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  • John Telischak

Every artifact tells a story


Still From “Naples On The Gulp” A film by Dr. Earl Baum who came to Naples in the early 1920s. One of his hobbies was filmmaking and he used locals and visitors as the actors in “Naples on the Gulp”. The fictional plot revolved around rum running and a kidnapping. However, it turned into a home movie featuring Neapolitans imbibing various alcoholic beverages and is an excellent primary resource in seeing Naples during Prohibition.


 

There are many facets to understanding and studying the past. One can certainly look at names and dates, sift through periodicals, and visit locations where events, and ultimately people’s lives played out. However, there is something about a physical object from a particular period that has such a visceral connection to the past, no matter how distant in antiquity.


The Cambridge Dictionary defines an artifact as: “An object that has been made by a person, such as a tool or a decoration, especially one that is of historical interest.”


Cambridge University Press. (n.d.). Artifact. In Cambridge Dictionary. Retrieved August 14, 2023 from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/artifact


An artifact can be something as simple and small as a bead, or something as large as an entire ship. No matter the size or significance, this physical detritus of history is much more than an ordinary object that was utilized by people of that time, it is directly connected to individual lives and events.


We are fortunate at Naples Historical Society to have acquired many artifacts that are directly connected to Naples’ history and the individuals and groups of people who shaped our city into what it is today.



Prohibition table inside Historic Palm Cottage

In Historic Palm Cottage’s™ living room is a large round table. Well-crafted and sturdy, this table looks like many tables from the early 20th century. However, this table has the potential to hold a secret. The pedestal is hollow and, if you separated the leaves, you would be able to access the compartment inside. This hollow is the perfect place to hide anything, and the fact that the table has this feature is no fluke in the design but rather an intentional component.


This table came from the Haldeman house, which was located next to the Naples Pier until it was moved to Bonita Springs in 2006. This table was fabricated in the 1920s during Prohibition and could have served as a place to hide alcoholic beverages that at the time were illegal to produce, transport, or sell. Although the consumption and possession of alcohol was not illegal, many individuals did take measures to hide any that they had in their possession. Even after Prohibition was repealed in 1933, this table could still serve as a place to hide one’s valuables. Not only is this table one of many beautiful pieces in Historic Palm Cottage, but its significance to Naples’ history and larger American history is invaluable. To see the Prohibition table and learn about how our city began, plan a visit to The Portal to Naples History, Historic Palm Cottage. For more information, visit the Society’s website at NHS@NaplesHistoricalSociety.org or call 239.261.8164.


Stills From “Naples On The Gulp” A film by Dr. Earl Baum who came to Naples in the early 1920s. One of his hobbies was filmmaking and he used locals and visitors as the actors in “Naples on the Gulp”. The fictional plot revolved around rum running and a kidnapping. However, it turned into a home movie featuring Neapolitans imbibing various alcoholic beverages and is an excellent primary resource in seeing Naples during Prohibition.

 

Naples Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves the community by maintaining Historic Palm Cottage, opening it for tours for all ages, hosting educational events throughout the year, and working on major initiatives to benefit the community well into the future. It is based at Historic Palm Cottage, 137 Twelfth Avenue South, Naples Florida 34102, one block east of the Naples Pier.


Naples Historical Society receives no government funding and relies on membership dues and donations to accomplish its mission. Historic Palm Cottage was built in 1895 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Naples Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is dedicated to preserving Naples’ history and heritage for the community and future generations to enjoy.


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