Last updated: 4/26/2018
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Collier County is located at the southwestern end of Florida along the beautiful coast of the Gulf of Mexico. It was established in 1923, with its land area of nearly 2,000 square miles taken from the Lee County territory. Collier’s county seat is East Naples which was so designated in 1962, moving it from Everglades.
Collier was as one of 12 new counties formed at the height of the 1920s Florida land boom. It came in as the 62nd county of the Sunshine State and formed with the third largest in total acreage.
Honoring a Prime Mover
Collier was named after Barron Collier, an advertising mogul in New York City who moved to Southwest Florida and eventually became a prominent landowner and real estate developer in the region. The naming right to the new county was given to Collier largely for his effort to have the Tamiami Trail built for Lee County.
The 1920s construction of the Tamiami Trail, also known as U.S. 41 now, plus the construction of local railroads, helped drive growth of Collier and the rest of Florida tremendously. The county and its region’s agricultural and tourism potentials soon began to deliver and more opportunities for economic growth were unlocked.
The first commercial oil well in Florida was drilled in 1943 in Collier, and the county’s cypress and pine logging industry was an economic driver well into the 1950s. Shortly after World War II, Collier’s population and economy boomed with the continuing in-migration to the Sunshine State on account of its more hospitable climate.
A robust economy and sustained growth from tourism, real estate and agribusiness have elevated Collier County as one of the fastest-growing areas in the U.S. as well as a pacesetter to the sophisticated lifestyle in Southwest Florida.
The county’s largest city, Naples, in combination with Marco Island and the Everglades, now prides itself as the Paradise Coast which draws not only tourists, business meetings and conventions. This area and most parts of Collier are also popular for home buyers because of their tropical ambiance characteristic of the Caribbean but with all the conveniences and comforts of a U.S. destination.
Collier indeed has so much to offer. Its whole southeastern portion basks within the Big Cypress National Preserve, while the northernmost part of Everglades National Park extends into the county’s southern coastal stretch.
All the good life in Collier are captured in its queen city Naples. Here, the stretches of Third Street South and Fifth Avenue South own the bragging rights to the crème de la crème of shopping and dining, a status recognized in a 2015 USA Today ranking.
Other accolades and ratings that Naples shares with Collier are even loftier and thus sound indicators that the best places to live, visit and work could be found in the county. In 2016, Naples came out in a Nerdwallet.com poll as third among the best Florida cities to start a business. The 2015 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index has likewise named Naples as the Happiest, Healthiest City in the U.S., affirming a survey of Realtor.com that this city is the least polluted in all of the U.S.