Visit Everglades City and the Ten Thousand Islands of Southwest Florida, the Everglades

The First 100 Years

Everglades City

by Lila Zuck

In compliance with Florida Statutes for the purpose of posting public notices, The Collier County News was established pursuant to the creation of Collier County on May 8, 1923.

The first issue of The Collier County News came off the press on July 25, 1923Daniel W. McLeod was the first editor and publisherThe first masthead featured the seal of the State of Florida.

Operating from an office on the second level of the Bank of Everglades building for a period of 27 years, the newspaper was laid out at Everglades and printed in Fort Myers, first by the Barron Collier-owned Fort Myers Press, and in 1931 by the News-Press Printing Company.  Copies were delivered to Everglades for circulation within Collier County.

The four-page, weekly newspaper featured local, state, national and international news stories and by 1925 correspondents stationed at Everglades, Immokalee, Chokoloskee, Marco-Collier City, Naples and Bonita Springs were assigned weekly columns featuring the happenings in those communities.

Fort Myers businesses advertised services which had not yet been established in newly established Collier County.

Subscriptions were 50 cents a month, 75 cents for three months, $1.20 for six months and $2.00 per year.

Breaking all national records for a weekly newspaper at 300 pages, “The Opening of the Tamiami Trail Edition,” printed on April 26, 1928, the day after the Trail opened, was the largest issue of The Collier County News until 1956, when Naples Community Hospital opened.

In 1947, the office of The Collier County News was relocated from Everglades to Crayton Cove in Naples.  The newspaper was still being printed in Fort Myers.

On Friday, April 2, 1954, the first issue of The Collier County News printed in Collier County came off a second hand 1905 Model 33 Linotype typesetting machine at the newspaper’s Crayton Cove headquarters.  The new press, nicknamed “Old Bessie,” produced 3,000 copies an hour.

That year, The Collier County Daily News Carrier Corps debuted, made up of students on bicycles assigned delivery routes.  Also in 1954, the newspaper became a bi-weekly and the masthead, instead of featuring the State Seal,  was redesigned with an outline of the State of Florida and an arrow pointing to Collier County.

Beginning with the November 3, 1963 issue, the newspaper was re-named The Collier County Daily News and began leasing access to the Associated Press newswire service.  In 1964, publication was increased from two days to five days a week, Tuesday through Friday and Sunday.

As the population of Collier County approached 38,040 residents, circulation of the eight-page newspaper grew to the point that printing operations had to be relocated in 1969 from Crayton Cove to a larger, $1 million facility built at 1075 Central Avenue. in Naples  The paper was renamed the Naples Daily News.

In 1976, the Naples Daily News was recognized by the National Newspaper Association as second in the nation for general excellence among small daily newspapers.  In 1985, editor Corbin A. Wyant established the Naples Daily News Marching Band and in 1998, in honor of the 75th anniversary of Collier County and the newspaper, commissioned a jazz band to perform, which became the Naples Daily News Traditional Jazz Band.

In honor of the year The Collier County News was established and because a similar vehicle would have been used to deliver newspapers from Fort Myers to Naples, Wyant purchased a 1923 Model T Ford Depot Hack and had it shipped from Peoria, Indiana to Naples for use in parades.

In 1986, at $168 million, the E.W. Scripps Company placed the winning bid for the purchase of the Naples Daily News from the Collier family.   In 1988, the newspaper began being published seven days a week.

In 2009, E.W. Scripps relocated Naples Daily News operations from Central Avenue to a $95 million facility on 18 acres on Immokalee Road and donated its Model T Ford and 1905 line-casting Linotype machine to the Marco Island Historical Society for exhibition in the Marco Island Museum.  In 2020, printing operations were transferred from Naples to Sarasota.

Happy 100th Birthday to our local newspaper!

2023-12-09T05:21:56-05:00April 15, 2023|History|

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