Guest Post: Hidden History of the Venetian Islands

Read Time: 2 mins

About the Author: Jason Katz is the publisher of Islandia Journal, a (sub)tropical journal of myth, folklore, history, ecology, cryptozoology, and the paranormal. He is a contributing editor at Burnaway Magazine and writer with work published in the Miami New Times, Bitter Southerner, Ploughshares, and Saw Palm Magazine. His work is printed/forthcoming in Waterproof: Evidence of Miami Worth Remembering by Jai Alai Books and a Florida guide book published by A24 Films.

During the pandemic, I took regular walks across the Venetian Causeway. Using historic property cards as a reference, I’d note just how much has changed over the nearly one hundred years since the islands’ residential developments. Many of the homes on the Venetian Islands hold within them hidden histories; and many elements surrounding the development of the islands have been hidden in the archives… until now!

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O, Miami and Islandia Journal are partnering to host a lyrical hidden history tour of the Venetian Islands. Attendees are invited to meet at Margaret Pace Park @ 4:30 on April 16th. There you will receive a zine / guide to some historic places along the causeway. Attendees will guide themselves by foot, bike, or car to Belle Isle Park at 6:30 where poets will read work which has been inspired by hidden histories of these islands.

From the site of the demolished Venetian Hotel to a column at the causeway’s entrance that reads “Shortway”, and all the way to mysterious seahorse symbols on Rivo Alto Island, these historic elements will finally receive the illumination and treatment they deserve. Not many folks are aware that Leicester “Les” Hemingway and his family occupied a home on San Marino Island that still stands today. From the home, he launched a micronation called New Atlantis, held regular seances, and held gatherings for all the local literati. Most of us aren’t aware that Ernest Hemingway had a younger brother, let alone that he was a Miami local.

Above: UM Waterfront Laboratory Boathouse on the Venetian Causeway

It’s not just the historic nature of these (mostly) manmade islands which is alluring but the scenery too. Take in dozens of varieties of tropical trees and observe the exotic parrots munching on seagrapes. Shake a fist at the speculative modernist boxes of our tech overlords. Occupy a place which has long billed itself as exclusive. It is yours now too!

Tix must be purchased in advance. Here’s the link!

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