Long before the arrival of two rival railroads into town, Naples existed as a quiet town in the 1880s that was overlooked by investors and developers. This may have been due to the foreseeability of the area before the railway was developed.
Eventually in the 1920s, the Tamiami Path was able to link both Miami and Naples together. This spurred the growth of Naples as a city that boasts unique experiences such as beautiful scenery and fishing expeditions.
Given the rich history and technological advancement brought about by the railway system in Naples, the Naples Depot Museum is found nestled at the restored Seaboard Air Line Railway Station that once operated as a passenger rail station.
A visit to the museum takes one back to the bustling 1920s era where technology and transportation were leveraged by the region’s inhabitants to conquer and settle large and impenetrable landscapes in South West Florida.
At the Naples Depot Museum, you will find artifacts and objects of significant historical value. These items played a key role in the development of Naples from a sleepy town to the bustling and technologically advanced city that it is today. Some of the items found in the museum include:
• Mule wagon
• Antique swamp buggy
• Seminole dugout canoes
• Restored rail cars
To preserve the museum’s history and integrity, in 2005, the Naples Depot was integrated into the Collier County Museum system which is home to five other museums namely:
• Collier Museum at Government Center
• Museum of the Everglades
• Immokalee Pioneer Museum and
• Macro Island Historical Museum
In addition, the Naples Depot Museum is recognized and listed as a historic site on the National Register of Historic Places. This kind of recognition helps to further preserve the history of the museum and assures its visitors that they are getting their money’s worth whenever they visit the museum.
There are many activities to do while at the museum. These include:
1. Outdoor Train Rides
After paying to access the museum, children and adults can enjoy unlimited rides around the museum. The train ride loops through the entire property further showcasing the sights and sounds of the museum.
2. Miniature Train Display
Perhaps the most attractive feature of the museum, the miniature, multi-level train display within the museum is a sight like no other. The display has been modeled around the town’s features including buildings, homes, shops, chapels, and recreational parks.
In addition, 9 trains are operating simultaneously on the track at any given time. The train display also features “Thomas the Tank Engine” which is a great hit amongst the kids.
3. Wall of Trains
Within the museum, there is a grand display that invites visitors to view and learn about the different models of trains that once operated at the Naples Depot. The “Wall of Trains” as it is popularly known features rare train models including the original Lionel locomotives from the 1900s.
Visiting the Naples Depot Museum feels like taking a stroll into the generations that thrives in the 1900s. Hopefully, this article has added to your knowledge of the history of the museum.