Since Joseph’s Custom Clothiers opened a new location in Naples, Florida, we thought it well past time for us to introduce all of our readers to beautiful Southwest Florida!
In 2009, Naples was ranked as one of 10 pricey cities that was worth its high cost by US News and World Report (along with our other hometown, New York). It’s easy to see why! Nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and the Everglades, Naples combines breathtaking natural beauty with relaxed, sophisticated living in one of the world’s most desirable tropical locations. There are sandy beaches, world-class golf courses and exciting eco-adventures. And when you are done soaking up the sun, a vast array of businesses and services, including world-class shopping and restaurants, satisfy every need and desire. A vibrant arts and entertainment scene, together with an extraordinary assortment of community and charity events, brings a cosmopolitan flair to the Naples way of life.
How did it all get started?
When Florida gained its statehood in 1821, most people thought of Southwest Florida as an area of wilderness and swampland. It was Walter N. Halderman, owner-publisher of the Louisville Courier Journal, and General John S. Williams, a prominent Kentucky politician, who “discovered” Naples in 1885 and promoted the area as a refuge for northerners who would like to escape the bitter cold winters of the Northeast United States. It is believed the first sunset they saw reminded the two gentlemen of similar sunsets in Naples, Italy, hence the name, “Naples,” came into being.
Many years passed before any major development in what is today prosperous Naples. Records show that there were only ten families living near Everglades City, and that there were ten businesses in the area. The first construction in Naples, in 1889, was the building of a 16-room hotel and the 600-foot-long Naples Municipal Pier. The pier enabled large boats to dock at the end, and it later became a popular spot for fishing and watching the sunset.
Halderman’s family ran the hotel until 1914, when E. W. Crayton purchased the business, setting the foundation for the beautiful and well-planned city we know today. In the following year, the Naples Hotel was expanded, becoming the center stage for social life. A single-lane shell road was built between Naples and Ft. Myers, allowing the city to slowly start to grow. Also around that time, the first golf course was built, and replaced around 1932 with what is still today the Naples Golf and Beach Club.
But it wasn’t until a visionary advertising magnate named Baron Gift Collier came into town that the city finally got the funding to finish the uncompleted Tamiami Trail, which would provide a much-needed link to the east coast of the Florida Peninsula. Collier’s plan also included the purchase of Useppa Island in his first trip, and many more acres of land within the next years, allowing him to eventually own over a million acres across Southwest Florida.
Collier also presented a plan during a session of the Florida Legislature convened in 1923 for better drainage and transportation, without which Naples was destined to remain a small town. Many great developments followed, including an airport, streets, homes, beach restorations and mosquito control programs. The generosity of many families contributed time and money to provide recreational areas such as Cambier Park, Caribbean Gardens, Delnor State Park, Lowdermilk Park and Fleischman Park. The city opened a fully equipped and accredited hospital. The elegant Third Street South shopping area was built.
The building activities of this era attracted new businesses, such as banks, restaurants, real estate and retail businesses. Specialty shops closed from May 15th to October 15th, with the proprietors leaving the area. The population doubled during the winter months, providing an active social life in the few established private country clubs and private homes, with cocktail parties, dinner parties and fund-raising benefits. All of this added up to a great foundation for what Naples has become today:
- Beaches. Naples’ white sand beaches are some of the best in the world. The Travel Channel rated Naples’ beaches #1 in 2005, and they consistently get on top ten lists of the best beaches in the world.
- Low to No Crime. Crime is so low, people often move to Naples sight unseen after they Google the Naples crime rate.
- Noncommercial. Naples homes are not surrounded by tall, buildings that block the sun and skyline. The local government has strong restrictions on signs, billboards and building height in the city of Naples.
- Dining. Naples has some of the best dining in the United States, on par with major metropolises like New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
- Pristine. The word “pristine” comes up often when explaining Naples to an outsider. It best describes the litterless streets, low crime, small signs, clean beaches, expertly shaped landscaping and conscious efforts of residents to keep it that way. Neapolitans respect their piece of paradise and work hard to ensure its continued beauty.
- Boating, Fishing, Golf. Naples has some of the best waterfront in the world. Fishing and golf are not hobbies here, they are ways of life.
- Sunsets. Sunsets in Naples are very special, to say the least. Around the time of the setting sun, if you venture down any of the Olde Naples avenues that end at the Gulf, you are bound to be shoulder-to-shoulder with several others looking west. When the sun hits the horizon, put your cocktail down and join the clapping, for you have just witnessed one of the most sacred moments on the Gulf: sunset. And, if you’re lucky, one day, if you don’t blink, you will see the elusive “green flash” at the moment the sun vanishes below the horizon.
All of this and more are the reasons there are no questions to ask about why we are so proud to announce the Grand Opening of our new Showroom down in Naples! If you’re in the area, visit us at:
The Shops at Naples Bay Resort
1500 5th. Ave. South
Naples, FL 34102