The Progressive Miami Boat Show is moving from the Miami Beach Convention Center to the Miami Marine Stadium Park, now under restoration. The Stadium is on Virginia Key. Visitors attending may come by car or by boat. The following is a short one minute video on the boat show. The City of Miami has spent more than $14 million in capital improvements in refurbishing the Stadium and providing for permanent parking and boat show additions and improvements.
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.
1959 Gold Coast Marathon on the Intracoastal Waterway
Russell Fraser, Jr., racing an outboard motorboat in the 1959 Gold Coast Marathon on the Intracoastal Waterway between Miami and West Palm Beach and the return to Miami the next day. Some hydroplanes among the scores of boats of every class reached speeds approaching a hundred miles an hour. Many fast boats completed the two-day course at an average speed of sixty miles an hour. The brainchild of powerboat enthusiast Sam Griffith, the GCM ran from the Pelican Harbor Yacht Club at the 79th Street Causeway to WPB and back (134 miles) from 1947 through the 1960s. In later years, boat mishaps and injuries forced race committeemen to abandon the ICW for the modern Miami Marine Stadium, now in the hands of preservationists who hope to restore the abandoned stadium. Courtesy, Russell Fraser, Jr.