Miami real estate news The Jills Blog

Fisher Island – A History of Luxury Living

Monday, January 14, 2013
Tags:   Miami Beach homes, Fisher Island
Fisher Island is world-renowned for its unparalleled opulence and comfort. This 216-acre community, located on Biscayne Bay near the Atlantic Ocean, has the highest per capita income in the United States and is the site of some of the most luxurious Miami Beach Homes on the market. The island is so exclusive that visitors and residents can only reach it by a 24-hour car ferry, helicopter, or private boat. Needless to say, this unique Fisher Island has a long and interesting history.
The island has its roots in the first South Florida real estate boom of the early 20th century. Fisher Island was at first nothing more than a by-product of dredging and land reclamations projects that were being done in and around Miami Beach. It remained that way until 1919, when land developer Carl G. Fisher – after whom the island is named – purchased the property from businesswoman and real-estate developer Dana A. Dorsey, South Florida’s first African-American millionaire. From then on, the island changed hands between many wealthy individuals.
In 1925, Fisher traded the island to William K. Vanderbilt II in exchange for his luxury yacht. It remained the site of Vanderbilt’s private seasonal home until his death in 1944, after which ownership passed to US Steel heir Edward Moore. When Moore died in the early 1950s, the island was purchased by Gar Wood, the millionaire inventor of hydraulic construction equipment. He, too, kept Fisher Island as a personal retreat, enjoying its secluded location near the ocean to indulge in his love of speedboats. In 1963, Wood sold the island to a development group that included such prominent figures as Bebe Rebozo, a local Key Biscayne millionaire; US Senator and Miamian George Smathers, and then former US Vice President Richard Nixon.
The island wasn’t always a playground for the rich. For example, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) of the University of Miami maintained its Comparative Sedimentology Laboratory on Fisher Island from 1972 to 1990, under the leadership of Dr. Robert Ginsburg. It wasn’t until the 1980s that further development on the island was finally begun, with the construction of many homes designed to match the Mediterranean style of the 1920s mansions. Since then, Fisher Island has expanded from being a single-family retreat, to housing luxury condos and mansions for over 100 of the world’s wealthiest individuals.
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