Woke up to see the news from @MiamiHerald on my Twitter feed: The mansion known as Capt. Burke’s Miami Beach Castle, located on 4462 North Bay Road, was completely engulfed in flames early today. The house was currently on sale for $6.9 million and I swear that if I had had money to burn and clean my butt with, I would have bought it in a heartbeat.
The Miami Beach castle boasted iron gates, gargoyles, turrets, towers, parapets, a draw bridge and a 65,000 gallon salt water moat filled with sand sharks. It also had fantastical sculptures inside, like a dragon by a small pool. Not that I knew all this before today. The castle was, sadly, abandoned when the previous owner up and died from an overdose (The Herald has the whole sordid story) and was left to languish in very expensive solitude.
This castle was not far from my house, and whether it was driving to get out of the Beach, or (especially) riding my bike, I would take a moment, whenever I could, to stop by and marvel at this utterly bizarre gem and wish I could go inside. This place should not have been left unused; this place should have been rented out for events, films, videos. This amazing strangeness should have been an attraction in Miami Beach. Frankly, this place should have been the site for many roleplaying game conventions. Can you think of anything more fitting than playing Dungeons & Dragons here?
I am utterly bummed by this loss. In a city with more than its fair share of expensive and massive monuments to ridiculosity, the dark-stoned, gargoyle-guarded castle of Miami Beach stood uniquely apart. Maybe I only speak for myself, but it shall be missed.
See photos of the house and fire at Herald.com.