The Naples Depot Museum

The Depot Museum in Naples FL is part of the Collier County Museum system. It is located in the former Naples railroad terminal building. There are exhibits illustrating the history of transportation in the area, from the offshore coastal boats to the railroads to the automobile highway.

In the 1910s and 1920s, most of Florida was empty, and most travel was by boat. In 1927 the railroads reached Naples, and the tourist trade began as northeasterners began arriving at local beach hotels for the winter. In the 1930’s, Highway 41 connected Naples to Tampa Bay by road, and in the 1950’s this roadway was extended over to Miami. And in the 1960’s regular air service was begun between Naples and the northeast.

Here are some photos from a visit to the museum.

The museum

A wooden “mullet boat”. Used for fishing as well as traveling between the barrier islands and the mainland.

A model of the “Bon Temps”. Small boats like this ferried passengers across the intercoastal and also carried cargo up and down the coast.

A caboose and railroad car on display

A passenger car from the Seaboard Airline Railroad. The interior is being refurbished.

A collection of items used in the railroad cars

Early transportation—a muledrawn cart

1922 Ford Model T. Route 41, the first major roadway connecting the Gulf Coast of Florida to the rest of the US, was built in the 1930’s.

“Tumble Bug”. One of many home-made “swamp buggies” that served to travel on muddy local roads as well as cross-country in swampy areas.

1955 Chevy Bel Aire. As part of the Federal highway project in the 50’s and 60’s, Highway 41 was extended across Florida, connecting Naples and Miami. Because the road ran through the Everglades, it became known as “Alligator Alley”.

Artifacts from the Providence-Boston Airline, which began flying into Naples in the 1960’s.

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