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Historic contributing structures in the Naples Historic District

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The Historic District is less than 1/10th of one square mile in Naples

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Total square miles in Naples

Background
Since 1885, Naples, Florida has always reflected an amalgamation of culture: those with resources and those who provide products and services for the community. Regardless of financial standing or the creep of development, many people across the board have cared, and still care deeply, about safeguarding Naples’ past.  This doesn’t suggest that there wasn’t public opposition to historic preservation; there was.

In 1987, interested citizens in Collier County Florida received approval from the Florida State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the National Register of Historic Places (NR} for official recognition of the Naples Historic District as a Landmark. The District is an area in the heart of Naples that is less than 1/10th of one square mile.  Note that of the 67 counties in Florida, 52 counties have historic districts, and a few counties have more than a dozen districts each, while Collier County has only one historic district.

After the 1987 National Register approval, there were attempts over the next 20 years to institute an historic preservation program, but, nothing substantial ever passed. The lack of a formalized preservation program for the entire District was a result of intense property rights considerations, among many other reasons.

The only formal declarations for the Naples Historic District required houses in the District to heed a 180-day waiting period prior to tearing down an historic structure.  While the latter was deemed helpful at the time to maintain the District’s integrity, this wasn’t enough.   

In 2013, the Society chose to explore how it could lend perspective to the historic preservation challenge in Naples. With unprecedented philanthropic funding and generous membership support, the Society began to research and craft a program that was named the Naples Historic District Initiative.

Before any preservation promotion could begin, the Society had to ensure that the Naples Historic District itself was still intact. That required an update to the original 1987 list.

During an intensive period, 2014-2016, the Society’s 15-member Naples Historic District Advisory Roundtable, a volunteer group of 17 industry professionals, worked to evaluate and update the list of structures in the Naples Historic District, taking care to keep the same geographic boundary as was first recognized in 1987.

This updated list of historic structures in the Naples Historic District has been approved by the State Historic Preservation Office (November 2016), the Florida National Register Review Board (May 2017), and the Keeper of the National Register as well (July 2017).

This work shows great progress, but the resolution to historic preservation and rehabilitation in Naples remains outstanding.  The Society continues to work with the City of Naples to achieve a user-friendly process, transparent and accessible, that imbues a productive interpretation, representation, and implementation of rules and regulations that serve owners of historic houses.  We should applaud every homeowner for their patience.

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