now-protected loggerhead turtles on display. This is the front of an undated postcard that says, 'Visit America's finest small boat marina located on Naples Bay.'
  • At this busy time of year, when roads and parking are stressed to the max, this 1958 postcard of downtown Naples' Fifth Avenue South looks like a place you would like to be. This card is common in collector circles, but visitors always get a kick out of seeing it.
  • It's an old view of a downtown that is being redeveloped. But it's not Naples. It's downtown Fort Myers. We're guessing this postcard, officially undated, is circa 1950s.
  • Old Jungle Larry's African Safari Flyer
Caribbean Gardens Brochure
Submitted by Nina Webber
  • The water tower that used to highlight the Naples skyline is brought back to life by Chester McDowell of Naples in these unusually clear snapshots made in 1968. One view appears to look north on Eighth Street near today's City Hall; the other includes an Old Naples home from the city's more modest, simple era. The water tower was dismantled in the spring of 1977, as part of the construction of the then-new City Hall.
  • This view of the water tower that used to highlight the Naples skyline includes an Old Naples home from the city's more modest, simple era. The water tower was dismantled in the spring of 1977, as part of the construction of the then-new City Hall. Photo courtesy Chester McDowell
  • Snow? No, it's white sand in The Moorings, Naples, in 1964. Bob Lindabury, former owner of a namesake garden center, parked his 1959 Ford Fairlane to check progress on his home (not shown) under construction — the first house on Harbour Drive. The Ford was the company vehicle. This view looks west toward U.S. 41. Lindabury says the lot was shown to him by Realtor John R. Wood, who was driving a Jeep and joked that Harbour Drive then should have been called Hardly Drive. Gunshots from hunters were common sounds on weekends, Lindabury recalls.

These historical photos were published in 2005 in the Sunday Perspective section of the Naples Daily News.

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