In 1876, two brothers, John and Madison Weeks, were the first permanent residents of Naples as they settled near the northern edge of present-day Gordon Pass. In 1881, Hamilton Disston purchased four million acres of Florida real estate, the largest amount of property purchased privately in US history – rescuing the state from bankruptcy.
In 1885 Kentucky resident, Walter Haldeman was recruited by Louisville Senator, General John S. Williams to establish a city. The two men sailed along the coast and discovered Naples, which led to the purchase of 112 lots in Naples in 1887. Work soon began on the Hotel Naples with twenty rooms and six cottages and a 600-foot pier to serve as a lifeline to the outside world. Due to a lack of fast and affordable railroad service, in 1890, the town which was suffering financially auctioned off the pier, hotel, ships, and undeveloped land to Walter Haldeman for $50,000.
On December 1, 1923, the Town of Naples was incorporated as a municipality under Chapter 9846 of the Laws of Florida, Special Acts of Legislature. On June 13, 1949, the Town of Naples charter was abolished, and the City of Naples was created as a municipal corporation in the state of Florida; a governmental designation based on population growth among other things.
On December 1, 2023, the City will celebrate its 100th anniversary of incorporation. In preparation for this milestone, staff has been working with Mayor Heitmann to develop a framework for celebrating the Centennial! Events, fundraisers, artwork, projects, and other various forms of celebration can be endorsed by the City to help commemorate the Centennial. All Centennial endorsed celebrations will be added to our Centennial calendar. We encourage and welcome the community to celebrate this Centennial year in your own unique ways and share them with us on our website!