Log in

Miami Herald photographer, Doug Kennedy, looks out over the Naples pier, heavily damaged by Hurricane Donna on September 10, 1960

The Naples Pier has survived wind, waves and even fire to remain an iconic part of the landscape. Most recently, Hurricane Ian swept much of the pier into the Atlantic. But it was never a question of whether to rebuild; the city quickly made a commitment to put millions of dollars into a renovation. As Naples artist Paul Arsenault once said: “It’s our Eiffel Tower.”

While today it serves as a hot tourist destination, the pier was initially constructed for purely practical purposes.

Before roads and train tracks crisscrossed the land, the pier served as the main way to get in and out of Naples. The 600-foot wooden structure was built out into the Gulf in 1888. The Naples Hotel opened the next year, and ships unloaded supplies and visitors at the pier. Over the next several years, a bathhouse and post office were constructed nearby. Hurricanes caused massive damage in 1910, 1926 and 1944, but the pier was rebuilt each time. A fire burnt down the post office in 1922, but the pier was repaired and reopened. Hurricane Donna destroyed the pier in 1960, as seen in the above photo featuring Miami Herald photographer Doug Kennedy. But a donation by retired Texaco CEO Lester Norris helped rebuild it once again. Damage from Hurricane Irma closed the pier for several months. The recent hit from Ian is the worst in decades—but there’s no doubt that it will once again stand as an icon of Naples.

Copyright 2023 Gulfshore Life Media, LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent.