Long before two rival railroads arrived, Naples was a quiet town during the 1880s and was overlooked by developers and investors. That may have been because the area’s future could not be foreseen before the development of the railway.
Eventually, during the 1920s, Naples and Miami were linked together by the Tamiami Path. That spurred Naples to grow into a city that offers many unique experiences including fishing expeditions and beautiful scenery among many others.
Given the technological advancement provided by the railway system and Naples’ rich history, the Naples Depot Museum is located in the Seaboard Air Line Railway Station which used to operate as a passenger rail station and has been restored.
Visiting the museum takes you back to the bustling 1920s age when inhabitants of the region leveraged transportation and technology to conquer and settle impenetrable and large South West Florida landscapes.
The Naples Depot Museum contains objects and artifacts that have significant historical value. The items played a major role in Naples’ development going from being a sleepy town into the technologically advanced and bustling city that it is now. The museum includes the following items:
- Restored rail cars
- Seminole dugout canoes
- Antique swamp buggy
- Mule wagon
In 2005, in order to preserve the integrity and history of the museum, the Naples Depot Museum was integrated into Collier County Museum’s system which also includes the following five museums:
- Macro Island Historical Museum
- Immokalee Pioneer Museum
- Museum of the Everglades
- Collier Museum at Government Center
The Naples Depot Museum is also listed and recognized by the National Register of Historic Places as a historic site. This type of recognition helps to preserve the museum’s history even further and assures visitors that when they visit the museum they will get their full money’s worth.
While you are at the museum there are numerous activities that you can do. They include the following:
- Outdoor Train Rides
Once you have paid to get into the museum, both adults and children can go on unlimited rides at the museum. The train ride covers the entire property to further showcase all of the museum’s sights and sounds.
- Miniature Train Display
The museum’s most attractive feature is probably the multi-level, miniature train display inside the museum. it is a unique sight. The display was modeled around the features of the town including recreational parks, chapels, shops, houses, and buildings.
There are also 9 trains that operate on the track simultaneously at any point in time. “Thomas the Tank Engine” is featured on the train display and is very popular with the children.
- Wall of Trains
Inside the museum is an impressive display where visitors are invited to learn about and view the various train models that were operated at one time at Naples Depot. Popularly known as the “Wall of Trains, it contains rare models of trains, including original Lionel locomotives that date back to the 1900s.
When you visit the Naples Depot Museum it feels like you are strolling through generations that thrived during the 1900s. Hopefully reading this article has made you more knowledgeable about the museum’s history.