The Naples Pier, a landmark that once caught fire
The Naples Municipal Beach & Fishing Pier, or the Naples Pier as it is widely known, is the most visited landmark in Naples, Florida. Little do people know that this most photographed city destination once caught fire.
Built in the leap year of 1888 by the Kentucky-born Naples founder Walter Newmann Halderman and Captain James Canty as a passenger pier as well as a freight dock, the Naples Pier had train rails all along its length to transport freight and baggage at the dawn of the 1900s. It soon became a hub in the shore for fishing, cargo and entertaining.
In 1924, The Naples Pier was extended to its current 1,000+ feet length.
In 1922, a fire destroyed the post office that operated by the entrance of the Pier. It also made ashes of many wooden boards of the dock itself. The common story around is that a still lit discarded cigarette caused the accident.
But the Pier hasn’t been free of natural calamities. In 1910, due to a category 3 hurricane, reconstruction was necessary to bring back this 600-foot, T-shaped dock to the local community and tourists who have been much in love with it from the very beginning. This hurricane destroyed most of it.
In 1924, just two years after the fire, the Pier had reconstructed again. Although it kept most of its shape, it was extended to its current 1,000+ feet length.
Category 4 Hurricane Donna plummeted Collier County in September 1960. It destroyed the Naples Pier, just a few months after the City Council dropped its insurance policy. A local businessman, Lester Norris, donated $100,000 to partially pay the bill of almost $120,000 that the reconstruction project required.
Today Collier County’s main attraction, the Naples Municipal Beach & Fishing Pier, offers visitors one of the best beach environments in the USA. Recently reconstructed, this world known landmark is visited daily by hundreds of people to enjoy a stroll above the Gulf of Mexico horizon.
Hundreds come to celebrate amazing sunsets and moonsets, to be awed from the fireworks events of 4th of July and New Year’s Eve, to socialize, to look up to the stars, to fish, to get the best of Naples.
Recently, during a major overhaul, the Naples Pier was fitted with fire-resistant walking wood. The Naples City Council passed in November 2016 a smoking ban that includes the Naples Pier.
PS: No license needed to fish while on the Naples Pier. 🙂
Photo: Sunrise at Naples Pier on a foggy January day of 2013 © 2013 Cesar Alsina
Photo: Sunset at Naples Pier with Moon at 7pm © 2015 Cesar Alsina
Photo: Moonset over Naples Pier © 2015 Michelle Tricca
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