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Tin City: Exploring Naples' Iconic Waterfront and Its History


Tin City | Naples 2Night

Naples, located on the southwestern coast of Florida, is a city known for its rich history and beautiful waterways. One of the most iconic attractions in the area is Tin City, a collection of shops and restaurants that still exudes the old, historic charm of Florida. Its location on the original waterway to Naples has been the catalyst for its growth and development.


The history of Tin City and Naples dates back to the 1500s when the Calusa Indians were the first inhabitants in the area. They relied on shelling and fishing in the oyster and clamshell deposits that date back thousands of years. Fast forward to the late 1860s, when Roger Gordon and Joe Wiggins entered the region by boat and set up camps that served travelers and settlers. The Gordon Pass and the Wiggins Pass, two key waterways of Naples, are named after them.


By the 1880s, talk about the waterfront's beauty began to spread, attracting wealthy tourists and investors who disembarked at Back Bay (now Crayton Cove) and traveled to the region. This resulted in the founding of Naples in 1886. The following year, a 600-foot pier was built into the Gulf of Mexico by a group of wealthy Kentuckians led by Walter N. Haldeman to make access more convenient. With easier access, Naples became a winter playground for industrialists and celebrities, including Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison, Greta Garbo, Gary Cooper, and Hedy Lamarr.


In the 1920s, the construction of the Seaboard Airline Railroad made the humble tin-roofed buildings in Tin City the economic and transport development hub of Naples. The Tin City stretch of the Gordon river became the center of Naples's fishing industry, spanning clam shelling, oyster processing, and boat construction and maintenance.


Fast forward to the 1970s, the Old Marine Marketplace was built in Tin City out of seven of the area's sturdy old buildings, with a colorful maritime charm. This marketplace continues to be a vibrant cornucopia of shops and eateries to this day. In 2019, Tin City retained its old Florida charm, preserving a small but very significant stretch of the Gordon River for future generations to enjoy.


Today, Tin City Waterfront Shops supports over 30 unique boutiques, two waterfront restaurants, an ice cream parlor, and a variety of fun water and boating adventures that attract people of all ages. The owners of Tin City Waterfront Shops are proud of the establishment's role in defining and developing the waterfront and in shaping Naples' history as a whole. They have joined Naples Backyard History to produce A History of the Waterfront Museum.


Visitors to Tin City can expect to see a diverse range of attractions, from sundry fashion to water sports, making sightseeing in Naples more charming than ever before. Tin City's history and beauty make it a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Naples area. So, whether you're a history buff or simply looking for a fun day out, Tin City Waterfront Shops has something for everyone.

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