Stiltsville--Generations of the Flats

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The "ville" in Stiltsville suggests a town. The "stilts" suggests tumbleweed rolling down dry, dusty streets straight out of a cowboy movie in the midwest.

But Stiltsville, while a community in its own right does not reside on land-locked parcel somewhere in the middle of Florida. Rather Stiltsville is an impromptu creation of makeshift homes and clubs built on stilts on Biscayne Bay off the Miami coast. 

Transient residents know Stiltsville from boating and drinking parties. The origins which date back to the 1940's hold a similar history. It was known as an escape from the mainland for "naughty" activity.

Today, friends pile up on fishing boats, speed boats, any type of boat and ride out 30-40 minutes to anchor, play their favorite music whether salsa or Jimmy Buffet and heat up the equipped barbecue grills.   Instead of a day at the beach, it's a day in the middle of nowhere, where visitors can dive in the water or bellyflop, swim, float on rafters and not worry about Hawaii-five O type waves. 

A PBS station, WLRN, will feature a documentary tonight,  about this disappearing landmark. Prominent in the 1940's Stiltsville's foundations are toothpicks to passing hurricanes. Complete "homes" furnished with platform beds and canvas headboards were consumed by Hurricane Andrew and not a single scrap or trace ever surfaced floating on the bay or on the shores of the beach.

Don't miss this glimpse into a little known remnant of Miami history. WLRN is featuring the documentary several times this week. Below is the schedule:

Sunday, August 22, 7pm and 11:30pm
Wednesday, August 25, 9:30pm
Thursday, August 26, 9:00pm

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  1. The flats sounds like it would be somewhere fun to be!


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