Crayton Cove Milestones

A Stroll Through the Century Past

Crayton Cove’s revival, under the 2010 banner of “Discover Crayton Cove,” is another milestone for an area that has played a significant role in Naples’ history for the past century.

Here are a few colorful views of Crayton Cove from the history books:

Early 1900s
Naples’ first Main Street was 12th Avenue South, formerly known as Pier Street, which connected the two centers of energy in the early 1900s: the Naples Pier and the Docks at The Back Bay (now Crayton Cove).

Annie Rivers and her son Chiz were among the first settlers of this area, then known as “The Back Bay,” because it provided the town’s first sheltered moorage. The Back Bay Docks catered to the fishing trade and, reportedly, a few prominent bootleggers.

The Back Bay had become the community center for those early pioneers who were either building the Tamiami Trail, developing a fishing business, or involving themselves in new ventures for the up-and-coming Naples society. The Bayview Inn, a grocery store and a hotel incorporating Naples' first pharmacy, made these people feel at home.

Vernon Lamme publishes Naples’ first newspaper, The Naples Transcript out of the Bayview Inn in Back Bay.

“Benny” Wistar Morris purchases most of the Back Bay area, destined to become Crayton Cove, from E.W. “Ed” Crayton.

Peter Parley Wynn, patriarch of the current day Wynn's Family Market and Ace Hardware moves to Naples with his wife Vida, and purchases the Bayview Inn in Back Bay (now Crayton Cove) from the Dyches family.

Naples celebrates the grand opening of the new Crayton Cove development, thus renamed by its owner, developer “Benny” Wistar Morris IV in honor of his friend E.W. “Ed” Crayton from whom he purchased most of the Back Bay area. Crayton guided much of the early development of Naples and was Naples’ first City Council President. Plans for the new Crayton Cove development included a boathouse, docks, shops, and offices.

Publisher Michael Chance moves printing operations for the Collier County News (Now the Naples Daily News) from Fort Myers to a building on Twelfth Avenue South in Crayton Cove.

Crayton Cove becomes headquarters to the Naples Guide Boat association, which included more than 14 charter-boat captains, including Capt D.R. House Jr. of the Dana and Capt. Jack Cannon of the Victory Morn.

Three influential Neapolitans, Benny Morris, Glen Sample, and Stephen Briggs, form the Naples Yacht Club. Briggs, one of the founders of the Briggs and Stratton Motor Company, becomes the first commodore.

Hurricane Donna wreaks havoc and destruction in the Cove. The front page of the special hurricane edition of the Collier County News includes a photograph of the destroyed municipal fishing pier, captioned, “Pride of Naples, gone with the wind.” While the City Dock was eventually rebuilt, another Crayton Cove staple did not fare so well. The Bayview Inn never recovered from the damage and was destined for demolition.

The Cove Inn opens for business, designed in the post-Hurricane Donna “Neapolynesian” style popularized by architect William Zimmerman. Because the site of the Cove Inn was originally submerged, it had to be dredged and filled. The front-page headline of the May 26, 1964 edition of the Collier County News reads “It’s a ‘go’ for the New Old Cove.” Compaction tests are then completed, the land proven firm enough to build on and full scale construction begins.

The Cove Inn is purchased by Kenny Schryver and a small group of investors. The group converts the hotel into a “condominium hotel,” selling the rooms as condominiums and offering the option of managing the units as hotel rooms for the owners. Although the concept is new, 52 of the 102 units sell in two weeks, and the Cove Inn becomes one of the first successful condominium hotels in Florida.

In the building that now houses The Dock restaurant, Walden University is founded by two teachers seeking a way for adults in the workforce to pursue their doctoral degrees. Walden University eventually celebrates its 40th anniversary as a leading accredited online university with more than 38,000 alumni worldwide.

Vin DePasqale opens The Dock at Crayton Cove restaurant.

The Dock at Crayton Cove decides to throw an end-of-season party to celebrate it’s first year. Because of its waterfront setting, a canoe race seems natural. Twenty-five contestants and about 150 spectators participated in that first race. Today, the Great Dock Canoe Race is arguably one of Naples most popular events, drawing thousands of spectators and contestants each year, and international media attention.

Crayton Cove is revitalized with a roundabout, new landscape and hardscape, and enhanced parking and pedestrian access.

Crayton Cove businesses unite to revive and promote the destination under the banner “Discover Crayton Cove,” a marketing campaign to encourage locals and visitors to experience “the original Old Naples.”