This rare photo shows the lower dock of the Naples pier, where guests could disembark at low tide. To the right is a small passenger boat used to ferry hotel guests from Fort Myers. In 1904, the Atlantic coast Line Railroad extended its service to Fort Myers, allowing the Naples Company to replace the large steamer with smaller boats that could make daily trips from Naples to Fort Myers. Daily trips meant ice could be brought in from Fort Myers more frequently; the smaller boats usually returned with several 200-pound blocks of ice packed in sawdust. A grandson of Capt. Charles Stewart, one of the first Naples boat captains, remembered, “Fort Myers had an ice plant, and Naples had none. One time they were leaving Matanzas Pass at Fort Myers beach when they had to put in for safety. By the time they arrived at Naples, all they had was a heap of sawdust.” By 1923, the Naples Hotel had added a new powerhouse, with ice-making machinery, and ice was furnished to the cottages and visiting yachts.
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This photographic image is not to be used or reproduced for any commercial purpose without the express prior written permission of Naples Historical Society, Inc. 239-261-8164