Naples and the Rodeo Drive of Long Beach
You probably didn’t know that Naples’ famed 2nd Street used to be called Gabriella Canal -- because it wasn’t a street at all in the early 1900s, it was a waterway!
“It was named after the San Gabriel River, which was dumped out at the Eastern end of it,” said Naples historian Stan Poe, who has written books on the history of Naples. “Eventually it was filled in due to poor water circulation. And as 2nd Street Canal was filled in and development of the Shore began, streets were then designated drives.”
Of course 2nd Street is now arguably the most happening street in Long Beach – the Rodeo Drive of Naples – with all the shops and restaurants. But in 1903, Naples was merely a mud flat. Enter developer Arthur M. Parsons, who came to the area one day that year to shoot ducks. He looked over the site and had an epiphany. He whipped out an envelope and made a rough water-color drawing of his dream reality -- a city mimicking the old-world romantic setting of Italia. Parsons established a company and developed the subdivision known today as Naples. At that time there were no roads leading to it; thus, all the gravel and cement for the sidewalks had to be transported on barges across Alamitos Bay. In its street names, Naples carries out that European flavor and color – with names such as Angelo, Campo, Giralda, Ravenna, Tivoli and Sorrento – all places in Italy and Europe.