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Historic Palm Cottage - Naples Historical Society

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137 12th Avenue South
Naples, Florida 34102


Palm Cottage - Welcome
Palm Cottage, Naples Florida
Built in 1895, Palm Cottage was recently restored to its original condition. Its’ historical significance stems from the fact that it is one of the last remaining Tabbie homes, a structure whose foundation and walls were formed from mixture created by burning local sand and sea shells, and is listed in the National Register Of Historic Places.

The home has also played its’ part as one of the hubs of the social season during the 1940's. Hollywood luminaries such as Gary Cooper, Robert Montgomery, Heddy Lamar were often in residence as guests of the home’s owner, Laurence Brown.

A History of Palm Cottage
In 1890 one man, Walter Haldeman, owned what is now Naples. Walter was a wealthy man and the owner of the Louisville Courier Journal, one of the most prestigious newspapers of that time. The town of Naples was a quiet little cluster of a few private homes, a small hotel, and a pier that allowed for the arrival of passengers and freight.

People came to Naples to enjoy the warm winter weather, to hunt and fish and, of course, to enjoy the beauty of the beach and the surf bathing in the warm clear waters of the Gulf. Walter had a very good friend and business associate named Henry Watterson. Henry was the editor of the newspaper that Walter owned and was a well-respected political writer with his editorials being syndicated throughout the country. Later in life, Henry won a Pulitzer Prize for his editorials about the First World War, one of which was read by President Woodrow Wilson to the U.S. Senate to convince them that we should enter the war.

Because this famous American spent many winters in Palm Cottage, it is now placed on the Register of Historic Places. Walter wanted his friend Henry to spend his winters in Naples but Henry insisted that he didn't have a place to stay in Naples and didn't want to be a guest in the Haldeman home. Walter told Henry that he would build him a home so that he would be comfortable during his winter visits. The house that Walter built in 1895 is now known as Palm Cottage.

Henry spent eleven winters at Palm Cottage but he was not always alone in the house. Walter built the house of a generous size and included seven bedrooms upstairs. It seems that at times the Naples Hotel would be full and when that happened, rather than turn away guests they would be given a room in Palm Cottage. Walter built the house for his friend Henry Watterson but also as an annex for his hotel.

Walter Haldeman died in 1902 and in 1916 the house was sold to a couple from Louisville, Mr. & Mrs. Walter Parmer. The Parmers named the house Palm Cottage. They owned the house for many years and made changes to the home. They combined two of the bedrooms upstairs to make a master bedroom, added indoor plumbing and converted the house to electric power after electricity came to Naples in 1926.

Walter Parmer died in 1932 and his wife sold the house in 1938 to their good friends The Messrs. Hendrie and Gillis of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. George Hendrie owned horse race tracks in Canada and also owned a house across the street from Palm Cottage. They used the house as rental property and while they owned it, it was known as the Hamilton Ontario House.

In 1944 a hurricane hit Naples and damaged many of the homes along the beach including the home of Lawrence and Alexandria Brown. As a result the Browns bought the house in 1945 and lived there until Mrs. Brown's death in 1978. While the Browns lived there it was known as the Brown house. The Browns entertained lavishly while in the house and made it famous among Naples residents.

After Mrs. Brown's death the house was purchased by the Collier County Historical Society (now Naples Historical Society) for $100,000.00 and the name was changed back to Palm Cottage. The house was restored in 1996 at a cost of over $300,000.00 and today is operated as a house museum giving the Society an excellent place to house its collection of historical artifacts and to tell the history of Naples.

The Norris Gardens
The Norris Gardens completed in 2006 features many distinct experiences along the Patrons' Walk that evoke the gardening trends prevalent during the last 100 years. Step back in time into The Garden of the Senses, The Palm Collector's Garden, The Edible Garden, The Pioneer Garden, The Water Garden, and The Everglades Garden. Whether you are interested in palms, edible plants, fragrant plants, exotic plants, grasses, or shade from the summer's glare, there is something here for everyone.

All Tours
Naples Historic District - Walking Tours - Year Round
Tour the original Naples on the Gulf and see it as it was at the end of the nineteenth century.  Walk along Historic Third Street South where the original movie theater, general store and gas station are now occupied by modern stores.  Visit the location where the Grand Naples Hotel once stood and hosted such guests as Rose Cleveland.  Stroll through the neighborhoods of Old Naples where notables such as the DuPonts and the city’s founders, the Haldemans, lived.  Originally known as a “sportsman’s paradise”, attracting fisherman and hunters alike, it was Naples’ pull as a resort town that captivated many famous and important visitors and brought about the nickname, “summerland in wintertime”.  The charm of Naples’ history that is revealed on this walking tour is part of what adds to the city’s appeal today.

Come enjoy this very popular 2 to 2.5 hour walking tour through parts of the Historic District, including Third Street South.   Enjoy colorful anecdotes about the people and places of Old Naples.   This tour includes a Docent-guided tour of the Palm Cottage™ house museum and a self-guided stroll through The Norris Gardens. 

- Reservations Required at Naples Historical Society
- Tours every Wednesday at 9:30 am.  (arrive at 9:15 a.m.)
- $22 per person.  $16 for MEMBERS

Naples Historic Palm Cottage Tour
House tours – Naples oldest house, 3500 sq. ft. Cottage is open for docent-guided tours throughout the year.  Listed as a Landmark in the National Register of Historic Places. Includes access of the Norris Gardens and the Archival Viewing Center.

- Tuesday - Friday 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, & 3pm.  $13.00 per person.  Members Free.  Reservations recommended, on line at Naples Historical Society

- Saturday, 1pm - 4pm.  No reservations required.  Includes access of the Norris Gardens and the Archival Viewing Center.

- $13 per person & Members Free

Christmas at Palm Cottage
Enjoy period-relevant holiday decorations at Naples Historical Society’s Historic Palm Cottage™ Naples’s oldest house, built in 1895.

- Tuesdays & Wednesdays 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, & 3 pm with reservations. Make reservations here

- Thursday & Friday: 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, & 3 pm with reservations. Make reservations here

- Thursday & Friday – 4-8 pm No reservations required.

- Saturday – 1-8 pm No reservations required.

- $13.00 Per Person Members Free

To learn more about Palm Cottage
click here

Information Courtesy of the Naples Historical Society

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