The Barnacle Historic State Park
The Barnacle Historic State Park is a 5 acres (2 ha) Florida State Park
Florida State Parks
The Florida State Parks encompass the majority of the lands that fall under the authority of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. There are 160 such entities, including nature reserves, recreation areas, and historic sites, which can be found in every corner of the state...

 in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 at 3485 Main Highway.

Built in 1891, it is the oldest house in its original location in Miami-Dade County. The Barnacle was the home of Ralph Middleton Munroe, one of Coconut Grove’s founders, as well as founder and Commodore of the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club (now the Miami. He was also a leading designer of sailing yacht
A yacht is a recreational boat or ship. The term originated from the Dutch Jacht meaning "hunt". It was originally defined as a light fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries...

s. The Florida Park Service acquired the remaining 5 acres (20,234.3 m²) of Munroe's original 40 acres (161,874.4 m²) homesite from his descendants in 1973.

The Barnacle Historic State Park is served by the Miami Metrorail
Metrorail (Miami)
The Miami Metrorail, officially Metrorail and commonly called the Metro, is the heavy rail rapid transit system of Miami, Florida, United States, serving the Miami metropolitan area. The Metro is operated by Miami-Dade Transit, a departmental agency of Miami-Dade County...

 at the Douglas Road
Douglas Road (Metrorail station)
Douglas Road is a Metrorail station just southwest of Coconut Grove, in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables, Florida.The station is located at the intersection of South Douglas Road and South Dixie Highway , opening to service May 20, 1984.-Places of interest:*Coral Gables**Village of Merrick...

 and the Coconut Grove
Coconut Grove (Metrorail station)
Coconut Grove is a Metrorail station on the western end of the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida.The station is located at the intersection of South Dixie Highway and West 27th Avenue , opening to service May 20, 1984....



Ralph Middleton Munroe first visited South Florida in 1877 while on vacation from New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. On his second trip he brought his wife who suffered from tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

. Unfortunately, the cure failed and she died. Her body is buried in Coconut Grove. He returned several times to the area and in 1887 decided to settle in the Bay.

Ralph Munroe purchased 40 acres (161,874.4 m²) of bayfront land in 1886 for $400 in addition to one of his sailboats, the Kingfish, valued at an additional $400. His boathouse was built in 1887 and he lived on its upper floor until his main house was completed in 1891. The house, a one-story structure, was raised off the ground on wood pilings. Its central room is octagonal in shape and Munroe called his home "The Barnacle," presumably because it resembled one. It remained a bungalow until 1908 when more space was needed for his growing family. The whole structure was lifted and a new first story inserted below. In 1912 a library was built adjacent to the house. The Barnacle survived the disastrous 1926 hurricane and Hurricane Andrew in 1992 with only minimal damage.

Ralph Munroe's principal passion in life was designing yachts. Boats were the major form of transportation in the early days of Coconut Grove and yachting was a popular sport. Many South Floridians commissioned Munroe to design their yachts. In 1887, a group of residents formed the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, electing Munroe as Commodore, a title that he held for 22 years. In his lifetime, he drew plans for 56 different yachts. Micco, one of the last of Munroe's boats, was displayed at the park until Hurricane Andrew reduced the 101-year-old vessel to fragments. Egret, a replica of Munroe's 28 feet (8.5 m) modified sharpie
Sharpie (boat)
Sharpies are long, narrow sailboats with flat bottoms, extremely shallow draft, centerboards and straight, flaring sides. They are believed to have originated in the New Haven, Connecticut region of Long Island Sound, United States...

 is now moored offshore.

As a seaman, civic activist, naturalist, and photographer, Commodore Munroe was a man who cherished the natural world around him. A walk into the park passes through a tropical hardwood hammock. It is representative of the original landscape within the city of Miami
Miami, Florida
Miami is a city located on the Atlantic coast in southeastern Florida and the county seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida and the eighth-most populous county in the United States with a population of 2,500,625...

. Today, it is one of the last remnants of the once vast Miami Hammock
Hammock (ecology)
Hammocks are dense stands of hardwood trees that grow on natural rises of only a few inches higher than surrounding marshland that is otherwise too wet to support them. Hammocks are distinctive in that they are formed gradually over thousands of years rising in a wet area through the deposits of...



In the spring of 1887 Ralph Munroe
Ralph Munroe
Ralph Middleton Munroe was an American yacht designer and early resident of Coconut Grove in south Florida. His home, now The Barnacle Historic State Park, is the oldest house in Miami-Dade County still standing in its original location.-Early life:Munroe was born to Thomas and Ellen Middleton...

 organized a regatta on Biscayne Bay with fifteen boats divided into three classes. "The winners were Ada (Captain Brickell), Maggie (Captain Carney) and Edna (Captain Addison), while Alfred Munroe and Charles Peacock were timekeepers and judges. After the race all hands, about fifty in number, participated in a good dinner at Peacock's (the Peacock Inn
Peacock Park
Peacock Park is a public, urban park in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida on the shore of Biscayne Bay.-History:Among the first permanent settlers in South Florida were grocers Charles and Isabella Peacock who arrived in Coconut Grove encouraged to establish a hotel...

), given by the promoters. Thus began organized aquatic sports on the Bay, the Washington's Birthday Regatta afterwards being a fixture of the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, until the displacement of sails by gasoline in general interest caused it to degenerate into a "Chowder-party".

Timeline: Early History of the Site

  • Before 1846: Largely unused, like most of South Florida, until the Seminole Wars
    Seminole Wars
    The Seminole Wars, also known as the Florida Wars, were three conflicts in Florida between the Seminole — the collective name given to the amalgamation of various groups of native Americans and Black people who settled in Florida in the early 18th century — and the United States Army...

     forced Seminoles into this area. Spanish expeditions may have explored the bay on mapping expeditions, but any inland explorations are purely speculative.
  • 1846: Land first surveyed.
  • 1868, November 14: Edmund Beasley files claim for site under the Homestead Act. May have dug well on site. Built a small house later called the Three Sisters Cottage about this time.
  • 1870: Beasley dies, leaves site to his wife, Anna.
  • 1872: Site rented to Dr. Horace Porter.
  • 1873, January 6: Porter establishes a post office, which he calls Cocoanut Grove.
  • 1873, July: Porter unsuccessfully attempts to claim site under the Homestead Act, claiming that it had been abandoned by the Beasleys.
  • 1875, May 20: Mrs. Beasley gains clear title to the site.
  • 1877: Mrs. Beasley sells site to John W. Frow, lighthouse keeper at Cape Florida
    Key Biscayne
    Key Biscayne is an island located in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States, between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay. It is the southernmost of the barrier islands along the Atlantic coast of Florida, and lies south of Miami Beach and southeast of Miami...

    , for $100.00.
  • 1886: Ralph Munroe purchases 40 acres (161,874.4 m²) for $400.00 plus the boat "Kingfish" which he values at $400.00.
  • 1887: First Washington's Birthday Regatta held.

Timeline: History of the Barnacle

  • 1887: Ralph Munroe builds boathouse with living quarters on upper floor and workshop on lower floor.
  • 1891, Summer: Ralph begins constructing the Barnacle house.
  • 1895: Ralph marries Jessie Wirth.
  • 1900: Daughter, Patty, born. Jessie's sister, Josephine, joins household to help with child.
  • 1902: Son Wirth Middleton Munroe is born.
  • 1903: Northwest corner of house expanded.
  • 1908: House raised and first floor added.
  • 1913: House electrified and library added.
  • 1916: Indoor bathrooms added to northeast corner of first floor and area off of Mr. & Mrs. Munroe's bedroom with water tank on second floor.
  • 1926: Original boathouse destroyed in hurricane. House sustains minor damage. Boathouse later rebuilt along lines substantially like those of original.
  • 1928: House assumes present day form by enclosing porches on sides of house on both floors and extending library and kitchen.
  • 1932: Patty marries William Catlow, moves to New Jersey.
  • 1933: Wirth marries Mary Poore.
  • 1933, August 20: Ralph dies at age 82. Buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, MA.
  • 1940: Jessie dies, Wirth and Mary move into house with their children, Charles and William.
  • 1959: Sarah Josephine Wirth (Aunt Dodie) dies.
  • 1968: Wirth Munroe dies.
  • 1973: Munroe family sells site to the State of Florida.
  • 1988: Used as the backdrop to the finale of the Miami Vice
    Miami Vice
    Miami Vice is an American television series produced by Michael Mann for NBC. The series starred Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as two Metro-Dade Police Department detectives working undercover in Miami. It ran for five seasons on NBC from 1984–1989...

     TV episode 'Deliver Us From Evil' (first aired 29 April 1988). The house was portrayed as the Caribbean island hideaway of career criminal Frank Hackman, who tricked Det. Sonny Crockett into getting him released from death row
    Death row
    Death row signifies the place, often a section of a prison, that houses individuals awaiting execution. The term is also used figuratively to describe the state of awaiting execution , even in places where no special facility or separate unit for condemned inmates exists.After individuals are found...

    , and later murdered Crockett's wife. Crockett successfully tracked Hackman to the house and avenged his wife's death by shooting Hackman in cold blood. The dramatic scene concludes with Crockett walking towards the water's edge and showing a vista of the property with the dead Hackman slumped over in a lawn chair.
  • 1992: Hurricane Andrew heavily damages boathouse, destroys one of the last surviving Munroe boats, the "Micco", but house receives only very minor damage.
  • 1994: Site of the final answer in the 1994 Tropic Hunt
    Tropic Hunt
    The Herald Hunt, formerly the Tropic Hunt, is an annual puzzlehunt in Miami, Florida. It was co-created by Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry, along with Tropic editors Gene Weingarten and Tom Shroder...

    , just before reopening to the public.


Daytime activities include touring the historic site, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. Concerts and other events are held frequently throughout the year.

Hours of Operation

The Barnacle is open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with tours at 10, 11:30 a.m.; 1 and 2:30 p.m. Friday through Monday and for groups by reservation Wednesday and Thursday. The park is closed on Tuesdays, New Year's, Thanksgiving, and Christmas days.

Park Fees

Admission to the park is $2.00 per person for persons aged 6 and older. Children younger than 6 are admitted free of charge. Tours are available for an additional fee: $3 per person age 12 and older; $1 each for children from 6–12 years of age; children under six tour for free.

Location and Parking

The park is across the street from the former Senor Frog's restaurant (vacant as of June 2010). The entrance is within sight of the Coconut Grove Playhouse. There is no parking available in the park itself, except for those with disabilities. However there a public parking lot next to the playhouse and street parking throughout the neighborhood.

External links

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