|The Barnacle Historic State Park|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
The Barnacle, built in 1891 by Commodore Ralph Munroe
|Location||Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida, United States|
|Area||5 acres (2.0 ha)|
|Governing body||Florida State Parks|
|Website||The Barnacle Historic State Park|
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. He was also a leading designer of sailing yachts. The Florida Park Service acquired the remaining 5 acres (20,000 m2) of Munroe's original 40-acre (160,000 m2) homesite from his descendants in 1973.
Ralph Middleton Munroe first visited South Florida in 1877 while on vacation from New York City. On his second trip he brought his wife who suffered from tuberculosis. 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 (160,000 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-foot (8.5 m) modified sharpie 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. Today, it is one of the last remnants of the once vast Miami Hammock.
In the spring of 1887 Ralph Munroe 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), 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".
Daytime activities include touring the historic site, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. Concerts and other events are held frequently throughout the year, making it a popular destination in Miami.
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 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The park is closed on Tuesdays, New Year's, Thanksgiving, and Christmas days.
Admission to the park is $2 per person for everyone ages 6 and over. Admission may be paid at an honor pay station located inside the park near the restrooms, or in the park gift shop. To go inside the house guests are required to take the guided tour which is an additional $3 per person for everyone over the age of 12 and $1 for children ages 6-12. Tours are available at 10a, 11:30a, 1p, and 2:30p on a first-come, first-served basis.
The entrance is on the Northbound side of Main Highway between Abitare and The Cloister Townhomes. There is no parking available in the park itself, except for those with disabilities. However, there is a public parking lot next to the Coconut Grove playhouse and street parking throughout the neighborhood.