Voices of Naples: Stories Over The Decades
As Naples, FL celebrates it's 100th anniversary this year, the editors of Naples Illustrated found it only appropriate to interview Neapolitans who were either born here or moved to the area when it was only a small fishing town. The residents shared raw and authentic stories of how they have helped transform Naples and the massive growth they have witnessed of this beautiful city over the many decades. Our founder, Mark Stahlman, was one of those residents chosen as his father moved here in the 1950's and Mark being one of the first babies born at Naples Community Hospital.
When it came to work, Mark remembers the start of his father's business in 1965, Stahlman Property Maintenance Service. It was located on 3rd Street South in the current location of the restaurant, The Continental. He said, "the street was lined with our 20 green trucks and myself and the boys were always ready to work!"
When it came to fun, Mark recalls "building forts on the numerous empty lots surrounding his home, spearfishing at Gordon’s Pass, hunting on east Trail in the marshlands, and hearing ice being made and delivered by Naples Ice House." Aside from riding bicycles wherever and hunting doves, it was his talent of water skiing that he enjoyed most. Water sports were his world. Mark's endless days of practicing all over Naples Bay led him to become one of the youngest water skiers to capture the Florida state title of #1 water skiing champion.
When asked whether he believed Naples would change into the city of today, he quickly said “no, I never had a clue—even when Golden Gate started in the 1960s—they were just houses far out of town,” he notes. “Naples really didn’t take off until Coquina Sands and the Moorings developments began around 1965. It truly was a little fishing town that developed into a major city. I am so proud to be a native of Naples!”