Out With the Old and in with the New – Except for Local History by Lois Bolin

Lois Bolin, PhD, Old Naples Historian

Michael Crichton said “If you don’t know [your] history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree” I added in the ‘your’ because it is about you and your community. Is it possible for a town whose economy was built around tourism since 1886 to really have a history? Indeed it is. In the words of Polly Crews, long time resident of Naples (who is sorely missed) and the founder of SWFL Gold Star Mothers, “this place matters.”

Yes, history matters- our town matters- and our place in this town matters. A city or county is not a community without
an understanding of its past- its traditions, stories, and civic commemorations from community members who came before us. By continuing to share these stories and local traditions, we help strengthen our community connection and ensure that local history is not lost or worse, rewritten.
Let’s test your local history knowledge to see if you are a visitor, snowbird, local or Neapolitan? Does it matter? You bet your sweet ‘bippy’ it does. Good Luck.

1. Who is credited for the founding of the City of Naples?
A. Steve Briggs
B. Bubba Frank
C. Bill Barnett
D. Walter Haldeman

2. When was the original Naples Pier built?
A. 1960
B. 1888
C. 1880
D. 1901

3. How long did Speed Menefee serve as the city’s first mayor?
A. 15 months
B. He was never mayor
C. 15 minutes
D. He died before the ceremony

4. What family donated the land for Cambier Park?
A. Norris family
B. Sorey family
C. Fleischmann family
D. Watkins family

5. Who was Naples’ longest reigning mayor? (consecutive terms)
A. Roy Smith
B. Judge Wilkerson
C. Bonnie McKenzie
D. Speed Menefee

6. In 1948, a unique non-profit was established in Naples allowing for its improvement. What was it called?
A. The Naples Comprehensive Plan #1
B. The Naples Plan
C. The Plan for Comprehension
D. President’s Council Strategic Plan

7. What are the boundaries of the city’s historic district?
A. There is no historic district.
B. Anything West of U.S. 41
C. Ninth Ave. S. to 13th Ave S. to the Gulf to Third St. S.
D. Anything South of Central Avenue

8. Who is the first official city historian?
A. Bubba Frank
B. Mamie Took
C. Vin DePasquale
D. Doris Reynolds

9. When did Hurricane Donna hit Naples?
A. September 10, 1960
B. July 4, 1955
C. September 1, 1947
D. August 10, 1960

10. Who rebuilt the pier at their own expense after Hurricane Donna and again in 1970 when the new pilings began to rot?
A. Ad Miller and Henry Watkins
B. Lester and Dellora Norris
C. City of Naples
D. Holland Salley and Doris Reynolds

11. What two skills did Deaconess Bedell bring back to the Seminoles?
A. Basket weaving and doll making
B. Canoe making and mask carving
C. Skirt making and sewing
D. Casinos and chickee building

12. What are the correct names of the areas to the north and south of Gordon Pass?
A. Royal Harbor and City Dock
B. Port Royal and Keewaydin Island
C. Port Royal and Key Island

1-D 2-B 3-C 4-D 5-A 6-B 7-C 8-D 9-A 10-B 11-A 12-B

Are you a Neapolitan?

One to three points:
Weekend visitor. You might need to ask for directions still to get to Third Street South.

Four to six points:
Snowbird. While you’ve rented the same condo for a few seasons, your license plates still say Ohio.

Seven to ten points:                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Local. Even if you didn’t graduate from NHS, people think you did.

Eleven or more points:                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Old-timer. You remember when Central Avenue was a dirt road and Lake Park was the vacation destination for Old Naples residents.

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