aerial view of port royal in florida

Port Royal in Florida is one of the most treasured neighborhoods in the entire state. It lies on the southern end of Naples, FL, between the Gulf of Mexico and Naples Bay.

Its rich history has continued to shape the present, which is now associated with a community that values luxury.

Learn more about how Port Royal became the stylish and sophisticated area it is today.

A Floridian swampland

Port Royal, Florida has a surprisingly deep history for a community less than 100 years old. Once a “useless” swampland, it was purchased by John Glen Sample, who began buying the land in 1938. At that time, he paid just $13,700, or $244,482 in today’s dollars.

That Sample was able to see the potential of the swampland speaks to his vision. He was a former advertising executive who worked in Chicago. He is credited as creating radio soap opera, which later made the leap to television.

According to Miami Herald reporter Nixon Smiley, Sample had a simple dream. “My ambition is to make Port Royal the finest place in the world to live. And I believe I’m succeeding.”

While he would eventually create one of the most beautiful places to live in America, Sample had to effectively pull Port Royal out of the A Floridian swampland first.

The birth of Port Royal

Everything started with a dredge-and-fill project. Sample wanted to turn the mangrove forest into a series of peninsulas surrounded by deep canals that had enough room for yachts and other pleasure craft. Sample managed to tame the swamp and shape the land into forms that could sustain Naples luxury homes.

He wanted to create a community that left nothing to be desired and lure the rich into staking a claim on the future Port Royal. Sample commissioned Howard Major, one of the leading architects in America at the time, to design the community. Sample set the standard: a luxury community with a neighborly atmosphere. Major executed his vision.

A community named after pirates

The name “Port Royal” – and indeed the names of some of the streets there – reflect Sample’s own fascination with history. He was particularly captivated by pirates that would use the coves of Florida as hiding spots.

Port Royal was named after the city in Jamaica that was  a central hub for pirate activity in the 1600s. Residents were known for their lavish lifestyle. Street names such as “Kingstown Crescent” and “Rum Row” speak to the pirate theme Sample was inspired by.

Four homes in Port Royal were listed for sale in 1952. According to a Collier County News advertisement at the time, the homes were for sale to “acceptable purchasers at exact cost.” What was deemed  “acceptable” was determined by Sample himself.

He personally interviewed anyone who expressed interest in buying one of his homes, accepting or rejecting prospective buyers based on their manners and style of dress in keeping with the ideal resident he had in mind. Like the adman he once was, Sample wanted everything to conform to the outcome he desired.

Port Royal Club

Sample established the Port Royal Club to the tune of one million dollars in 1959 – or $8.9 million in today’s money. He himself became a model member of the club, owning a 70-foot yacht called the Privateer.

The club became the center of the community and was known for their tennis courts and apple pie. Tennis greats lobbed a few balls at the club and allowed residents at Port Royal the chance to play with them.

Modern Port Royal

While the early Sixties appeared to be Port Royal’s heyday, how does the community stack up today?

Fortunately, Sample’s vision has survived the test of time. Homes in Port Royal today are modern and sprawl on multi-acre properties. Homes abut the Gulf of Mexico or edge many of the waterways within the community.

The Port Royal Club has also upgraded to meet the demands of the times, offering:

  • A manicured beach with access to Club services
  • Heated beach side pool
  • State-of-the-art exercise facilities with certified trainers and physical therapists
  • Spa treatments
  • Tennis courts with professionals conducting lessons and tournament play for all ages
  • Regular community events like dances, barbecues, and live music on the beach
  • Gourmet and casual dining in many areas of the club

Private events such as weddings and birthday or anniversary celebrations are also held at the club.

Luxury houses for sale in Port Royal, FL

The Port Royal estate in Florida is one of the most treasured neighborhoods in the entire state. It has a colorful history that continues to shape a community that has always lived in luxury.

If you’re thinking of buying a luxury home in Port Royal, FL, contact the Earls/Lappin Team at John R. Wood Properties. With over 38 years of experience, Bill Earls, Larry Lappin, and Aaron Earls are well established as top producers in the Naples luxury real estate market.

They are experts at accurately analyzing market trends in Naples real estate, which they use to their client’s best interests. Their track record is indicative of providing the results their clients seek. They consistently sell over $150M in yearly sales volume and sold $275M in 2019.  Join the growing list of satisfied homeowners throughout the Naples luxury home community. Call the Earls/ Lappin Team at John R. Wood Properties at 239.777.6622 to get started.

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