Last night we had the reopening ceremony for the Naples Depot Museum. The building has had a whole make-over. The exhibits are very good and professional. Even some Seminole stuff, which I will show below.
There were about 150 people at the ribbon cutting. I was surprised to see Renee, who is Park Manager of Fakahatchee, and an absolutely fun person to hang out with.
All the local politicians were there. Naples Mayor Bill Barnett gave a good speech with some of the local history. For someone like myself who has been called obsessed with history, I will say that he gave a good talk about the history and not a political speech.
There were bagpipe players and flower girls. This was the anniversary of the opening of the depot in 1927, so the atmosphere was recreated. There were flower girls and bagpipe players here in 1927. The catering menu was things that would have been served at parties back then. Shrimp was considered bait at the time and not eaten as snacks, so it was not on the menu.
The station here opened a year before Barron Collier completed the Tamiami Trail. A land boom in south Florida was going on, and everyone was in a race to get here. Trains were considered a little more reliable than autos at the time.
A train ticket was not cheap, but you certainly rode in style--looking at the type of china from the dining car.
Then there was the Seminole room. Notice in the back, are some portraits of Cory and Juanita Osceola. They are looked upon as the patriarch and matriarch of the Naples Seminole community.
The Seminole display is courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.
And the canoe in the center of the room is one that was built by Cory himself. It's been in storage for many years. Pretty good for a one-armed guy!
On display is a 1922 car used to transport guests from the station to the Naples Hotel. I had to get a photo of this 1964 Chevy, because I remember my Dad owning a similar one. He sold it around 1968; probably because it had no air conditioning. I think that in the photo, that I look similar to my great-grandfather Clinton Kimball, back in 1927. We only have one or two photos of Clinton, so it is rare to see a view of him. Just as it is rare to see me wearing a tie.
And Naples history can't be told without mentioning the swamp buggies!
The Naples Depot Museum is right near downtown, and has great potential!