Chair: Nancy Vose
Members: Tim Morton
Naples is a town in Cumberland County, Maine, United States. The population was 3,872 at the 2010 census, and it is home to part of Sebago Lake State Park. Naples is a resort area.
The area was settled in 1790. Farming was limited by the soil, which consisted of gravelly loam, its surface strewn with glacial erratic boulders. The uplands, however, provided good grazing for livestock, and hay became the principal crop.
Named for Naples, Italy, the town was incorporated on March 4, 1834, from parts of Otisfield, Harrison, Raymond and Bridgton. Between 1845 and 1856, it annexed more land from Sebago, Otisfield and Bridgton. The Songo Lock, completed two years before town incorporation, linked Long Lake and Brandy Pond with Sebago Lake, allowing passage of boats from Harrison to Portland through the Cumberland and Oxford Canal in Standish. A canning factory and cooperage were established at Naples village. The community also produced carriages, men’s and boy’s clothing, boots and shoes.
The beautiful scenery of the lakes, however, would make tourism the dominant industry. Visitors in the 19th century included Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Nathaniel Hawthorne. To accommodate his passengers, Charles L. Goodridge of the Sebago Lake, Songo River & Bay of Naples Steamship Company built a hostelry on a knoll at the southern end of Long Lake. On July 26, 1899, the Bay of Naples Inn opened with 80 bedrooms. It was designed by John Calvin Stevens, who reduced by two-fifths a plan originally created for the ill-fated Metallak Hotel in Colebrook, New Hampshire. While under construction, the Metallak was destroyed in April 1893 during a violent windstorm, and its investors abandoned the project. The Bay of Naples Inn, which faced Mount Washington and the east side of the White Mountains, was a popular resort during the early 20th century. Automobile tourists began arriving after designation of the Theodore Roosevelt International Highway in 1919 (identified as United States Route 302 since 1935). The Bay of Naples Inn remained open through the 1951 season, but in 1964 was deemed unprofitable and razed.