Some people might not know the history of Miami’s Stiltsville. Through a series of breath taking images, Miami photographer, Matt Stock, is currently exhibiting his award winning photo collection of Stiltsville at Frames USA & Art Gallery, in Miami.
Located one mile south of Cape Florida on the edge of Biscayne Bay, Stiltsville’s remaining six houses stand on wood or reinforced concrete pilings. They can be elevated ten feet above the ocean water depending on the tide level. It is here where Matt Stock angled his camera to take breath taking photos of the remaining houses.
“Crawfish” Eddie started Stiltsville in 1933 to sell his chowder. He built a wooden shack on stilts a mile offshore. Eddie built this building during the end of prohibition and the shack soon attracted drinkers and gamblers. Locals, tourist and gangsters chased their beers and poker hands with a bowl of his famous homemade chowder.
It was long before a hodgepodge collection of offshore houses was built and Stiltsville became a playground for Miami’s rough and tough. In 1941, the Quarterdeck Club, an invite-only gentleman’s club was built.
The early 1960s was boom time for Stiltsville. Twenty-seven shacks crowded the sand flats, and the new Bikini Club offered free drinks for women in two-pieces and a secluded sun deck for naked lounging. Law enforcement agencies raided the Bikini Club and closed it for operating without a liquor license and undersized, out-of-season Florida Lobster. Shortly after that, Hurricane Betsy in 1965 swept away all but six Stiltsville houses.
Many houses were rebuilt after the storm. Florida issued formal leases to the shack owners with an expiration date of 1999. It would declare that any remaining structures on that date would need to be removed at the owner’s expense.
After Hurricane Andrew had decimated all but seven of the stilt houses — community support helped Stiltsville owners negotiate a deal with the government. The remaining shacks were saved and you can see these remaining houses in the Matt Stock collection being showed at Frames USA & Art Gallery.
The houses now lie within the boundaries of Biscayne National Park and are co-managed by the National Parks Service and the Stiltsville Trust.
“I am excited to host Matt Stock’s Stiltsville Collection and I am even more excited to sell his work to resident’s home decor and business’s conference rooms, says Adam Brand, Frames USA & Art Gallery owner.
Frames USA & Art Gallery is located at 6822 SW 40th street Miami, FL 33155.