The Miami Marine Stadium went from promising boat racing venue to crumbling ruin with surprising speed.

Miami’s 1963 Speedboating Stadium Is Now an Abandoned Maze of Vandalized Concrete

Miami’s 1963 Speedboating Stadium Is Now an Abandoned Maze of Vandalized Concrete

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
Aug. 13 2015 4:49 PM

The Grafitti-Covered Ruins of the Miami Marine Stadium 

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Built in 1963, the Miami Marine Stadium took advantage of a beautiful view of downtown Miami and a passing speedboat trend. Now the world's first boat racing stadium is an abandoned maze of vandalized cement. 

When the Miami Marine Stadium opened, it seemed like a great fit for a seaside city that already had a strong relationship with boats and water sports. Despite the death of one of the speedboat racers, James Tapp, on opening day of the park in December of 1963—surely a bad omen—the stadium thrived for decades as the world's first and only stadium custom-built to view motorboat races. The venue also hosted concerts, boxing events, and anything else that would pack the more than 6,000 wooden seats beneath the broad cement shade. Unfortunately, the stadium was declared unsafe in 1992 after it was damaged by Hurricane Andrew and the site was left to rot. 


Of course the open-air seating was nearly impossible to seal off to trespassers, and the empty halls and cement walls quickly became completely covered in thick layers of graffiti. The wooden seats were marked up, destroyed, or ravaged by the elements, and now the venue looks closer to a post-apocalyptic wasteland than a boat racing center for family fun.

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Eric Grundhauser is a head writer and editor at Atlas Obscura. He lives in Brooklyn with his comic book collection. Follow him on Twitter.