Wednesday, May 25, 2011

products of prohibition

Prohibition has always been a historic interest of mine.  I find the hypocrisy of society and the those who take advantage of it, very interesting.  Yesterday I took a day off from the gallery to do some free-diving, fishing, and all around salt life exploring with some good buddies of mine.

We first visited a shipwreck right of the shores of South Beach called "Half Moon".  Half Moon was the name of a ship that was anchored of the coast of Miami during prohibition times as a drinking and gambling saloon.  The Half Moon capsized and ran a ground in the 60's and began to sink.  Today, a perfect skeleton remains of the ship covered in coral.  This would be the first stop in the days adventure, next stop Stiltsville.
The view of Miami Beach from the Half Moon site.
Stiltsville is located about a mile off the South end of Key Biscayne.  It was literally a town, a mile off the coast of Miami in the middle of the Bay which is only accessible by boat.  At its prime, it was said to have 20 houses or structures but after decades of Hurricanes and government intervention, Stiltsville now only has 5 or 6 remaining structures standing.  Stiltsville is now owned by the government and is protected as a historical site.  Stiltsville was rumored to be the creation of Al Capone, who developed the area after he could no longer have casinos and brothels with in Miami city limits.  So Al Capone built a small town 1 mile off the coast of Miami, which was no longer with in the city limits and out of the jurisdiction of law enforcement, to cater to the immense demand for alcohol consumption and prostitution.  Stiltsville was home to some legendary social clubs including The Quaterdeck Club and the Calvert Club.
I feel that we are very close to the political climate that existed during the prohibition era.  More and more of our freedoms are being taken from us by those who denounce certain elements in public while indulging in those same elements in private (Tea Partiers/ Tea Baggers).  This is the same sentiment that I find interesting in the government acceptance, realization, and protection of things once considered a societal faux pas.
No matter what your political view are, Stiltsville is a must see in Miami and a unique part of Miami's history and culture.

No comments: