In November 1928, Belle Isle’s most prominent resident was retailer J.C. Penney, who wintered in a spectacular mansion on Biscayne Bay.
The economy of the United States was booming. Herbert Hoover had just been elected president. Before his January 1929 inauguration, he traveled to Florida, and visited his friend, Penney, and stayed on Belle Isle.
It was the roaring 20s, and Al Capone cut a swaggering profile here, with a house a short distance across Biscayne Bay from Belle Isle, at 93 Palm Ave. on Palm Island. He bought that house in early 1928.
Some say it was during Hoover’s visit to our island that he crossed paths with Capone and decided to point the IRS at the gangster.