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Accessibility
Florida State Parks are in various stages of accessibility, and are working to improve access to services and facilities. Should you need assistance to enable your full participation, please contact the individual park office as soon as possible. Sometimes as many as ten days may be needed to schedule a particular accommodation.

Management & Protection
Florida State Parks are managed as natural systems. All plant and animal life is protected in state parks. Hunting, livestock grazing and timber removal are not permitted. Do not remove, deface, mutilate or molest any natural resources. For your safety, do not feed any animals. Intoxicants and firearms are prohibited.

Hours of Operation
Florida state parks are open from 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.

Pets
Pets are not allowed in camping areas, on bathing beaches, in concession areas and may be restricted in other designated areas of the park. Where pets are allowed, they must be kept on a six-foot, hand-held leash and well-behaved at all times. Service dogs are welcome in all areas of the parks.

State Park Guide
To discover and experience all of the Real Florida at Florida's 145 state parks, ask a Park Ranger where you can pick up a copy of the Florida State Park Guide, or call 850/488-9872.

Hours of Operation
Florida state parks are open from 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.

Pets
Pets are not allowed in camping areas, on bathing beaches, in concession areas and may be restricted in other designated areas of the park. Where pets are allowed, they must be kept on a six-foot, hand-held leash and well-behaved at all times. Service dogs are welcome in all areas of the parks.

State Park Guide
To discover and experience all of the Real Florida at Florida's 145 state parks, ask a Park Ranger where you can pick up a copy of the Florida State Park Guide, or call 850/488-9872.



 



Reservations for
Florida State
Parks are now
made through
Reserve America,

toll free, at
1-800-326-3521

 


 

THE BARNACLE STATE HISTORIC STATE PARK

Just off of Main Highway in bustling downtown Coconut Grove, you can discover the atmosphere of the days of yore. The Barnacle State Historic State Park contains the oldest home in Dade County in its original location. Situated on the shore of Biscayne Bay, the Barnacle was the home of Ralph Middleton Munroe, one of Coconut Grove's most charming and influential pioneers. The Florida Park Service acquired the remaining five acres of Munroe's original 40-acre homesite from his descendants in 1973. It is one of the best preserved historic sites you will find and a visit here provides a glimpse into the rich past of the Era of the Bay.



HISTORY
Ralph Munroe first visited South Florida in 1877 while on vacation from New York. His next visit to the area was not as pleasant. In 1881, doctors told Munroe that his wife Eva and her sister Adeline suffered from tuberculosis. According to Munroe, doctors warned that without an absolute change of climate, they would be incurable.

Munroe immediately thought of beautiful Biscayne Bay, and at once prepared to take them there. Despite his efforts, illness took its toll. Eva passed away at their camp along the bank of the Miami River. Her sister's death followed and Munroe was met with the news of the death of his infant daughter upon his arrival back in New York.

He returned to South Florida in 1882 to visit the grave of his wife and to help an acquaintance open a hotel on the shore of Biscayne Bay. First known as Bay View Villa, the hotel was renamed Peacock Inn and the establishment had a long and profitable history.

Ralph Munroe originally purchased 40 acres of bayfront land in 1886 for $400 and one of his sailboats, Kingfish, which he valued at an additional $400. His boathouse was built in 1887 and Munroe lived in its upper floor until he had his main house built in 1891. The house was a one-story structure which was raised off the ground on wood pilings. Its central room was octagonal in shape and Munroe came to call his home the "Barnacle." It remained a bungalow until more space was needed in 1908. At that time the whole structure, as it stood, was lifted and a new first floor inserted below. The Barnacle house survived the disastrous hurricane of 1926 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992 with only minimal damage.

Ralph Munroe's principal zest in life was designing yachts. Boats were a major form of transportation in the early days and yachting was a popular sport. Many South Florida pioneers commissioned Munroe to design their yachts. In 1887, a group of residents formed the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club. They elected Ralph Munroe as Commodore, a title he held for 22 years. In his lifetime, the Commodore drew plans for 56 different boats. Micco, the last of Munroe's boats in existence, was displayed here until Hurricane Andrew's impact reduced the 101-year-old vessel to fragments. Egret, a replica of Munroe's 28-foot modified sharpie, is now moored offshore. The fall of 1894 marked the beginning of Ralph Munroe's new family. He met Miss Jessie Wirth while on a cruise with friends. They were married that spring, the beginning of along and happy home life at the Barnacle. In 1900, Jessie gave birth to a daughter, Patty. Patty was followed two years later by her brother Wirth. The family took frequent cruises on the Bay and the children learned to sail at a very early age.

With the Florida Reef lining the southeast coast, ships frequently ran aground. Many people in the area made a living by salvaging these ships - a profession called wrecking. This was one of Ralph Munroe's most adventurous endeavors. Before his time, wrecking activities were often carried out by pirates and buccaneers. Munroe's wrecking days were honorable. There were formal contracts between wrecking companies and underwriters. Work was performed by divers, steam winches, pumps, barges, tugs and other modern equipment of the era. When on a tour of the Barnacle, you will see some remnants of Munroe's wrecking ventures.

As you walk into this historic site from busy Main Highway, you are surrounded by a forest called a tropical hardwood hammock. In the 1920s it was a representative example of the original landscape within the limits of Miami. Today, it is one of the last places where one can see a remnant of the once vast "Miami Hammock." Commodore Munroe preserved the original hammock between the road and the Barnacle, cutting out only a winding buggy trail barely wide enough for one vehicle. As a result, the forest contains many old trees and appears much as it did in Munroe's day.

As a historian, naturalist and photographer, Commodore Munroe was a man far ahead of his time. His home, the Barnacle, reflects the image of a simpler time in South Florida's past. His property, home and its contents easily depict a lifestyle that exists no more. Enjoy your visit to this special part of the Real Florida's past.




The Barnacle is located in Coconut Grove (Miami) at 3485 Main Highway.


For more information:
The Barnacle State Historic State Park
3485 Main Highway
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
(305) 448-9445
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