Out on the Gulf waters under the night sky, it appears to float—a mirage-like reminder of Old Florida. Erected on pilings at the turn of the 20th century, this cabin in Pine Island Sound—along with a handful of others near Charlotte Harbor and Port Richey—served as a drop-off point for commercial fishermen, who relied on skiffs, manpower, and wind in the days before motorized boats. Here they would unload their catch, reload supplies, and take shelter from storms before heading back out. By mid-century, the industry had modernized and cabins were no longer crucial, so many were abandoned or sold as recreational fish camps and weekend retreats. (Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash famously spent time at one owned by her parents.) Some were eventually destroyed by hurricanes or fires, but several hardy structures remain. Thanks to preservationists, most are now protected as designated historic sites. Though the public is not allowed inside, boaters and kayakers may cruise around the longstanding relics, which offer excellent photo ops.
This article appears in the Fall/Winter 2021 issue of Southbound.