Les Standiford
Miami, Florida

August 12, 1998
Richard Shaw

Dear Mr. Shaw:

As an author, an historian, an educator, and a concerned citizen of Miami-Dade County, I write to express my heartfelt and carefully considered support for the nomination for listing of Stiltsville by the Florida National Review Board.

As the country's only known collection of houses built in the middle of a bay (as opposed to looking out over one), Stiltsville is not only an architectural rarity, it is a testimony to the enduring ingenuity and imagination of the human spirit. Of course, environmental reasoning may legislate against the development of other such structures in the waters of Biscayne Bay, but the removal of the few structures that remain would serve no meaningful ecological purpose and would in fact diminish the rich legacy of South Florida history.

For too many years, our state has permitted the hasty demolishing of structures from a previous era, ostensibly in the name of progress. While other interests might argue for the obliteration of Stiltsville on somewhat different grounds, I would counter that we simply lack the wisdom and authority to decide what future generations will find valuable or marvelous. No one who chances upon the phenomenon of Stiltsville for the first time will ever forget the sight of homes that hover above the waters, miles from any shore, like structures from a dream.

South Florida writers and residents alike count Stiltsville as one of those idiosyncratic features that helps to define this singular place. To take away these few remaining structures would be to strike a blow at the very fabric of a culture and a community.

Yours truly,

Dr. Lester A. Standiford
Director of the Creative Writing Program, Florida International University