Naples on the Map

by John Telischak, Education Manager, Naples Historical Society

Since the dawn of time, people have used maps in some form or another, both physical and mental, to find resources, shelter, and widen their knowledge of the world. Maps illuminate the unknown beyond one’s horizon. A map brings
familiarity, and in that familiarity a sense of comfort.

In Naples Historical Society’s possession are a few original Plat Maps from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, featuring the layout of Naples when many of downtown’s streets, if they even had been constructed yet, were covered in dune grass and sandspurs. A haven for mosquitos and rattlesnakes.

However, clearly marked on a sepia-toned map from 1923, is the Old Naples Hotel.

A few of these maps can tell us the depths of our local waters, where schools of snapper, jacks, and grouper are likely to inhabit wrecks or reefs. They can show you what type of climate zone we have here in Naples, down to the type of flora one will find naturally in one’s neighborhood.

They can show us everything from military maps of the area from the time of the Civil War to the shops and restaurants located in Old Naples in the 1970s, complete with whimsical illustrations showcasing Naples
landmarks and activities.

As with anywhere, the maps of Naples tell our city’s story, and conjure memories of the past and present. That is why Naples Historical Society is excited to announce that our next exhibit, Naples on The Map, will feature so many of the maps that we have in our small collection. Some are old, some are new, but all bring the story of Naples to life.

We hope you follow a map to the Portal of Naples History, Historic Palm Cottage!

Naples Historical Society is the Central Voice of Naples History and operates Historic Palm Cottage, a 3500 square foot house museum. Historic Palm Cottage is the Portal to Naples History opened to the public throughout the year. This article is part of the Society Sage Stories series prepared exclusively for this publication, based primarily on the
book Naples, A Second Paradise: The History of Naples, Florida (2010).
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