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Stiltsville Boat Tour with Dr. Paul George [Video]

December 18, 2008 By Gus in Miami: Local NewsMiami: Travel News  | 8 Comments

Have you heard about Miami’s stilt houses built above the water in Biscayne Bay? Books, movies and TV shows have featured the place. The area is called “Stiltsville,” and federal park officials want to tear it down.

Is Stiltsville a landmark, worthy of the National Register of Historic Places, or an aging trailer park built on water, eroding the Bay’s ecosystem? You can decide for yourself after watching this video of Stiltsville, narrated by South Florida Historian, Dr. Paul George:

ABOVE: An 8-minute tour of Stiltsville: Leeshaw house; Hardin house; Shaw Sessions Baldwin house; Jimmy Ellenburg house; Hicks house; Miami Springs Powerboat Clubhouse; Bay Chateau.

15 Things You’ll Learn in the Video

  • How Stiltsville began in the 1930s, with Crawfish Charlie’s bait shack
  • Definition of a Commodore
  • Shallow areas in the Bay and a good spot for kiteboarding
  • How the homes were constructed
  • Rules and regulations on getting a lease
  • How many homes were left standing after Hurricane Andrew
  • Most abundant fish in the area
  • Stiltsvillians main enemy was not sun, or sharks, but seagulls
  • Most picturesque home in the area
  • Where Lloyd Bridges shot “Around the World Under the Sea”
  • Distance to the Cape Florida Lighthouse
  • Why Jimmy Ellenburg was the unofficial mayor of Stiltsville
  • Where Jimmy’s Hurricane Drive-In was located and what was on the menu
  • Which Stiltsville house was owned by a group of Miami firemen and policeman
  • How to be a good tour guide

About the Tour

For two decades, Dr. Paul George, historian for the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, has toured his way to acclaim with his continuing series of historic tours. As a South Florida native, author and Miami Dade college professor, Dr. George has gained fame for his ability to recall the most impressive details about the people and places that make South Florida so unique.

Dr. George is a great storyteller. For the entire 3 hours, he kept us entertained. He was charming to talk to. I highly recommend the tour!

HMSF Tours & Program Schedule

For information and reservations, call (305) 375-1621, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 3 pm (or leave a message at anytime) or email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Have you been to Stiltsville?

Why should Stiltsville be saved? What should be done with the homes? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Related Categories: Tours Miami: Local News, Miami: Travel News,

Gus Moore heads up Miami Beach 411 as site administrator. You can reach him at 1-305-754-2206.

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8 Comments on

"Stiltsville Boat Tour with Dr. Paul George [Video]"

Maria de los Angeles says:

Great video Gus!  I really enjoyed this tour.  In the Everglades they have raised wooden platforms that you can reserve to go camping.  I guess the homes here could be preserved and rented out.  Trouble is, you can’t really control who gets into those homes.  It would be “use at your own risk.”  At this point, I don’t see any reason for tearing the down.  Mother nature will probably seal Stiltsville’s fate with a couple good hurricanes in the future.

Posted on 12/19/2008 at 12:56 PM

Gus says:

Thanks, Maria. I had fun, too. Having you there made it all the better.

“I guess the homes here could be preserved and rented out.”

I thought Dr. George said that’s what they’d like to do.

Check out what these kiteboarders are doing at Stiltsville:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPPLPkY7I7w

Posted on 12/19/2008 at 1:33 PM

Morgan says:

I am making my second trip to Stiltsville this weekend and I can’t wait. I’ll be staying at the Miami Power Boat Clubhouse as I did in August. All that I can really say is that it is one of the top 5 most interesting things I’ve ever done in my life and the pictures I’ve taken and the fun I’ve had are priceless. It’s beautiful out there, the history is amazing and I truly hope they never get rid of these wonders of the sea.

Posted on 01/02/2009 at 1:01 PM

Maria de los Angeles says:

Oh how fun! Please do come back and share your trip with us in the forums. I’d love to hear about it.

Posted on 01/02/2009 at 5:21 PM

Jackie Slayden says:

Hello, my name is Jaclyn Slayden, and my family actually owns the a-frame house in stiltsville. We have a great time out there and usually stay for 3 or 4 days at a time. It’s the most beautiful, peaceful, and interesting place, and my favorite too. Stiltsville has been a HUGE part of my life, I grew up out there. We fish, snorkel, scuba dive, wakeboard, etc out there, and I would do anything to keep that place from being torn down. If you have any questions, want to see any pictures, or just hear some of my amazing experiences from out there, let me know!

Posted on 09/13/2010 at 11:49 AM

Deidre Stadnik says:

I would love for my family to stay at the Miami Springs Powerboat Clubhouse. Could you tell me how I would go about doing this?

Posted on 09/27/2010 at 9:02 PM

Allison says:

My husband and I met the son of the person that built the A frame house - I can’t recall his name but I know he went to Auburn and so did my husband “War Eagle” anyways I wanted to get in touch with him to ask him a question regarding the house, would you please contact me directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or ask him to contact me, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks so much!
Allison

Posted on 05/30/2013 at 2:03 PM

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