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South Florida’s Iconic Stiltsville Survives Hurricane Irma

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida’s Stiltsville, once decimated by Hurricanes Betsy and Andrew, survived Hurricane Irma with only a few bumps and bruises.

The group of seven homes, atop stilts in Biscayne Bay, are “standing strong,” according to a tweet and photo sent by the Biscayne National Park Service.

The tweet reads, “All 7 Stiltsville houses are standing strong. Docks, railings and 1 roof were damaged. We’ll work with the Stiltsville Trust on repairs.”

The Stiltsville Trust is the non-profit organization that manages the use and maintenance of the structures along with the National Park Service.

Stiltsville is a famous landmark in South Florida only accessible by boat. The homes are on wood or reinforced concrete pilings in the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen also tweeted about Stiltsville during an aerial tour of damage after the storm.

Its history goes back to the 1930s when a man named “Crawfish Eddie Walker” built the first shack on stilts above the water. After the first shack went up, others followed. By 1960, there were 27 houses in Stiltsville.

But Hurricane Betsy destroyed many of the structures in 1965 and by early 1992 there were only 14 left. Then came Hurricane Andrew, which destroyed 7 more.

No more construction is allowed so these are the last seven Stiltsville structures.

Nobody actually lives there. The owners are called “caretakers” and they can’t add on to the houses, only improve and fix them. The water where Stiltsville is located is currently part of Biscayne National Park and public access is by permit only.

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