Speed Menefee (Naples first mayor) on left
with Aldman (guide) standing in shallow fishing
Fishing pole and large fish thrown over front of boat.
Naples, c. 1910
Collier County was one of a dozen new counties created
by the Florida land boom of the 1920s. It is the state’s
62nd county and the third largest in total land area.
and new residents alike are often surprised to discover
that Collier County’s rich and colorful
past actually stretches back many thousands of years.
have lived here for centuries, beginning with the first
hunters and gatherers who drifted down the Florida
peninsula at the close of the last Ice Age in search of
bigger game and warmer winters.
Remote and inaccessible,
the first permanent settlements did not take root until
the 1880s with tiny pioneer communities
dotted along the coast at Everglade, Naples, Marco and
Chokoloskee. Further inland, at Immokalee, sprawling cattle
ranches became the principal means of livelihood.
development began in the 1920s and by the end of the decade,
railroads and the Tamiami Trail had pierced
the rugged wilderness and unlocked the area’s enormous
agricultural and resort potential. Florida’s first
commercial oil well was drilled here in 1943, and the County’s
cypress logging industry flourished well into the 1950s.
County’s economy boomed along with its population
shortly after World War II. In the short span of thirty
years, the number of residents swelled from 6,488 to an
astonishing 85,971 by 1980.
A vigorous economy and sustained
prosperity from agribusiness, tourism, construction and
real estate have made Collier
County one of the fastest growing areas in the United States,
and a pacesetter in defining Southwest Florida’s
Many of Collier County's place names are rooted in the past or still retain their original Seminole names.
A Seminole word meaning "old house."
One of the oldest place names on the Gulf coast, it first appeared on a 1771 chart of Florida as Caxymbas Espanolas. Derived from the Arawak Indian word casimba or cacimba, meaning a hole dug along the shore to find drinking water.
Named for Barron Collier's wife, Juliet Gordon Carnes. The couple married in Memphis, Tennessee, on November 26, 1907.
Named for David Graham Copeland, chief organizer and engineer on the Tamiami Trail and Barron Collier's resident general manager for 23 years.
First used on a map of the area dated 1832. Derived from an old English word glaed, meaning an open, green grassy place in the forest. Seminole Indians called the Everglades the Pahayokee, meaning grassy water.
Green River Swamp
Located south of Corkscrew Marsh, it's named for the pile of empty Green River Whiskey bottles deposited there by hunters at a nearby camp.
The name was first suggested by Bishop William Crane Gray, an early Episcopal missionary, and is taken from a Seminole word meaning "my home" or "his home."
The first post office here was known as Malco because postal authorities mistakenly thought there already was a place named Marco in Florida.
Named in the 1920s for Miles Collier, the youngest of Barron G. Collier's three sons.
To the Miccosukee and Seminole, the name means "big field" or "farm."
The inspiration for the name "Naples" is thought to have originated with a Fort Myers land broker and surveyor in the late 1880s. Like most Florida promoters of the day, he popularized the future town site with exotic newspaper ads describing the region as "surpassing the bay of Naples in grandeur of view and health-giving properties."
||All text and most photographs courtesy
Collier County Museum. Any use of this information
without written permission is strictly prohibited.
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