Saturday, June 9, 2007

Miami eyesore

Located on Virginia Key, the 7,500 seat Miami Marine Stadium was built in 1963 on land donated by the Matheson family for "Water Sports". It was the first purpose built stadium for powerboat racing in the United States.

The Stadium was host for many world class powerboat events including Unlimited Hydroplane, Inboard. Outboard Performance Craft, Stock, Modified, Grand National divisions as well as other special event races. The Stadium was also the site of a number of nationally televised events including the Bill Muncey Invitational and the ESPN All American Challenge Series. The last major race in the Stadium was the 1987 Inboard Hydroplane national Championship.

The Stadium utilized a floating stage in front of the grandstand for diverse activities such as classical concerts, Rock and Roll shows and the annual Easter Sunrise Service.

Due to restrictions in use, political pressures from within the City of Miami, and the lack of proper promotion the Stadium saw a gradual decline in events. At the same time the City leased much of the Stadium grounds to numerous ventures including the Miami Rowing Club, and various marinas and restaurants. This created an atmosphere not conducive to the original intent of the Stadium, namely powerboat racing. Numerous proposals were floated before the Miami City Commission throughout the 1980s to no avail. One drawback was the restriction the Matheson family placed upon the Stadium when the land was donated for its construction. By the early 1990s powerboat racing in the Stadium was in reality only a memory.

In 1992 Hurricane Andrew struck the Miami/Dade County area. Engineers for the City condemned the structure. Other independent engineers declared the structure sound although needing refurbishing. Since that time the Stadium has been allowed to sit with no attempt at maintenance. Vandalism has been great at the Stadium since the hurricane.

Source: Jeff G Unpublished manuscript

The stadium is a breeding ground now for many of Miami's graffiti artists. Almost every inch of the inner walls of the stadium display everything from amateur to expert aspiring artists. This photo shows the causeway side of the stadium where graffiti can be seen to cover its entire roof. Trash and decay are apparent everywhere surrounding its ground.

History of the stadium:

1963 - Ralph Munroe Marine Stadium is opened, named for the one of the earliest white settlers on Biscayne Bay. It costs $2 million. A speed boat racer, James Tapp, is killed on opening day.
1968 - Stadium is officially named a fallout shelter in case of nuclear attack.
1971 - Mitch Miller of Sing Along with Mitch fame performs at the stadium. The cheap seats cost $1.
1972 - President Richard Nixon walks onto the stage and singer Sammy Davis Jr. hugs him before a crowd of more than 6,000.
1991 - Phil Donahue does a show from the stadium. His featured guest: New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.
1992 - On September 18th, county building authorities order the stadium evacuated immediately because it is unsafe.
2002: Miami Mayor Manny Diaz promises to refurbish the Marine Stadium.
2007 - City of Miami closes marine stadium cove to all motorized marine traffic due to persistent complaints.

Lost Landmarks

Miami Marine Stadium

2 comments:

Ms. Calabaza said...

I went to see various concerts there and it was a unique experience. I particularly remember a Beach Boys concert in the 1980's. . . nice memory - too bad they let it go . . .

Abraham Lincoln said...

Sadly the time comes to end everything. Nice shot of it on its way.

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