Miami Marine Stadium upon completion in 1963 on Virginia Key, Miami, Fla.

Miami Marine Stadium in 1963 upon completion on Virginia Key, Miami, Fla.

Miami Marine Stadium in 1963 upon completion on Virginia Key, Miami, Fla., overlooking Biscayne Bay, dedicated as the Ralph Munroe Marine Stadium on December 23rd.[Model]

An architectural jewel designed by 28-year-old Hilario Candela, the Stadium was used for decades for concerts,boat races, even boxing matches, for crowds at a maximum number of 6,566 until it fell into disuse and functional deterioration. As of this writing, a preservation group has formed to restore and renovate the Stadium for its original uses as well as to assemble a collection of primary and secondary artifacts and materials to tell the story of the museum  from its original conception, to its use design and construction, to its deterioration from misuse and disuse, to the formation of efforts to renovate and restore the structure for its its original uses and additional uses as a museum and library of materials related to its past and intended uses.

The Stadium was built at a cost of $1 million. The Biscayne Bay was dredged for boat racing by marine and heavy construction contractor J.B. Fraser & Sons of Ft. Lauderdale for approximately $900,000.

Unfortunately, upon opening day of a boat race, a speedboat racer died in a boating accident. Still, the Stadium stayed in operation for decades until 1992 when the structure was declared unsafe by local building officials as a result of Hurricane Andrew. Trespassers had easy access to cover the entire structure in graffiti. The wooden seats became unsafe as a result of destruction and weather deterioration. In 1963, Candela’s 326-foot long single cantilevered fold-plate roof was the longest such single poured roof in the world.

The Friends of Miami Marine Stadium was organized in February 20, 2008, to raise the funds to restore the Miami Marine Stadium.

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