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Boathouse and Egret

Keeping a boat in tip-top shape was a necessity in the early days of Miami, before roads and railroads replaced sea transportation. The marine railway made it possible to repair and maintain inaccessible areas of a boat while keeping the boat dry. The marine railway, located at the Barnacle along with the fully equipped boathouse workshop, on-site blacksmith shop and nearby sawmill, offered state-of-the-art facilities unlike any other in the region. The Commodore himself provided the community with a wealth of expertise in boat design, construction and repair. In addition to tools, the original boathouse contained his collection of 56 boat designs, photography equipment and dark room. Sadly, the Commodore witnessed the destruction of his beloved boathouse as it collapsed in the hurricane of 1926. Nevertheless, he was determined to rebuild this treasure, a landmark on the shore of Biscayne Bay, to better withstand any future hurricanes or natural disasters. The Commodore anchored four cables deep into the limestone, securing them to iron beams inside the boathouse. These cables were designed to anchor the boathouse to the ground during gale force winds and giving the structure stability. Similarly, he created a system in which the bay front and back walls would break away with a rushing storm surge, but the remaining structure would stand strong. Though the Commodore never lived to see his plan in action, the boathouse was put to the test and survived Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

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