Stiltsville, seven wooden homes that have rested on stilts in Biscayne Bay for almost 90 years, survived Hurricane Irma relatively unscathed, according to the Biscayne National Park Service.
There was some dock and railing damage and one home needs roof repairs. But compared to past major hurricanes like Betsy and Andrew, the iconic structures held up just fine during Irma’s tropical storm force winds and hurricane gusts.
The National Park Service tweeted Wednesday that “that all 7 Stiltsville houses are standing strong,” and said that together with the Stiltsville Trust, the homes would be repaired.
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The homes in the water off the far tip of Key Biscayne began popping up in the 1930s after a man named “Crawfish” Eddie Walker built the first one. By the 1960s there 27 homes built of wood on concrete slabs that were used as fishing hubs or getaway spots.
When Betsy tore through in 1965, many of the homes were destroyed. Then Andrew took seven more in 1992. The remaining seven were left standing and repaired.
No one has lived in the homes for decades. The non-profit Stiltsville Trust cares for the buildings and offers trips to the homes that rest in relatively shallow water, to sightseers. New construction is not permitted, but the trust is expected to repair and maintain the buildings.
On Monday, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen flew over the iconic structures with the U.S. Coast Guard and tweeted “found the silver lining in #Stiltsville still standing,” then posted pictures.