About Us

Welcome to the Old Naples
Waterfront Association!

The ONWA is committed to promoting the history and businesses on and around the waterfront. By combining individual voices into one collective voice we have established a much stronger presence in the community, with the city of Naples, and the state of Florida. It also provides a terrific platform to create, develop, and promote events to draw business and tourist dollars to the area.

Why become a Member of the ONWA? To begin, the waterfront is an integral part of the community of Naples. It reminds people why we live here and of our extensive history. It's also a great way to meet your neighbors, share ideas, and promote healthy competition and cooperation amongst the businesses.

As a Member of the ONWA you will enjoy many benefits, the foremost being involved in ONWA sponsored events, such as the Stone Crab Festival. The 2010 and 2011 StoneCrab Festival was a tremendous success for the waterfront district drawing many thousands of people. We also participate in City Fest and a number of other events throughout the year. Becoming a Member will amplify your brand and create awareness for your business. You will have first come opportunities for sponsorship, as well as your logo posted and a link from our website. You will also be able to post activities and events for your business on our ONWA Event Page and be kept aware via email amongst other Members.

Meetings are held the second Wednesday of every month at Pincher's Crab Shack beginning at 9:30 am. The annual cost for Membership is $250 per year. Please feel free to attend a meeting to say hello and see what we're all about.

We look forward to having you come aboard! See you soon!

The History of the Waterfront
by: Lois Bolin

Naples and its neighboring communities, Marco Island and Everglades City, were all founded around the waterfront in the 1880s -in fact by water was the only way to enter Naples until 1915. Walter Haldeman was to Naples what William T. Collier (the first Colliers) was to Marco Island and George W. Storter was to Everglades City -all Southern gentleman who embarked on journeys after the Civil War to start a new life for their families. These travelers sailed past the area of the Naples Pier admiring the seven miles of sandy-white beaches as they reached Gordon Pass moving towards the Back Bay, where the Naples City Dock is located. Here you can find the Naples Bay Water Shuttle, where almost every evening, inquiring minds are shuttled on a 45 minutes loop to at least eight old Naples watering holes up all up and down the Old Naples Waterfront.

Moving up the Gordon River from the City Docks, we pass the legendary site where once stood Turner's Marina, headed by Pappy Turner, who landed on the spot with his family in the early 1940s. Moving on up the Gordon River, we come to those tin roofed buildings which could be seen by passers-by traveling the new Tamiami Trail in 1928. This stretch of the Gordon River became the heart of Naples' fishing industry hosting boat construction and maintenance sites as well as a clam and oyster processing plant that had a strategic transportation connection with the opening of the Seaboard Airline Railroad in 1927. Today Pincher's Crab Shack and the River Walk Restaurants watch over the river now as does Cruise Naples and the many boats over at Tin City.

Across the river, Kelly's Fish House was carved from Comb's Fish House in the 1950s and provides historical texture to the newer Port-O-Call Marina and the elegant Naples Princess. Continuing on down the waterway you will find Naples newest resort, Naples Bay Resort where not only are water sports provided but you will find outdoor waterfront shopping and hotel rooms with beautiful views of the bay.

Under the Gordon River Bridge, with the Tamiami Trail overhead is a passage way that will soon be called the Gordon River History/Art Pedestrian underpass that leads to Bayfront Inn, where Extreme Rentals hosts its Segway and boating adventures. On the north side of the underpass, we find Naples only waterfront sports bar, Tavern on the Bay as well as Roy's and Stoney's Steakhouse. Don't forget the Cabana Bar or Bayfront Inn's waterfront Patio with their wide view of nature.

Don't forget to continue down the river to Naples Harbour,(Marina should be deleted) home to Jack's River Bar and Gordon's on the River. There, you will enjoy a great view, delicious food and complimentary wet slip dockage, while you dine or join their club for dry slip boat storage.

The Old Naples Waterfront takes great pride in our Honorary Board members whose families did much for our waterfront that support our businesses and enhance our quality of life: Johnny Morgan, Duke Turner, Bem Storter and Lavern Norris Gaynor. While Mrs. Gaynor does not come from a fishing family, her parents Lester and Dellora Norris, saved Key Island (now called Keewaydin Island) thus the waters of Rookery Bay that are so important to our community. Also by stopping this "Bridge to Nowhere," the awareness of the need to conserve our resources led to the movement to form the Conservancy of SWFL.

Herbert Hoover was right; there is simplicity to be enjoyed on the water fishing. Whether it's fishing for food or fun -any day is a good day on the Old Naples Waterfront -where you can't fake fresh and you can't fake friends.