According to Merle Surrency Harris, who watched the Orange Blossom Special pull into Naples on January 7, 1927, “There were many introductions and speakers, with lots of pomp and ceremony popular in those days. Bouquets were presented to certain ladies and when the speeches finally ended, a parade formed with the VIP’s and pretty girls in the lead, and the two bands providing music for the trip to the Old Naples Hotel.” Seaboard’s arrival was heralded by what the Collier County News called “the largest celebration in the honor of the opening of a new railroad line in the nation’s history.” Local dignitaries, including Mayor E.G. Wilkinson; Ed Crayton, president of the Naples Company; and Walter O. Parmer attended the banquet. The Collier County News reported, “The railroad president, the governor, the other members of the visiting party found many friends and acquaintances among the distinguished winter residents of Naples, and were shown the beauties and possibilities of the little gulf side city after pictures had been taken in the gardens of the hotel.”
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