The name Port Royal was conceived after the infamous 17th Century Jamaican city where privateers and smugglers spent their spoils from the looting of ships in the Caribbean. The streets of Port Royal are all named in the tradition and theme of those days gone by. Names like Gin Lane, Rum Row, Galleon Drive and Buccaneers Roost.
The completed lots, one half acre and up, began selling for $7500 to $12,000 and the spec homes that Sample developed sold for $22,000 to $25,000. A good sum of money back in those days. Today a vacant lot may be had for around $4,000,000 and completed homes valued as high as $30,000,000 on the Gulf of Mexico.
Port Royal is the definition of luxury Florida living and lifestyle. A paradise conceived and over decades it has matured into majestic beach front mansions and fabulous waterfront estates all surrounded by the most exquisite examples of tropical flora and fauna.
In 1959 John Sample developed the now famous luxury beach side private membership Port Royal Club. A world class facility now featuring gourmet dining, entertaining, fitness center with personal trainers and physical therapists, spa treatments, tennis facilities with professional staff and lessons and beach side swimming pool representing a luxury standard of living on the Gulf Coast of Florida and is a symbol of the life style that is Port Royal.
A great article written by Stacie Zinn in October issue of N Magazine 1997 sums up the great history of Port Royal and its visionary John Glenn Sample with great stories and background by his son Joe Sample and other long time Naples residents and business professionals. I have included some excerpts here.
In the 1940’s many of the corporate giants along with the rich and famous of the North East had discovered the legendary Palm Beach founded and developed by Henry Flagler that featured the famous architecture of Addison Mizner. Both great stories in Florida History.
Sample not impressed by the fame and fortune that was Palm Beach decided to look elsewhere and at the recommendation of a friend he first came to Naples in 1938 at the age of 46. Sample discovered the relaxed atmosphere that Naples had to offer on the quiet and serene Gulf of Mexico and soon began buying property on the south end of Naples which was mostly comprised of mangrove and swamp land along Naples Bay and south to Gordon Pass, the only access from the Gulf of Mexico, along with prime Gulf front property.
Between 1938 and 1950, Sample acquired small parcels of land that eventually totaled up to about two square miles and conceived a real estate development of gulf front, deep water canal, cove and Naples Bay front lots to be sold to buyers that he handpicked. He named the project PORT ROYAL.
According to many old time Naples residents and business professionals Glenn Sample had a penchant for bluntness and an intolerance of anyone who did not think as he did. By the time Sample began developing Port Royal in 1948 he had become quite successful in the advertising business and it didn’t hurt to be married to a wife that came from a family of “means”. Developing Port Royal, says son Joe, provided his father a way of life that he thoroughly enjoyed. “He invested $3.5 million in Port Royal,” says Joe, “and that was almost all the money he received from selling his advertising agency.” Sample was in no hurry for the sale of his Port Royal lots and was willing to wait until buyers that he personally enjoyed and felt were the right fit for his new found paradise.