Musa Isle Indian Village In Miami, Florida

by Mike Miller
(Mount Dora, Florida)

Musa Isle Seminole Indian Village

Musa Isle Seminole Indian Village

Musa Isle Seminole Indian Village
Musa Isle Canal
Musa Isle Seminole Woman
Musa Isle Tiki

Old timers in Miami tell me that the Everglades essentially began right about where 27th Avenue is today.

Everything west was The Swamp, and land was filled for development over the years until now the sprawl heads out west almost to Krome Avenue.

They say there was a natural rapids or waterfall near where NW 27th Avenue today crosses the Miami River. Just downstream of the waterfall was Musa Isle, and Seminole Indian village that was created as one of Miami's earliest tourist attractions.

I don't think you can see any remnants of the attraction, and I believe it closed in the 1950's. It was on the south bank of the Miami River just east of the current NW 27th Avenue bridge over the Miami River.

Musa Isle featured all kinds of alligator wrestling shows, Seminole dancing, weaving, jewelry, clothing and other hand made items from the Seminole nation.

Only old timers remember the place, but they speak fondly of the simpler days when it was a big attraction.

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Oct 25, 2017
Postcard 1941
by: Anonymous

I have a postcard from my great grandmother mailed to my grandmother. Official postcard of Musa Isle Seminole Indian village, postmarked Hollywood Florida February 14, 1941. On the back the printing states Musa Isle home of the Seminole Indian NW. 25th Ave. and 16th St., Miami, FL Seminole Indian trading post – alligator in crocodile farm – museum and zoo – wishing well – a place of beauty and interest for 35 years – as you enter the village you see tropical foliage of every kind, such as, the royal palms, bamboo, citrus trees and guava. Guide on duty open to visitors from 9 AM to 6 PM daily. Postcard printed number 12181 a color picture publication Cambridge Massachusetts USA copyright GW Romer.

Postcard shows a canal lined with bushes and pink flowers, on right side many palm trees on the other side are white stucco walls with alligators in pens and looks like Seminole Indians in costume walking around. There are straw roof structures.

Oct 13, 2017
by: sandy

I was going thru my Moms old pictures and found one of me and my bro and we are sitting on a fake alligator. the sign says Musa Isle Indian Village, Alligator Wrestling & Tours Hourly
Zoo & Tropical Gardens.... I was wondering where this was since we lived in Cleveland OH. The picture was taken (I think 1956) wish I could ask Mom more about it... but she is gone now. This was our one and only trip down South.

Jul 07, 2017
Bring It Back
by: Born There

I wonder what it would take to dig the fill back out and put it back in the Miami Canal so we could get the water to flow in the north fork again.

Jun 19, 2017
Musa Isle
by: John Schachleiter

My wife and I were born in Miami (1946). I remember going to visit Musa Isle in the 50s and you could still see Indian woman crossing 27th Ave. to buy beads at Diamonds in the early 60s. As a history buff I have books that show photos of an observation tower looking west toward Miami Intl. Airport, all sawgrass. No wonder the Springs floods. Over a hundred years ago you could take an excursion boat up the Miami River to the rapids on the North Fork. Indians have camped at the fork of the river (Musa Isle) at least since the end of the Second Seminole Indian War (1842).

Jun 06, 2017
by: Phil


Old memories are coming back. One day (early 50"s) I was in my front yard when two girls rode by on horses. One was white with long blond hair and the other an Indian girl with long black hair. The contrast and beauty is an image permanently etched in my mind. I believe they were from the another village, the one by 17th avenue. The other was a neighbor girl who was a couple of years older than me had an older brother. He was flirting (or whatever) with an Indian girl. His family received a visit from the village elders advising that they did not date (or whatever) outside their society. The message was clear.

Jun 01, 2017
The End of Musa Isle
by: Cynthia Stacey

Hi Dave,
My parents sold and closed on the Musa Isle Indian Village in 1965. I still have the documents from the sale. It was a very sad time for the Indians to be relocated out on The Tamiami Trail and leave their home at Musa Isle.

May 31, 2017
Musa isle demise
by: Dave

I moved to a house on 25th Avenue straight down the street from Musa Isle when I was about nine years old. This would have been the late 50s I stayed there and frequented Musa Isle and got to play around with the alligators and enjoy the people and I don't remember when it closed but it had to be later into the 60's.

May 29, 2017
Where to buy The Enduring Seminoles
by: Sherry Alexander MacNicoll

Yes, this book is available on Amazon, but I just bought it on eBay for one third of the Amazon price. Recommend that anyone who is interested check on eBay first!

May 29, 2017
by: Phil Lovelady

I think it was 1964 when a minor hurricane hit the area. A closed or failing attraction, closer to the river, but still off 27th Ave had a couple of spider monkeys escape. I caught one and had it for a few hours. When it pooped all over me I took it back. The escape I'm thinking about occurred in the mid 50's. Now that too could have been small monkeys and not apes due to an inflated imagination.

May 22, 2017
Escaped Monkeys
by: Anonymous

Hello Phil Lovelady, Yes, I can confirm that the spider monkeys did make an escape! I remember the scene they caused and my father and his crew catching them with huge nets.

May 21, 2017
Escaped Apes
by: Phil Lovelady

My family moved 2 blocks from Musa Isle in 1951-52 and lived there until 1992. I remember the Indian village well. In the 7th-8th grade a brother and sister showed up at Citrus Grove in full Indian attire. They were there but for a very short time. When we asked the teacher why they were not there anymore we were told they went back to live in the Everglades.

In the recesses of my mind I have this memory of the apes escaping from one of the attractions and roaming the neighborhood. Can anyone confirm this incident? I just can’t believe it is a figment of a child’s imagination.

Mar 24, 2017
The Enduring Seminoles
by: Cynthia Stacey

The book The Enduring Seminoles has some great history in it. It mentions my parents and grandparents as well as David Matthews' father. It is available at Amazon.

Mar 24, 2017
Musa Isle
by: Randa

Mr. Matthews:

I have a handmade drum from Musa Isle, with an Indian hand painted and "Bobby" written on it.

If you want to have it I will send it to you. Pass on to your family if you have one. Was going to donate it to Everglades Park, but think it needs to be with family. You interested??

Jan 25, 2017
Musa Isle and Tropical Hobbyland
by: Joanne Rhoads

My mother Eloise Rhoads was a "traveling missionary" to the Seminole Indians at Musa Isle and Coppinger's Indian Villages, from the Flagler Street Baptist Church group in Miami. She began visiting the Miami Indian Villages with an older missionary woman named Mrs. Pease who had retired from missionary work overseas. My mother visited both Musa Isle and Tropical Hobbyland Indian Villages from early 1949 until late 1952.

My earliest memories are watching Seminole men dive from the wall into the Miami River & alligator wrestlers in the walled pit. Ducks waddling all around and sitting on their eggs in nests. Most of all, I remember Minnie Doctor, Joe Doctor, and their children Mary Doctor and Ronnie Doctor. I often stayed in their Chickee and watched Minnie Doctor while she sewed on her sewing machine (treadle - foot pedal powered)

When I was approx. four years old, she surprised me by taking off my clothes and putting on a wonderful and extremely beautiful handmade Seminole patchwork sundress that fit me perfectly. She also gave me a sterling Thunderbird ring with a round turquoise stone, and a small matching sterling bracelet. The dress and ring are now just fond memories, but at age sixty-nine, I still have the sterling bracelet.

We also saved the coupons from Silver Cow Evaporated Milk, and took them to the Seminole Reservation in Dania. I also "tithed" 10 cents a week toward the Seminoles in Miami

I was free to play with the Seminole children while my mother taught Bible stories on a "flannelgraph" - a blackboard set up on an easel, covered with flannel fabric, and using printed and hand colored cut-out figures of the stories in the Bible.


Joanne, thanks for sharing these wonderful memories. A lot of history would be lost if not for people like you telling us the way it was. Your mother sounds like an exceptional woman.

Jan 03, 2017
My Dad was an Announcer and Tour Conductor
by: David Matthews

My father W. H. Matthews announced the alligator wrestling. I can remember Bobby Tiger but he is the only one. My father also conducted tours of the museum and the Seminole village. We lived there when hurricane Donna come through. There was water every where but it was interesting living there but we left in 1963 to move to Indiana. I still miss Florida.

Dec 25, 2016
Remains of Musa Isle
by: JW

If you look on 16th Street, there is a long, very old coral wall, which is probably a remnant of Musa Isle. You can use Google Earth to view it, there are 1970's style apts (River View) which sit where the park once stood.

Nov 09, 2016
Alapatta and Seminoles on Saturday
by: David Maddox

i was born in Daytona in 1935. We moved to the Alapatta area in 1944. I remember the Seminoles coming to Alapatta on Saturday. The women would do all the shopping in groups of 3 to 5. The men just walked around in groups of 2 or 3. I don't remember any vendors among them and I don't remember how they arrived or left.

The women were dressed spectacularly, with their wonderful hair dos and many, many beads around their necks. Something makes me think i heard there was a string for each year of age. The men mostly wore long commercial pants and beautiful, bloused sleeved shirts. I remember a rare long, close skirt on a few men. I rode on the Jungle Queen a few times to Musa Isle.

A bit off topic: the last time I was in Miami I went by my old Junion high school, Robert E Lee. It was being demolished as I drove by and brought a smile to my face. I lived for a few years only a block away. The smile because I remembered wishing I could demolish it.

The last lines of the school's, popular poem: "and the warden there is Mattie Mack Jones" [the principal]

Sep 24, 2016
Musa Isle
by: Michael A. Vazquez

My mother's first summer job was as a cashier at Musa Isle. She grew up in the area having arrived in Miami from Cuba as a child in 1940).

She was given beautiful traditional Seminole clothes to wear at work, which she loved, and she made friends with many Seminole girls that camped there with their families. She mixed in so well that many tourists would take pictures with her thinking she was a Seminole Indian.

Just another example of the positive impact the Seminole Tribe has had on the Miami community.

Aug 23, 2016
Remembering the Seminoles in Miami, FL
by: Cheryl (Lamp) Munch

I was born and raised in Miami 1946. Our house is directly across the river from Nuta's Boat Yard. My brother,Steve Lamp,still lives in the house. It was located between Coppinger's and Musa Isle Indian Villages.

I loved living and growing up on the river and had some Seminole friends in those villages. I have several Indian gifts that were made for me. I was so sad when they closed those villages down but happy for the Indians that they were basically free to live where they wanted.

Apr 03, 2016
Alligator Wrestling
by: Cynthia Stacey

Thank you Abraham for posting that video. I spent many hours gazing over that pit. The wrestler looks like Joe Jimmy if my memory serves me correctly.

Apr 03, 2016
Musa Isle Archival Footage
by: Sherry Alexander MacNicoll

Thanks for posting the link. We lived across the tiny river, so we never could actually see the alligator wrestling. Finally sixty years later, I now have seen it!

Apr 01, 2016
Musa Isle Home Movie Reel
by: Abraham Raphael

Hi Everyone,

I saw your page and the nostalgia that everyone has for Musa Isle. I work with Archival Films and making them available for licensing to documentary filmmakers. Following the link below you can see a preview of the footage. Hope it brings back the old memories and feelings.

Warm regards from Hollywood!


Here is the link. Enjoy:

Oct 26, 2015
Relocation of the Indians
by: Sherry Alexander MacNicoll

What a shame that innocent people had to move because the land was sold. My heart goes out to them, even though it was years ago.

Oct 24, 2015
Closing of the Village
by: Cynthia Stacey

Musa Isle was closed in 1965 when my father sold the land and the Indians were relocated to the Tamiami Trail. It was very sad for them to leave their home.

Oct 23, 2015
by: Anonymous

Do you know if Bobby has any relatives???

Oct 22, 2015
Native of Miami
by: Bill Spivey

It was called riverside.

I love and miss old Miami. What a great place it was. The river was clear and we could see the sand bottom.


Bill, we are publishing your comment even though we are not sure what was called riverside. This post is about Musa Isle, the old Seminole attraction on the Indian River. Your nostalgia for the clear water is shared by many.

Sep 27, 2015
Florida History Facebook
by: Cynthia Stacey

Thank you so much for letting me know about the Florida History Facebook Group. I look forward to learning and sharing more there.


You're welcome. I'm sure the group will enjoy the memories you share. When I think back on attractions like Musa Isle and other places we used to love in a simpler time, I keep asking the same question "How does time fly by so fast?"

Sep 24, 2015
Musa Isle History
by: Cynthia Stacey

So amazing to find this website. I am the daughter of the last owner of Musa Isle Indian Village. My family owned the Village and the Campbell Motel on the corner of 27th Ave. and the Miami River. I lived at the village until I was 8 years old and have many memories and photos in my family's archive. My parents donated artifacts from the Village to the Miami History Museum, which you can currently see on exhibit. I have read below that some of you also have photos or videos and these would be priceless to me.

Please contact me: and let me know if you would be willing to share your memories or mementos. Gratefully yours…


Ms. Stacey, thanks for sharing your memories of your childhood at Musa Isle. I hope some of our visitors come forth with the memorabilia that you mentioned. I don't know if you are on Facebook, but there is a group there called "Florida History" that I'm sure would love to hear from you and could contribute to your collection as well.

Jul 13, 2015
Indian Tourist Attractions
by: Wayne DeWald

There were two Seminole Indian tourist sites in Miami. I believe both were on 27th Avenue. One was Musa Isle, the other was Tropical Indian Village. My elementary school class took a field trip to the latter. Both featured alligator wrestling, native crafts, etc.


I think you are right Wayne. I just googled it and found a postcard from Tropical Hobbyland Indian Village in Miami.

May 20, 2015
Indian village at Miami River and 27 Ave
by: JFmpm

I arrived in Miami back in 1961 and lived in a neighborhood just west of Delaware Parkway, on NW 20 Street. I recall a Seminole Indian attraction and village existing at the junction of NW 27 Ave bridge with the Miami River. The attraction had very large and colorful signs illustrating alligator wrestling and air boat rides into the Everglades. The first time I came face to face with a Seminole Indian was at a small convenience store located at the NW corner of 17 Street and 27 Ave. Today, the convenience store is a Hispanic restaurant and there is no sign of Seminole Indian attraction and village. I believe that any potential remains may have been dug-up when the old 27 Ave bridge was replaced with the new larger bridge.

May 18, 2015
by: Florida Backroads Travel

Natan: thanks so much for the Musa Isle information you've shared. I know our visitors who are interested in this Seminole history will love looking through the stuff you've provided.

Thanks again for sharing.

May 17, 2015
HistoryMiami Research Center
by: Natan

Hi I'm Natan, and I work at HistoryMiami (formerly known as the Historical Museum of Southern Florida). We are located in downtown Miami.

I just want to let you know we definitely have a bunch of photos and artifacts from Musa Isla there. (Along with, I'm sure, many of the other forgotten tourist attractions on this site.)

But Musa Isla sticks out in my mind because it was SO well known, and we feature it so prominently.

Inside the museum there's actually an area dedicated to Musa Isle. It's upstairs in our "Tropical Dreams" area. In the display there are several photos, a carved totem pole, necklaces, and more. I'm going from memory, so I can't remember what else is in the display.

In addition, our head historian and City Tour guide Dr. Paul George always mentions Musa Isle on his very popular Miami River historical boat tour. He knows exactly where it was, and talks a lot about it.

In addition, HistoryMiami has an Archives and Research Center that holds the majority of the institution's images, maps, and other paper archives. I know for a fact there are a bunch of images of Musa Isle in the Archives. In fact, I just did a quick search of what's available for purchase online, and four photos came up. I'm sure there are many more than these. Maybe Cindy knows the names of people featured in the photographs??

Here's the link to the photos below. Feel free to click around the archives.

I'll close by saying the archives are open to the public (although there are small fees if you want copies/scans of images or documents). The contact information is contained on the website.

The website also contains online exhibitions, and of course information about the museum and our City Tours. I'm also including a separate link to the City Tours, since (once again) one of our boat tours discusses Musa Isle.

If you contact the archives, tell them Natan sent you! Good luck...


May 14, 2015
Tropical Paradise
by: Florida Backroads Travel


I remember hearing about a tourist attraction at that location. I think it had a small alligator farm. I don't know much about it or when it closed. Hope some of our visitors can fill in the missing information.

May 12, 2015
Does anyone remember Tropical Paradise?
by: Dana

When I was a baby we lived on a sailboat on the river next to or by Sewell Park. There was a Parrot/Monkey Jungle type park nearby that had loads of animals and a tiny replica of a Seminole Indian village that did alligator wrestling performances & the women made authentic Seminole Indian clothing (they made me a dress). Anyway, the park went out of business in the early 70's I think. My Mother bought a couple monkeys, etc. - I went there a lot as a kid and eventually we bought a house on the south fork of the river. Do I have the name right? Does anybody else remember this place?

May 06, 2015
by: Anonymous

Since you are family, would you like the drum mentioned at the start of his topic???

May 05, 2015
Bobby Tiger
by: Patricia Leazer

Yes, I remember Bobby Tiger. My grandmother's house was on the corner of the entrance road to the village. My cousin and I used to go down to the village all the time. I've tried to find some info on Bobby, but have been unable to. I know they made a movie about him many years ago.

There was also a little girl we used to talk to over the wall. She called herself Mary Jane. It makes me sad that they have destroyed all of that.

May 03, 2015
Bobby Tiger
by: Cindy

Bobby Tiger was my uncle. He was married to my Aunt Louise (my mother's sister). Over the many years growing up we (my mom, dad and brothers were at the Indian village and my aunt and uncle's house on the reservation just about every weekend.

I cannot tell you how many times I saw my Uncle Bobby wrestle alligators. I was telling my great niece about my uncle but do not have any pictures not packed away, so it was really nice to find the photo and article.

My mother has an old post card with my Uncle Bobby on it - or she did. She as well as my aunt and uncle have all passed away, so I can not ask where any old photos are that's why this was really nice to see.

Mar 15, 2015
Musa Isle
by: Anonymous

The web site Big Cypress Indian Village has some info about Musa Isle.... I don't think that anyone around those years would later wish someone somewhere kept track of the village and people. What was Bobby like?

Mar 15, 2015
I remember Bobby Tiger and Musa Isle
by: Moana Re

My father was quite friendly with Bobby Tiger and all the people at Musa Isle. They had a couple of peacocks that cried alot. Interesting sound!

The main alligator wrestler was a guy named Bobby Tiger.

One day my father told me to go into this room where "stuff" seemed to be stored while he help the Seminoles with an electrical problem.

I remember vividly going to the wall to look out the window to see where he had gone. The floor where it connected to the walls began to move. I began to scream. There was a hugo boa constrictor along the wall.

It was then I was introduced to Bobby Tiger.

I understand there is no evidence that Musa Isle was ever there. Too bad. It was fascinating.

Mar 10, 2015
by: Anonymous

Do you have the pictures ? Is there an Indian named Bobby?

Mar 04, 2015
1933 Tourist pictures
by: Diana Williams

My father-in-law and his new wife were residents in Miami Florida for seven years ending in 1933. His picture album has pictures of Seminole families and individuals and alligator wrestlers also.

He was a Miami policeman. After the great Hurricane He was sent to the Glades to check on the Indians and he said there was no sign of life there.

Jan 19, 2015
Forgot some things
by: Sherry Alexander Sugg

The years we visited our grandmother and great grandmother in Miami were from around 1955 to the late 1960's.
I just read some of the other's comments and it brought back memories. We used to walk under the Miami Canal bridge at 27th Ave from NW 18th Terrace so that we didn't have to cross 27th Ave to get to the little convenience store. I remember their outdoor table of bananas for 9 cents a pound. And does anyone remember Judy's Gift Shop where they had tiny stuffed alligators? Oh the things they could sell back in the day!

Jan 19, 2015
NW 18th Terrace
by: Sherry Alexander Sugg

Our great grandmother lived in a little stone house on 18th Terr. This was on the other bank of the Miami River on a point between the Miami Canal and the Miami River, opposite the village. We could hear the loudspeakers from the Indian village but couldn't see into the alligator pits.I didn't know there were rapids or that the land had been filled in. The last time I was there, my great grandmother's home was gone and the road redeveloped. That was in 2004.

Jul 16, 2014
by: Anonymous

Wish I would have known it would all disappear, but then we didn't have the cameras and videos that we have today.

Alligator alley was just a lonely stretch in the road.

Jul 16, 2014
When the Miami River was Green - Musa Isle.
by: M. L. Wiley

My elementary school took a field trip there. My grandmother would shop there for what I can't remember. My crew and I , 8-12 years old, would float a leaking rowboat from the bridge at 7th Avenue to 27th Avenue passing the Indian caves in the banks of the river. Sometimes we went even further.

The environment started look like the mighty everglades as we took the river to what is now MIA property. I can remember when they would stop traffic on Jejune to pull airplanes to the east side for the students at the plane engineering/mechanic school.

The big ships used to plow up the river almost swamping us.Maybe two of the 6-8 on board could swim. I saw my first manatee.I thought that we had seals in Florida.

Pictures painted in my mind.

Mar 02, 2014
Musa Isle
by: Anonymous

I too lived across the street from the Musa Isle Indian Village. I was very young then (1940's)and we used to ride the Jungle Queen Riverboat to downtown Miami from time to time.

The daughter of our landlord worked at the village so we were able to visit the village often at no cost.

I remember the Seminole ladies sitting in their chickee huts sewing with foot operated sewing machines making shirts and dolls to sell. I remember the tourists tossing money into the Miami River and the Seminole boys would dive in to get the money.

To this day I can still remember the smell of the women cooking over open fires making meals for their families.

There was a family named "Tiger" that we often spoke to when we went there. Bobby Tiger wrestled alligators for whatever money the tourists would toss into the alligator pit after the show.

It was a great area to live in. Had many happy days then.

Jan 03, 2014
by: Anonymous

Paradise paved over, I think all of you have good memories of history in the real. I have been reading all the web site of Cypress Indian Reservation,, and good to know history has been important and worthy of saving. Thank you for sending the site. I feel a story from all of you, as you know the true history. Happy New Year everyone!!!

Dec 31, 2013
Seminole Museum
by: Anonymous

If you are really interested in the history of Seminole Villages, head over to the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum on the Big Cypress reservation. They have a whole exhibit on postcards and colonial perceptions.

John Roop, the owner of Musa Isle Grove, leased a portion of his property to Willie Willie, a member of the Bird Clan, in 1919. Willie established the Musa Isle Trading Post and Seminole Village.

Famous families (Tony Tommie[Panther Clan], Cory Osceola [Big Town Clan], and William McKinley Osceola [Big Town Clan]) lived there.

This is not where alligator wrestling started. That came out of Coppinger's Tropical Gardens and Pirates' Cove Indian Village where Henry Coppinger Jr. taught the Seminoles how to wrestle alligators as a tourist attraction.

Camps like these provided financial opportunities to the tribe at a time when their traditional ways of living and hunting had been threatened through the drainage of the Everglades, increased population due to the new railroad, and hunting competition.

Dec 15, 2013
I Lived Across The Street
by: Anonymous

In the early 1950's, I lived 3 houses away. Musa Isle was on the river (real Indians), Tropical Hobby Land was on 27th Ave (not so-real Indians). I was too young to play at Musa but my sisters did. Remember walking across 27th Ave to get a soda at a crumbling convenience store, that had those cheap "birds" on sticks that whirled around when you blew on them, hung all around the roof edge in front, along with bananas. If I remember my history, the village grew up around the turnaround point for the river cruise ( where the boat couldn't pass the rapids), to give the tourists an opportunity to see an authentic Indian village (and purchase authentic artifacts) for maybe a dime.

Oct 23, 2013
musa isle
by: Anonymous


How much fun you had in your younger days to have played in Musa Isle. I am hoping that since the country has finally noticed to preserve the past, to know the future, some one or organization will be interested in a tribute to the long forgotten village. I wonder if the Indian heritage is still around the Miami area?

Oct 23, 2013
Remembering Musa Isle
by: Jeff R.

Although shut down by then. I lived directly across the street.
Back then it was 16th st. Rd. I believe I have some old pic's.
The time was about 1968 thru 70.

Oct 22, 2013
Historical plaque.
by: Jeff R.

I believe it was 1968 thru 1970 that I lived in the house directly across the street from the entrance. 16th St. was actually 16th St. Road in those days. Musa Isle had already shut down by then. Looking
back I wish it were still open. At the time though, I had full access to an empty village that was heavily overgrown with vegetation.

There was a large concrete building on the left side as you looked at the entrance. Attached to that was a wall made out of coral rock that I used to climb. I remember very wide stairs that led to a wishing well of sorts and a path down to the bottom of that well which looked somewhat secretive.

I collected bones and pottery. Free play back in the day from the street to the river. Really great memories. I have a few pic's I think of the wall out front. Would love to share.

The house I lived in was actually the same house my father lived in. My grandfather built the house and several others on the block but I'm sure my father would have some great info. I just happened to stumble across this site, so he doesn't know about it yet.

Ten years ago I went through there and was disappointed to see it was all gone. However, on the property there is a service drive where the garbage dumpster sits and there is a plaque commemorating Musa Isle off to the side.

All the history and memories condensed on an 18 x 12 piece of pop metal. Could be gone by now..don't know.

Going to get those pic's. would love to show. Hopefully more to come.

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS: Jeff, thanks for the memories. If you'd like to share your photos, go to the bottom of our Lost Attractions page and write us a little story and attach the photos. We'd be glad to publish them.

Oct 05, 2013
by: Anonymous

Smithsonian has for visitors a beautiful replica of Indian villages, and designed it with dignity to compliment the culture.

However, the leased land for gambling doesn't say much for the CULTURE. All about the money. Sad.

Oct 05, 2013
I'm not so sure about a resurrection
by: Gumbo Limbo

I'm not so sure about that. Would you like your heritage/way of life put on display as a tourist oddity? Seems kind of exploitive in this day. It was back then, too, but we weren't that aware.

Oct 05, 2013
Musa Isle
by: Anonymous

Thank you for those who post for this site. Do you think that the village could be restored? Not in the same place as that is long gone, however the Indian ancestors should be acknowledged and remembered. It would be a great tribute to them.

Oct 05, 2013
History of Musa Isle
by: Tommy Taylor

I met the last owner of Musa Isle when it closed it's doors in the early 70's. I purchased several alligators from him to add to my alligator show at Ocean World in Ft. Lauderdale.

Jim Kegan was the owner and the property was sold to a developer for condo's, the house (gift shop) was pecky cypress outside and framed in old Dade County pine wood. It was dismantled and moved.

The drum someone asked about was made by Bobby Tiger who is now deceased and was a friend of mine. The first alligator wrestler was Henry Copperington of Miami who ran Pirates Cove Indian village. He taught the Seminole to wrestle as a gimmick to lure tourists in to see Seminoles and alligators.

After 55 years of alligator wrestling it's great to see interest in the old attractions that were once here in Florida.

Oct 04, 2013
Musa Isle
by: Dave Matthews

My dad was a tour conductor at Musa Isle back in the early 1960s . He was the commentator for the alligator wrestling. We lived in a block house on the main road as you entered the attraction . The owner lived across the road from us.

We were there in 62 or 63 when hurricane Donna came through. I was about 7 years old at the time.

After Donna came through the river was up to our front door.

Aug 25, 2013
by: Anonymous

By sheer coincidence, Randy Wayne White has a book to be released in Sept titled "Deceived"....
It is about this very topic I have been posting.

Hope someone is watching the store. If Tallahassee sends the money to Miami for Indian restoration, it would be a beautiful gift.

Aug 25, 2013
by: Anonymous

Read where Tallahassee in this year's allocations $100,000 dollars------------------- Down where Musa Isle used to be. For donation to indian tribe. Check it out.

Jul 21, 2013
Jungle Queen
by: Ben Godwin

My late uncle captained the Jungle Queen out of Pier Five in Bayfront Park for several years. I sometimes went with him when he'd ferry tourists up the "River" so they could visit Musa Isle and watch the Seminoles wrestle the gators.

Afterward we'd travel throughout Biscayne Bay while passing the homes of Al Capone and the modern day house that was used in 1949 to shoot the Ma & Pa Kettle movie, starring Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride.

I really loved growing up in my "native" home town of Miami. Wonderful memories and wonderful friends.

Jul 20, 2013
by: Anonymous

I don't live near you or Miami, however, your lobbyists for the gambling casinos represent the Indians. Would be a good project to reinstate the village, with the artifacts in a safe place. I saw where one Navaho blanket sold for over a million dollars.

Jul 19, 2013
my friends
by: Anonymous

I don't see anything about the owners George and Alice Stacy.

Jul 18, 2013
Musa Isle Indian Village
by: Patricia Leazer

They have built apartment buildings where it used to be.

Jul 18, 2013
by: Anonymous

Talk to officials, think it would be a precious work of art to restore the village. Maybe the Miami city Rotary would tackle it. Worth a look=see. From the posts, it looks like the original was paved over, ..... So can it begin again ??????

Jul 17, 2013
Musa Isle Indian Village
by: Bill Eades

Growing up on the river & having visited the Village many times only brings back nice thoughts.
My friend Bob lived on the River. His father had been a navy diver and after his time in the service he owned and operated a salvage boat, the Little Monster.

May 29, 2013
Childhood memories of Musa Isle
by: Anonymous

I grew up in Miami in the 1950's very close to Musa Isle in a section called Grapeland Heights. Indeed there was alligator wrestling at Musa Isle and I was always so scared to watch it as a child. Musa Isle was indeed on 27th Avenue and the locals went there frequently. A piece of Miami Magic..............

Mar 28, 2013
by: Anonymous

What would it take to talk to the members left of the indian town to restore it? I think it would be a most interesting project and worthy of it's cause.

Mar 27, 2013
by: Anonymous

IS there an historical site or library for the artifacts from the village?

Mar 26, 2013
Old Florida
by: Betty Jo Starke

When I used to take the #3 bus, it would go by the beautifully colored ornate entrance. I think the developers bought it out in the latter 60's. What a beautiful memory of old Miami.

Jan 31, 2013
by: Anonymous

Have handmade drum from a "Bobby" Musa Isle Indian Village. Would like to find owner or family

Jan 11, 2013
Wasn't there a building at 27th Avenue & the River?
by: Gumbo Limbo

In the late 60s, still living near NW 103rd & 22nd, I worked in Coconut Grove. I'd drive down 27th Avenue and I have a vague memory of a boarded up building at the river, SE corner of the intersection of Miami River & 27th Avenue. Whether it was for Musa Isle or the Jungle Queen riverboat, I don't recall...but I *did* recently unearth a family photo from 1951 taken of us on the Jungle Queen.

Sep 19, 2012
A family mystery
by: Anonymous

My grandparents owned this indian village, and I wish I knew more about it. My mother grew up there until the age of 8, in 1963 when they sold it. The native people lived on the premises and were displaced. Many went to live at the Tiger's Miccosukee Indian Village, as I understand it.

Mar 30, 2012
Souvenir Folder
by: Anonymous

Happy to find your site!

I have an old souvenir folder of "Musa Isle, Seminole Indian Village NW 16th Street & 25th Avenue Miami, Florida", and as I had never heard of the place, I googled it.

The folder was sold for 15 cents; there isn't any date. You mention alligator wrestling, and there are 3 pictures involving the animals: one is of "alligators and crocodiles", one of "Tommy Carter, famous white alligator wrestler, he is seen with a gator twice his own weight", and one "Seminole Indian Capturing Live Alligator with his Bare Hands".

The rest of the folder involves the Seminole culture; dug out canoe, dress, kitchen etc. Interesting.

Jan 19, 2012
Alligator Joe's
by: Florida Backroads Travel

There is an article in our January 2012 E-Zine about Alligator Joe's, an attraction in Palm Beach that operated in the early 1900's. We thought perhaps that "Alligator Joe", the Florida Cracker character that owned the place, may have been the first Alligator wrestler.

A Florida history student at the University of South Florida wrote us and says that the Seminoles started alligator wrestling at Musa Isle.

We haven't been able to confirm this, and it would make an interesting project for somebody to research and document.

Oct 18, 2011
Home movies of Musa Isle
by: Richard

We were looking at some old home movies recently and came across a video of an indian wrestling an alligator. Location: Musa Isle Indian Village. Also numerous colorful plants and landscaping in the video. I'm not sure of the date, I'm guessing late 40's or early 50's.

Feb 27, 2011
by: jean

In the spring of 1957, my 4th grade class took a field trip to musa isles. We saw the alligator wrestler and after could go into a little hut they called a museum to see a thumb in a jar. It was bitten off by an alligator. I couldn't look. I always wanted to go back as an adult, hadn't realized that it had closed.

Feb 26, 2011
They paved paradise
by: Pat

The Indian village I remember was on 17th right next to the river. My grandmother lived in the house on the corner next to the entrance road.
There was an Indian there by the name of Johnny
Tiger who wrestled alligators. We went back to the
spot recently and its all gone. There are apartment buildings in its place. So sad.

Jan 10, 2011
Alligator Farm on Miami River
by: Mike Miller

Greg: I remember hearing or reading about that Alligator farm. That's right near downtown now, but way back then I imagine it was on the western edge of what they knew as the City of Miami.

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