Progressing further south from downtown Miami, a section of Key Biscayne commonly known amongst the locals as Stiltsville, can be seen in the far distance. These comprise a small group of homes built on stilts.
During the early to mid-1900’s, the gambling days of Al Capone, Stiltsville was a major gambling destination. Boats could pull right up to the structures on stilts and dock. This could go through the early morning hours.
The law specified that gambling was allowed provided that it was located a mile offshore. Stiltsville is located just over a mile offshore. It was a fine and exquisite gambling establishment and clients were ferried to and from there.
During the 1980’s when Miami was in the Miami Vice days, the Stiltsville area was used for seaplane dropoffs of contraband where speedboats would take off with the cargo. Film shoots and plenty of wild parties and photo shoots for minimal clothing magazines have featured the houses of Stiltsville.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is the home of the historic lighthouse built in 1825 and reconstructed in 1846. It’s the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County.
The park has been delighting visitors as well as residents of this subtropical island of Key Biscayne. Graceful coconut palms line the walkway toward the ocean and grand historic monument. A climb to the lantern room affords a vast panorama of the lush island with its long stretch of sandy beaches and the ever-changing tropical seas. My favorite site is a pod of Florida dolphin. Biscayne Bay is alive with marine life I spotted at least 12 dolphin in the area.They are beautiful beings of the sea.
Lighthouse can be seen on the right
Against a background of blue green waters, lively dolphin, giant rays, schools of colorful fishes, occasional sharks, diving pelicans, and other tropical birds may be seen. You will view ships from international ports plying the forces of the powerful Gulf Stream, with cruise ships on the horizon, luxury yachts, deep-sea fishing boats, and bobbing sailboats riding the waves.
Some of these houses were quite large. They were simply amazing places to live in. And, each house has a story to tell. My friend owned and lived in one that fell apart in Hurricane Andrew. Unfortunately, today the houses just sit.
Stiltsville’s beauty is infinite…as the visual enjoyment goes on and on, the South Florida experience, by nature, becomes a homegrown paradise. Stiltsville is just one of the many wonders.