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Looking Back - From the Air

This is one of the most fascinating old photos we have published over the past several years. Though it shows what is a hub of growth these days, it is seldom seen in aerials that have reached the Daily News. This is Pine Ridge Road in the late 1960s looking west, going past Goodlette-Frank Road and U.S. 41 toward the beach where Waterside Shops and The Registry Resort sit today. Note the light-colored, horizontal images at the northwest corner of Goodlette and Pine Ridge. Those are coops from the old egg farm.

Photo courtesy of Art Ullmann of Naples

This is one of the most fascinating old photos we have published over the past several years. Though it shows what is a hub of growth these days, it is seldom seen in aerials that have reached the Daily News. This is Pine Ridge Road in the late 1960s looking west, going past Goodlette-Frank Road and U.S. 41 toward the beach where Waterside Shops and The Registry Resort sit today. Note the light-colored, horizontal images at the northwest corner of Goodlette and Pine Ridge. Those are coops from the old egg farm.

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  • In 1963, Pine Ridge Road crept eastward (center) then turned into a dirt amid farmland at then-Airport Road. The airport itself at top left is the other key landmark in this remarkable photo.
  • By the early 1960s, the Collier County Government Center anchored the corner of U.S. 41 East and Airport Road (now Airport-Pulling Road). Naples Municipal Airport is at top left, and row crops flourished in the urban area. Today the government center is undergoing an expansion as striking as the arrival of the county seat from Everglades City must have been in the pictured era.
  • What started on Marco Island in the early 1960s ground to a halt 20 years later when the U.S. Supreme Court barred the dredging-and-filling that made Marco what it is today. This was the scene in 1964 at the main gateway on and off the island with the canals at Marco Island Yacht Club. That would be Bald Eagle Drive at right and San Marco Road visible from left to right, above.
  • Clouds provide an artistic array of shadows in this westward view of East Naples and Naples from east of then-Airport Road and Naples Municipal Airport in 1965. Photo owner and archivist Art Ullmann of Naples observes the Brookside development had taken shape at the west end of Estey Avenue near center, to the south of the airport.
  • Can you guess where? Think not Naples. Think north. Think toward Bonita Springs. Think looking south. This is the view in early 1969 looking from above Bonita Shores and south to Wiggins Pass — pre-high rises. Now do you 'see' it?
  • This is one of the most fascinating old photos we have published over the past several years. Though it shows what is a hub of growth these days, it is seldom seen in aerials that have reached the Daily News. This is Pine Ridge Road in the late 1960s looking west, going past Goodlette-Frank Road and U.S. 41 toward the beach where Waterside Shops and The Registry Resort sit today. Note the light-colored, horizontal images at the northwest corner of Goodlette and Pine Ridge. Those are coops from the old egg farm.
  • Where in the world? This is North Naples looking southwest in 1962. That is Pine Ridge Road running diagonally from left to right. Points of interest include Naples Airport, top left, and the farmland that prospered in what is the urban area today. The sites for Park Shore and Pelican Bay, upper right, remain untouched.
  • The aerial looking north at Lovers Key shows what is today known as Dog Beach — one of the few public beaches in Lee and Collier counties where accompanied canines can legally enjoy the sand and surf. That is at New Pass. South of New Pass is Big Hickory Island. Eagled-eyed locals can spot the old entrance to Carl E. Johnson County Park, left of the Bonita Causeway, that has been abandoned in favor of a larger entrance to a combined state Lovers Key/Johnson park today. That is Fort Myers Beach across Big Carlos Pass — with no high-rises to be found at today's Lovers Key Resort site — to the north.
  • The Dunes villas/condo project consumes the forested land at left in the Vanderbilt Beach photo, which looks south through Vanderbilt Lagoon. The bare area at right is today's Baker Carroll Point, home to still more condos. The entrance to Delnor Wiggins Pass State Recreation Area is at middle right. The bare area on the left horizon is today's Pelican Bay. Look hard and you can see the east-west bridge under construction on Bluebill Avenue. That's Gulfshore Drive that heads north and south up and down the beach that looks very different today.
  • This is the heart of Naples as seen looking north exactly 40 years ago — in August 1965, five years after Hurricane Donna. Key landmarks are Eighth Street, running diagonally from top to bottom. Fifth Avenue South is hard to see, running left (west) to right just above center. Check Cambier Park and its Community Center; both look a lot different today. The water tower came down in 1977 to make way for today's City Hall.
  • The Iona-McGregor part of Fort Myers was a center for gladiolus farming when this photo, looking southwest, was taken in 1969. That's McGregor Boulevard from top to bottom at left, leading to Punta Rassa, which is at the foot of the Sanibel Causeway that continues on to Sanibel Island. That is Shell Point Boulevard veering right to the beginnings of the Shell Point Village retirement center.
  • The lake at left is at — you'll never believe this — Naples' Lowdermilk Park in the early 1960s. Key roads are Gulf Shore Boulevard, top to bottom; and Banyan Boulevard, foreground. The photo itself tells the rest of the story.
  • This is how Gulfshore Square, across from Naples' Lowdermilk Park, looked soon after completion in 1970. The office-retail complex now is expanding, and the parts seen here (looking east) are nearly demolished. The new residential/commercial product will be called Charleston Square.
  • Here is a truly vintage shot of central Naples, looking southeast, featuring Naples Community Hospital. U.S. 41 is one block above or to the east of NCH, starting at Fourth Avenue North at left and running to Central Avenue at the right edge of the photo. The Gordon River is barely visible in white in the upper left corner. The undated photo — made by the Thomas McGrath studio and found in the Daily News files — appears to be circa 1960.
  • This was The Moorings neighborhood in 1968, well under way as Park Shore was getting started to the north (right). The curved road is Wedge Drive. U.S. 41 is at the extreme lower right tip of photo. Black object in middle foreground is part of the photographer's plane.
  • The year: 1970. The place: Naples High School (center) and vicinity. The football field remains in the same place but the rest of the campus now is reconfigured. A golf driving range is at left (now Gateway Shopping Center). Today's Coastland Center mall site is center, foreground. U.S. 41 is at left; Goodlette-Frank Road at right. Note the curved road and golf course at upper left.
  • 	In 1968 this is how a Collier landmark looked east of Naples. It's today's Port of the Islands resort, then known as Remuda Ranch. This view looks south toward the section which today features a vibrant neighborhood of condos and houses. Though not seen, U.S. 41 would run left to right — east to west — in this photo. The old inn area today is attempting yet another renaissance as condos and a convention center.
  • Not many communities can say they look much the same now as they did in 1969. But environmentally conscious Sanibel can say that, and mean it. That is the Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve and Tarpon Bay at right. Captiva is off the top right of the photo.
  • This is a fascinating photo for several reasons. One is the circa 1970 image of the Wiggins Pass Marina, which will become condominiums and a private yacht club north of Naples and south of Bonita Springs. That is Vanderbilt Drive from left to right. The road leading from U.S. 41 near the top of the photo directly to the old marina is Wiggins Pass Road. All of the people who now live and work in the area on either side of Wiggins Pass Road will want this photo as a souvenir.
  • This shows another waterfront vista from about 1961 — the Brookside neighborhood in East Naples. North Road and Naples Municipal Airport is at upper left. U.S. 41 runs from left to right below, with Davis Boulevard heading east off the right side of the photo. That’s a tiny real estate office amid a cleared lot on the north side of the intersection, where there are hotels and restaurants now. The rest of the Davis Triangle is starting to take shape. The Royal Harbor area would be of the bottom of the photo, to the south.
  • Ho, ho, ho. This was the view from Santa’s sleigh in 1957 as Seagate on the northern edge of the city of Naples was taking shape. The highlights of this vantage point today would be the former Registry Resort (now Naples Grande) and Pelican Bay; both would be to the left. The beach and Gulf are in foreground.
  • This 1953-54 photo is unusual. It shows Port Royal in its earliest years, looking north from Gordon Pass. Vast mansions rise from these rough-cut streets and cleared lots today. Readers can clearly see that most of Port Royal remained to be carved, dredged and filled — to the condition it is in today.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • This is a fascinating photo for several reasons. One is the circa 1970 image of the Wiggins Pass Marina, which will become condominiums and a private yacht club north of Naples and south of Bonita Springs. That is Vanderbilt Drive from left to right. The road leading from U.S. 41 near the top of the photo directly to the old marina is Wiggins Pass Road. All of the people who now live and work in the area on either side of Wiggins Pass Road will want this photo as a souvenir.
  • This shows another waterfront vista from about 1961 — the Brookside neighborhood in East Naples. North Road and Naples Municipal Airport is at upper left. U.S. 41 runs from left to right below, with Davis Boulevard heading east off the right side of the photo. That’s a tiny real estate office amid a cleared lot on the north side of the intersection, where there are hotels and restaurants now. The rest of the Davis Triangle is starting to take shape. The Royal Harbor area would be of the bottom of the photo, to the south.
  • Ho, ho, ho. This was the view from Santa’s sleigh in 1957 as Seagate on the northern edge of the city of Naples was taking shape. The highlights of this vantage point today would be the former Registry Resort (now Naples Grande) and Pelican Bay; both would be to the left. The beach and Gulf are in foreground.
  • This 1953-54 photo is unusual. It shows Port Royal in its earliest years, looking north from Gordon Pass. Vast mansions rise from these rough-cut streets and cleared lots today. Readers can clearly see that most of Port Royal remained to be carved, dredged and filled — to the condition it is in today.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • An aerial view of Port Royal in the early 1960s looks southwest.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Enchanting, we're sure. This is the setting in 1971 in East Naples at Enchanting Acres mobile home park, off U.S. 41 (then two lanes) just east of Airport-Pulling Road (then Airport Road). The former population center and landmark now is surrounded by heavier development and is easily overlooked by passers-by.
  • 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.
  • Until the early 1980s it was called Kelly Road. Now it is Bayshore Drive. But the name of the mobile home park featured in this undated postcard has not changed. It’s still Moorhead Manor, shown in this view looking east, with the entry off Bayshore in foreground.
  • An aerial of Wildcat Run taken in 1987. The community came to life in 1984.
  • This 1981 photo looks southeast over the Imperial River, Anglers Paradise, the intersection of U.S. 41 and Bonita Beach Road and shows the early days of the Spanish Wells development in the background. Spanish Wells was platted in 1979 and was in its initial construction when this aerial photograph was taken.
  • This aerial view shows Anglers Paradise, looking east, and U.S. 41 with the then-new bridge over the Imperial River. The photo was taken in 1981.
  • A view looking northwest to the Imperial River. The intersection at the bottom of the photo is Bonita Beach Road and U.S. 41, while the open area to the right is what would later become Bonita Bay. Estero Bay is in the background. This is one of three aerial photographs in today's Sunday Banner, dating from 1979 to 1981.
  • View in the late 1950s looking west. That is Old Naples leading south to Aqualane Shores at left. That is East U.S. 41 and the Gordon River Bridge at right. Royal Harbor and its finger canals are taking shape at lower left. What is missing? Boat Haven, on the triangular piece of land to the right of center. It has since given way to Naples Bay Marina, a mixed use development with docks.
  • You'll never guess. It's Port of the Islands in 1968, looking north, bisected by east-west U.S. 41. Then it was known as Remuda Ranch. The main resort area, now surrounded by houses and condos, is at left of center.
  • In the late 1950's before Hurricane Donna, this was the status of Park Shore, one of the Naples area's most lush and successful subdivisions of shopping, condos, houses, beaches and boating. U.S. 41 is at upper right. This view looks north.
  • The start of modern-day Marco Island in 1964.
  • 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.
  • 1984 overview looking south down Faka Union Canal to the Ten Thousand Islands includes 3,300-foot airstrip at right, resort hotel and sites of today's homes. U.S. 41 is in foreground.
  • With plane wing above, this mid-1980s looks west, toward Naples some 22 miles away, at Port of the Islands.
  • The vista of the Ten Thousand Islands comes at the south of the Faka Union, at bottom right.
  • The big picture, made about 1985, of Port of the Islands looking northeast.
  • Naples' beachfront in 1956 — What? No high-rises? No mega-houses? No big streets? What kind of place is this? It is the core of Naples' beachfront in 1956 — four years before Hurricane Donna. That is the Haldeman House at center, bottom. Naples Pier would be below and to the left of that. That is the landmark Naples Hotel at center and slightly left. Old-timers can find lots more among the details — the Quonset hut movie theater, for example. Published March 12, 2006
  • Poinciana Village, 1971 — This photo looks due west — from today’s Airport-Pulling Road, known simply as Airport Road when the photo was made in 1971 from above today’s Grey Oaks subdivision. Still see those criss-crossing road patterns and golf courses? The star of both photos is the Poinciana Village neighborhood, now — as is true of almost everything else around it these days — fully developed. From south to north, the golf courses to the west of Poinciana today are Wilderness, Hole in the Wall and Royal Poinciana. Published March 12, 2006
  • Poinciana Village, late 1950s — Note the criss-crossing roads in the squared off land area in the aerial view that looks southwest. Note the surroundings, including the wide open spaces and the golf courses taking shape. The time frame is the late 1950s. Published March 12, 2006
  • In 1950, before dredging, this was the shape of today’s Old Marco Village on Bald Eagle Drive, right. Big Marco Pass is at top of photo; land to left is today’s Hideaway Beach.
  • Naples Municipal Airport is the lead landmark looking north in 1961. Note what is missing — the County
Government Center — at Airport Road and U.S. 41 East.
  • The beginnings of Golden Gate “city” in 1963.
  • This vintage 1961 aerial photo of Naples is striking for what is there — the City Dock and adjoining low-rise buildings near today's Dock Restaurant site at Crayton Cove. It is striking for what is not there — just about everything else that is there today, especially The Cove Inn (at lower right), condos and mega-houses.
  • Naples Bay — This rare and spacious northeasterly vista of Naples Bay, with Naples Municipal Airport in the background, is from 1969. Long before the big-time development of today, the area of Tin City is at upper left. The old Boat Haven, now the site of the emerging Naples Bay Resort, is at upper right. There is plenty more to 'see' that wasn't there at the time.

Enjoy these aerial views of the Southwest Florida of yesteryear.

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