The city of Naples was founded during the late 1880s by former Confederate general and Kentucky U.S. Senator John Stuart Williams and his partner, Louisville businessman Walter N. Haldeman, the publisher of the Louisville Courier-Journal. Throughout the 1870s and '80s, magazine and newspaper stories telling of the area's mild climate and abundant fish and game likened it to the sunny Italian peninsula. The name Naples caught on when promoters described the bay as "surpassing the bay in Naples, Italy". Major development was anticipated after the railroad reached Naples on January 7, 1927, and the Tamiami Trail linking Naples to Miami was completed in 1928, but did not begin until after the Great Depression and World War II. During the war the U.S. Army Air Forces built a small airfield and used it for training purposes; it is now the Naples Municipal Airport.
Fill was required to repair damage from a 1945 hurricane. A local dredging company, Forrest Walker & Sons, created a lake north of 16th Avenue S, between Gordon Drive and Gulf Shore Boulevard. In 1949, Forrest Walker asked Mr. Rust to sell him the 296 acres (120 ha) from Jamaica Channel to today's 14th Avenue S. The Jamaica Channel was widened, one canal was dredged, and 14th Avenue S was created by March 1950; a new subdivision was named "Aqualane Shores" at the opening party that same year. Additional channels were eventually added to the south of 14th Avenue S and are named alphabetically for local water birds. The first channel south of 14th Avenue S is Anhinga Channel, then Bittern Channel is south of 15th Avenue S, Crane Channel is south of 16th Avenue S, Duck Channel is south of 17th Avenue S, and Egret Channel is north of 21st Avenue S. From the channels there are coves named Flamingo, Gull, Heron, and Ibis, as well as the original Aqua Cove. These initial channels, canals, and coves were dredged and bulldozed from the mangrove swamps. Where shallow rock precluded digging, land was filled to create lots with navigable water.
The Aqualane Shores Association was incorporated as a non-profit corporation on February 3, 1966. It served lot owners in the area roughly bounded by the Bay of Naples to the east, Gordon Drive to the west, and the land between 14th Avenue and 21st Avenue S, as well as Marina Drive, Forrest Lane, and Southwinds Drive. Thirty years later, in 1996, a state-mandated city master plan renamed the area to the Aqualane Shores Neighborhood and extended its boundary west to the Gulf of Mexico, east to the Bay of Naples, and the area from 14th Avenue S all the way south to Jamaica Channel. The numerous canals and waterfront homes add a distinctive feature to the south portion of Naples and provide access to the Gulf of Mexico for many homeowners.
As of the census of 2010, there were 19,537 people, 9,710 households, and 6,568 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,744.3 per square mile (673.2/km2). There were 16,957 housing units at an average density of 1,410.0 per square mile (544.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.1% White, 4.5% Black, 0.12% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.5% of the population.
There were 9,708 households out of which 10.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.8% were married couples living together, 5.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.2% were non-families. 34.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.92 and the average family size was 2.38.
In the city, the population was spread out with 10.9% under the age of 18, 2.3% from 18 to 24, 14.5% from 25 to 44, 30.0% from 45 to 64, and 42.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 61 years. For every 100 females there were 86.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $71,553, and the median income for a family was $102,262. Males had a median income of $86,092 versus $30,948 for females. The per capita income for the city was $61,141. About 3.1% of families and 5.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.1% of those under age 18 and 3.3% of those age 65 or over.
The economy of Naples is based largely on tourism and was historically based on real estate development and agriculture. Due to its proximity to the Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands, Naples is also popular among ecotourists.
Companies based in Naples include Alavista Solutions, Beasley Broadcast Group and ASG Software Solutions, in addition to numerous small businesses. Due to the wealth present in Collier County, Naples is also home to many small non-profit organizations.
The surrounding Naples metro area is home to major private employers. Fortune 1000 company Health Management Associates, technology company NewsBank.
In 2009, Naples was ranked as one of 10 pricey cities worth its high cost.
According to Naples' 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the Naples area are:
Naples is located in southwest Florida at 26.139, −81.795 on U.S. Highway 41 between Miami to the east and Fort Myers to the north.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.4 square miles (42.5 km2), of which 12.3 square miles (31.9 km2) is land and 4.1 square miles (10.7 km2), or 25.09%, is water.
Naples experiences a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw). Although some precipitation falls year round, the great majority of it falls in the summertime between June and September.
Naples is served by the District School Board of Collier County and various private institutions including the following:Calusa Park Elementary School (public)
Golden Gate Elementary School (public)
Golden Terrace Elementary School (public)
Lely Elementary School (public)
Shadowlawn Elementary School (public)
Sea Gate Elementary School (public)
St. Elizabeth Seton School (private)
Royal Palm Academy (private)
Lake Park Elementary School (public)
Naples Park Elementary School (public)
Vineyards Elementary School (public)
Big Cypress Elementary School (public)
Veterans Memorial Elementary School (public)
Manatee Elemantry School ( public)
Tommie Barfield Elemantry (public)
St. Elizabeth Seton School (private)
East Naples Middle School (public)
Oakridge Middle School (public)
Gulfview Middle School (public)
Pine Ridge Middle School (public)
Golden Gate Middle School (public)
Manatee Middle School (public)
Cypress Palm Middle School (public)
Corkscrew Middle School (public)
North Naples Middle School (public)
Marco Island Charter Middle School (private)
Royal Palm Academy (private)
Naples High School (City of Naples, public)
Barron G. Collier High School (public)
Gulf Coast High School (public)
St. John Neumann High School (private)
Golden Gate High School (public)
Lely High School(public)
Palmetto Ridge High School (public)
Community School of Naples (private)
Seacrest Country Day School (private)
Lorenzo Technical High School/Colleague (public)
While no colleges are based within the city limits, Ave Maria School of Law's campus is in the Vineyards Development in North Naples, and Florida Gulf Coast University near Estero operates continuing education classes from their Naples Center campus. Southwest Florida is home to several other institutions including:Ave Maria University (35 miles northeast of Naples)
Florida Southwestern State College (7 miles east of Naples and across Southwest Florida)
Hodges University (10 miles northeast of Naples and in Fort Myers)
With over 800 alumni living in Naples, the Ohio State University once established the nation's biggest alumni club in the early 2000s (outside of their hometown of Columbus, Ohio). This is most likely due in large part to the overwhelming number of Midwesterners who have relocated to Naples.
Naples is served by several bus routes operated by the Collier Area Transit. Service runs seven days a week.
The region is served by the NCH Healthcare System, which currently has 681 beds between two hospitals, and Physician's Regional Healthcare System, which has two hospitals and currently 201 beds and is owned by the Health Management Associates, headquartered at 5811 Pelican Bay Blvd in North Naples. In addition to the two hospitals, the company operates six clinics in Naples.
Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida (HCN) was founded in 1977 to serve migrant farmworkers and their families in Immokalee. It now provides care to over 41,000 residents of Collier County through 20 practices, including internal medicine, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, behavioral health and dental care.
Tourism is a major industry for the city. The Naples area is home to several major land reserves, including the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and Picayune Strand State Forest. The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is known not only for its 11,000 acres (45 km2) of landscape and wildlife, but for a two and a half-mile long boardwalk winding through the sanctuary. The Naples area is also home to the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, which dates back to 1919.
The city is served by the Naples Municipal Airport.
Downtown Naples is home to The Naples Players, the 5th Avenue South, and 3rd Street South shopping districts, which feature a variety of antique shops. Gallery Row is a concentration among the numerous art galleries spread throughout the downtown area. The Village on Venetian Bay is an upscale open-air shopping district on the Gulf coast. Located directly off of Tamiami Trail are the Waterside Shops, an upscale open-air center. Near downtown on Naples Bay and the Gordon River is the shopping district of Tin City. This open-air shopping center specializes in antiques and handmade local novelties. Also, near downtown is Big Cypress Market Place with over 100 diverse vendors. Naples hosts The Oliver Group Champions Cup of the Outback Champions Tennis Series each year. Naples is also the home of swamp buggy races, held three times each year at the Florida Sports Park.
The Naples Half Marathon is a half marathon held every year in Naples since 1989, with record participation in 2013 of 2,038 runners. The race has been called one of the best half-marathons in the United States by Runner's World magazine.
Naples is home to The Naples Players, Opera Naples, the Equity Theatre Companies Theatre Zone, and Gulfshore Playhouse. The Naples Philharmonic and the Baker Museum are located at Artis—Naples, which also serves as the educational campus for the Naples Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Philharmonic Youth Chorus. The Holocaust Museum and Education Center of Southwest Florida educates about 155,000 students each year both in its facility and with a locally traveling exhibit.
The beach on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico is more than 10 miles (16 km) long and is known for its cleanliness and pristine white sand. In 2005, Naples was voted the best beach in America by the Travel Channel.
Naples area beaches include:Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
Clam Pass Beach Park
Naples Municipal Beach & Fishing Pier (Naples Pier)
North Gulfshore Boulevard Beach
Lowdermilk Beach Park
With more than 80 championship golf courses in the Naples area, Naples is the self-titled "Golf Capital of the World", claiming to have more holes per capita than any other community.
In December 2009, Florida Governor Charlie Crist met with Chicago Cubs president Crane Kenney, chairman Tom Ricketts and other team officials about possibly moving the Cubs' spring training and minor league facilities from Mesa, Arizona, to Naples.Keewaydin Club
The Naples Players
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida
Naples Botanical Garden
Theatre Zone Equity Theatre Company
Gulfshore Playhouse, an Equity Theatre Company
The Naples Preserve
Bayshore Arts District
Naples (and unincorporated Collier County) is home to a large population of second-home owners, many of whom are affluent and own several homes across the US and around the world. This large transient population – that often considers "home" to be somewhere else – stays only a few weeks to several months, generally during winter. The names listed below are people who own homes in Naples (or unincorporated Collier County); some are full-time residents, while others are part-time and visit periodically.Buzz Aldrin, astronaut, author
Barry Alvarez, athletics director, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Bill Bain, management consultant, founder of Bain & Company
Shahid Khan - Pakistani-American billionaire, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fulham F.C. and Flex-N-Gate.
Larry Bird, former NBA basketball player, coach, executive (Park Shore home for sale)
Matt Birk, former NFL player, two-time All-Pro, six-time Pro Bowl selection, and once Super Bowl champion; Currently Director of Football Development for the NFL
Neal Boortz, radio host, commentator, lawyer, and best-selling author
Ben Bova, author of over 100 science fiction and non-fiction books
Mary Carillo, former professional tennis player, now a sportscaster
Robin Cook, author
Mike Ditka, former NFL player, television commentator, and coach
Keith Eloi, NFL player
Janet Evanovich, author
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft
Dick Gephardt, former Majority Leader of the US House of Representatives (Pelican Bay)
Sean Hannity, syndicated talk show host, author and conservative political commentator
Don Healy, former NFL player
Sterling Hitchcock, former MLB pitcher
Alex Lifeson, guitarist for Canadian rock band Rush
Mark Mangino, former head football coach at University of Kansas
Rocco Mediate, professional golfer
Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza, former owner of Detroit Tigers, founder of Ave Maria College, US Marine
Earl Morrall, former NFL quarterback (Baltimore Colts, Miami Dolphins)
Rocky Patel, owner Rocky Patel Cigar Co.
Paddy Reilly, Irish singer most famous for his recording of The Fields of Athenry
Chris Resop, current MLB pitcher (Pirates, Marlins, Angels, Braves)
John Schnatter, better known as "Papa John", founder, chairman, and current CO-CEO of Papa John's International
Rick Scott, incumbent Governor of Florida (2011– )
Bob Seger, rock and roll singer-songwriter and musician
Judith Sheindlin, better known to the public as Judge Judy, author and television personality (Pelican Bay)
Donna Summer, entertainer; died at her home in Naples in 2012
Peter Thomas, narrator of television programs
Donald Trump, President of the United States
Barbara Walters, broadcast journalist, author, and television personality
Dave Wannstedt, former head coach of Chicago Bears and University of Pittsburgh Panthers football team
Donald E. Washkewicz, CEO of Parker Hannifin
Jesse Witten, tennis pro
Terrance Williams, missing person
Ulysses Jaen, Director & Law Professor
Mary Joe Fernández, professional tennis player
Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS Health
Garnet Hathaway, Professional ice hockey player