Stiltsville - A collection of houses built on stilts over Biscayne Bay - south of Cape Florida Lighthouse on Key Biscayne, Florida

Calvert Club
            Stiltsville Key Biscayne

Perhaps one of the most famous Stiltsville memorabilia - The 'Calvert Club' made these postcards. One of them from one of their gatherings at the 'Calvert Club'.  Looks like a party!

 

Many times, to begin a "shack" men would get together with Barges and even large yachts, scope out their desired destination on the finger channels,
wait for the highest tide of the month, and then at precisely the best time, they would get as much speed as their vessel could stand and ran their vessels or
Barges as far up onto the sand flats as they could go until they were 'hard aground', wait for the tide to subside, and begin securing their platform to
the ocean's floor, or in this case, to the sandbar's floor.  Once secured, pilings were either cemented into place or pilings were driven into the seabed with
heavy equipment and cranes to further strengthen the structure and then begin to build around it, on top of it, and anywhere else they could dream up. 
Docking for plenty of 'company' was soon added to assure that guests would have a pleasant and convenient experience.  On one of the old structures at
Stiltsville there was a bronze plaque hanging on the deck wall that read " I hope that you are enjoying yourself, but where were you when I was
building this place?"

      

A large club with a 'back up' houseboat with dockage for the locals and a Barge that appears to be in the beginning stages.

Stiltsville started as a place with its own rules and this approach to enjoying some time on the water really caught on.  At the height of its glory
days, there were 27 structures lining Biscayne Channel and numerous other finger channels.  Bait shops, Speakeasies, homes, and gambling halls.
 A collection of one stop shops conveniently located, as mentioned, in the middle of nowhere.
 
Actually, Stiltsville is a bunch of wood stilt structures that are located about one mile south of Cape Florida on sand banks of the Safety Valve on the edge of
Biscayne Bay. The structures stand on wood or reinforced concrete pilings, above the shallow water which varies from one to three feet deep at low tide. 
All have their own unique character to them with each offering the most fantastic views of Key Biscayne, Cape Florida lighthouse, with the City of Miami on
the horizon.  To get on your own private boat tour of Stiltsville, Cape Florida and the Key Biscayne area, go here for expert local guides who provide
boat charters and perhaps even mix in a little lounging on a sandbar while you are out there.
 
Stiltsville Key Biscayne fishing
            Quarterdeck
 
Stiltsville gained popularity, especially after the end of World War II when there was now enough steel and raw materials to complete the Bear Cut
bridge, the opening of Crandon Park Beach, Crandon Park Zoo, and the Mackle Brothers Construction Company buying and developing large swaths
of land on Key Biscayne and providing the financing for veterans, Stiltsville was no longer as isolated as it once was.  Instead of being located next
to Key Biscayne the unihabited coconut plantation, it was now located next to Key Biscayne  the quickly growing community and now had a new
draw of attention by the elite of Miami who wanted private clubs to get away from it all for the weekend or those looking to party from the time
the sun sets until it comes up in the morning.  There was something for everyone and Stiltsville soon got the attention of the Media in the U.S..
The Quarterdeck, for example -- which was an invitation-only private gentlemen's club -- welcomed Miami's wealthy and well-connected for
drinks and, as rumor has it, a little something more to enjoy after those drinks.  A 1941 article in LIFE magazine accurately described the Quarterdeck
club as "a $100,000 play-palace equipped with bar, lounge, bridge deck, dining room and dock slips for yachts."  Apparently the 1950's brought with
it a generation of individuals seeking out creative and innovative ways to take advantage of the excellent fishing that the swift tides brings with it.
 
Fishing from Stiltsville 1960s
 
From the 1960's to the present day, one of the most well equipped, well kept, and probably the most enjoyed by the most amount of people is also the furthest
away from the heart of stiltsville and is owned by the Miami Springs Power Boat Club. The pictures below are all of the Miami Springs Power Boat Club
stiltsville 'shack' and as you will see, they have by far the most dockage, and one would think there is adequate dockage for everyone, yet on certain special
occasions, even docking here has to resort to tying up to the vessel next to you.  It is ALWAYS worth it.
 
 

  

         Miami Springs Power Boat Club- 1960s

Stiltsville Miami Springs
            Power Boat Club
 
The western facing wall of the Power Boat Club stiltsville shack custom painted with an outstanding underwater mural
 
 
A view of about half of the available dockage here at the stiltsville shack with Key Biscayne on the horizon
 
 
Some of the guests showing up early enough to get a good spot at the dock
 
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           To see Stiltsville from the water take your friends and family on a private boat charter.

                Click here to reserve your stay at the Ritz Carlton of Key Biscayne