Florida Guide > State Parks
BARNACLE BILLS HISTORIC STATE PARK
Banacle Bills is located in Miami in Coconut Grove; it is the home of the philanthropic yacht designer Ralph Middletom Munroe and includes his boathouse
There are dramatic views of Biscayne Bay from the house and you can sit in a rocking chair and take them in. Here you will see almost the last remaining natural hammock which Ralph carefully preserved
Ralph was a yacht designer from New York and when both his wife and sister in law contracted T. B. he decided to move to Miami for its kinder climate and remembered Biscayne Bay from a previous visit He determined to make this his home in the hopes that the sunshine would cure his ailing family.
Sadly his wife, sister in law and daughter all died but Ralph settled in Miami any way and built firstly the boathouse in which he lived on the upper floor and then the main house.
It was a curious octagonal shape and he decided to name it Barnacle Bills.
He purchased the bayfront land for only $400 and originally built a single storey home in 1891, after wards he lifted the entire structure to insert a ground floor (what a sight that must have been!).
He was not only a boat designer but a naturalist and social reformer. It was he who legitimised boat savalging which had been in the hands if pirates and buccaneers. He made a respectable profession out of it that was fair to both sides.
Unfortunately his last surviving yacht was destroyed by hurricane andrew in 1992; there is however a good replica on show. The hurricane did not do too much damage to the house and boathouse for which we are thankful.
His story has a happy ending as in 1894 he met Jessie Wirth who he went on to marry and they had a son and daughter together.
Every wed there is "yoga by the sea" which is a gentle way to round off the day so if you are in Miami mid week, why not just go along and join in.
Barnacle Bills State Park is open Friday to mondays from 9am til 4pm and you can take a guided tour at 10am, 11. 30 am, 1pm and 2. 30 pm.
This State Park is closed on Christmas Day, New Year and Thanksgiving.
The full address is:
The Barnacle Bill State Park
3485 Main St
Tel 305 442 6866
Of course, we mainly think of Miami nowadays for its wonderfully restored art deco area, but why not go back another 50 years and visit this great house witb its lovely story?
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Page added on: 20 April 2007
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