Uncategorized July 24, 2023

The Exclusive History of Fisher Island, Miami’s Original Private Paradise

Showing Fischer island with the straight line dredge from port Miami out to the sea

Fisher Island, the ultra-exclusive private oasis off Miami, was not always so isolated and elite. Over 100 years ago it was just another part of South Beach, with no water separating it from the mainland.

That changed thanks to the ambitious dreams of developer Carl Fisher. After pioneering the Dixie Highway from Indiana all the way south to Miami in 1915, Fisher set his sights on transforming an uninhabited Miami Beach.

Fisher helped finance construction of a wooden causeway bridge to the island, at the time the longest wooden bridge in the world. This provided key access to grow the area Fisher named “Miami Beach.”

In 1919 Fisher purchased land including what was called Alton Beach, envisioning a deep water port. Henry Flagler had advocated for a Miami port to accommodate cruise ships, but there was no deep water access. So Fisher commissioned dredging of Government Cut between Miami and Alton Beach, allowing cruise ships to finally reach the new Miami port.The dredged sand expanded Alton Beach from 21 to 216 acres. Fisher developed the island into a lush tropical retreat, building amenities like a golf course, tennis courts, and more.

In 1927 Fisher traded 7 acres to William Vanderbilt II for a yacht. Vanderbilt later completed the island’s iconic mansion in 1936.President Harding remarked in 1921: “Carl Fisher made Miami Beach out of a jungle. He is making it a wonderful city!”

Today, Fisher Island is home to over 800 high-end residences, ranging from $2 million to $40 million. It has restaurants, schools, marinas and even its own ferry service.

But its exclusive amenities originated from the vision of Carl Fisher, the colorful developer whose clever stunts first put Fisher Island and Miami Beach on the map.

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