curl1.JPGNaples, California - a community of Long Beach
COPYRIGHT D.STOCK

 

..
Above top two photos show the colorful Long Beach community of Naples today.  The bottom, left picture circa 1906, shows Hotel Napoli, a boater in the bay and two Pacific Electric Red Trolley Cars. The Pacific Electric interurban carried visitors to Naples, the community of canals adjoining Alamitos Bay at Long Beach. The old photo colorized by Photographer Debbie Stock from a black & white, was taken at a time when Naples was a feature of the Triangle Trolley Trip excursion which began in Los Angeles. Tourists felt "amore" on visits to this romantic spot and many bought property and settled. 

While most of us have received emails and flyers for free gifts to visit some swampland development where houses are being built, that was possibly how many felt about investing in Southern California properties at the turn of the 20th Century. Much of the land around Long Beach, Naples, Huntington Beach and Newport Beach tended to flood occasionally. Nevertheless, those with a bit of imagination and foresight who were willing to take a chance on these "long shots", might have invested $100 to $1000 on a piece of land that can now cost $500,000 to $5 million or more.


Naples, California is a peninsula on the southern most tip of Long Beach. With street names Toledo and Florence, canals called Rivo Alto and Colonnade, you'll think you're in Italy. 

 

Naples did not occur by accident but was the concept of  A.M. Parsons. While he and son, A.C., sold lots on the Peninsula in 1903,  they dreamed of a city with canals, gondolas and houses with red tile roofs.  A.M. Parsons formed Naples Company with financier Henry Huntington, in hopes of creating a taste of Italy on the California coast. Unfortunately, the marshland property was difficult to build on, making the huge project a costly and daunting task. Still, the press declared "Bold Scheme Not a Dream," as Naples started to take shape in 1907.

One of the original plans to make East 2nd Street a grand canal was never completed. That area was filled in and is now the shopping and dining district, as well as a busy thoroughfare connecting downtown Long Beach with coastal regions to the South. There are about a mile's worth of canals in Naples, comprised of a large semi-circular Rivo Alto Canal and a shorter, straight  Naples Canal. 

 

Once inside the canals, you will see beautiful homes and yachts in a peaceful neighborhood setting punctuated by five quaint bridges and tall palm trees. There are several ways to view the canals and streets of Naples. By foot, one can walk the waterfront sidewalks and watch the boats go by. 

 

Enjoy wonderful restaurants such as Naples Rib Company or Nico's, which is owned by the late singer, and former mayor of Palm Springs,  Sonny Bono's daughter, Christi.  Those who have tried it say the food is very good. Another local favorite right next door is Kelly's. The shamrock on its neon building sign might tell you something about what is served there.

 

Christmas Boat Parade- Naples Boat Parade is usually held the second Saturday in December.  Boaters may decorate their vessels and enter the parade. This parade attracts large crowds in and around the canals of Naples and it is always great fun.