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Fisher Island
View of Fisher Island; South Pointe and Government Cut foreground, Virginia Key background
View of Fisher Island; South Pointe and Government Cut foreground, Virginia Key background
Location of Fisher Island, Florida
Location of Fisher Island, Florida
U.S. Census Bureau map showing CDP boundaries
U.S. Census Bureau map showing CDP boundaries
Country United States
State Florida
County Miami-Dade
Area
 • Total 0.27 sq mi (0.69 km2)
 • Land 0.24 sq mi (0.62 km2)
 • Water 0.03 sq mi (0.07 km2)
Elevation
10 ft (3 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 561
 • Density 2,327.80/sq mi (899.47/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
33109
Area code(s) 305
FIPS code 12-22375
GNIS feature ID 1853250

Fisher Island is a census-designated place in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States, located on a barrier island of the same name. Since 2015, Fisher Island has the highest per capita income of any place in the United States. The CDP had only 218 households and a total population of 467.

Named for automotive parts pioneer and beach real estate developer Carl G. Fisher, who once owned it, Fisher Island is three miles off shore of mainland South Florida. No road or causeway connects to the island, which is accessible by private boat, helicopter, or ferry. Once a one-family island home of the Vanderbilts, and later several other millionaires, it was sold for development in the 1960s. The property sat vacant for well over 15 years before development began for very limited and restrictive multi-family use.

History

The island was created in 1905 by a dredging and land reclamation projects in and around Miami Beach. Construction of Fisher Island began in 1919 when Carl G. Fisher, a land developer, purchased the property from businessman and real estate developer Dana A. Dorsey, southern Florida's first African-American millionaire. In 1925 William Kissam Vanderbilt II traded a luxury yacht to Fisher for ownership of the island.

After Vanderbilt's death in 1944, ownership of the island passed to U.S. Steel heir Edward Moore. Moore died in the early 1950s, and Gar Wood, the millionaire inventor of hydraulic construction equipment, bought it. Wood, a speedboat enthusiast, kept the island a one-family retreat. In 1963, Wood sold to a development group that included local Key Biscayne millionaire Bebe Rebozo, Miami native and United States Senator George Smathers and then former U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon, who had promised to leave politics. During his subsequent presidency from 1968–1973, and during the Watergate scandal, Nixon maintained a home on nearby Key Biscayne known as the "Key Biscayne Whitehouse" that was the former residence of Senator Smathers and next door to Rebozo, but none of the three ever resided on Fisher Island.

The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) of the University of Miami maintained the Comparative Sedimentology Laboratory on Fisher Island from 1972 to 1990 under the leadership of Robert Ginsburg.

After years of legal battles and changes in ownership, further development on the island was finally started in the 1980s, with architecture matching the original 1920s Spanish style mansions. Although no longer a one-family island, in 2005, Fisher Island still remains somewhat inaccessible to the public and uninvited guests, and is as exclusive by modern standards as it was in the days of the Vanderbilts, providing similar refuge and retreat for its residents. The island contains mansions, a hotel, several apartment buildings, an observatory, and a private marina. Boris Becker, Oprah Winfrey, and Mel Brooks are among the celebrities with homes on the island.

Fisherislandconstruction
Buildings under construction in the summer of 2001

In 2005, the island attempted to incorporate as a town, but the Miami-Dade County Commission did not support this initiative.

Geography

Fisher Island is located at 25°45′41″N 80°8′39″W / 25.76139°N 80.14417°W / 25.76139; -80.14417 (25.761644, -80.144252).

According to recent census data, the CDP has a total area of 0.343 square miles (0.89 km2), all of it land. The entire island, is slightly larger at 0.938 km2 (0.362 sq mi).

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
2020 561
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Fisher Island racial composition
(Hispanics excluded from racial categories)
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 423 75.4%
Black or African American (NH) 7 1.25%
Asian (NH) 19 3.39%
Some Other Race (NH) 8 1.43%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 28 4.99%
Hispanic or Latino 76 13.55%
Total 561

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 561 people, 197 households, and 135 families residing in the CDP.

In popular culture

Fisher Island is referenced in the 2012 Tom Wolfe novel Back to Blood.

Fisher Island is also referenced as the home of Jeb Bush and his family in the 1996 movie The Birdcage.

In the Revenge episode, "Duress", it is referenced that Conrad and Victoria Grayson have a house on Fisher Island when they are finalizing their divorce.

Education

The island has a private school, Fisher Island Day School, which includes preschool through eighth grade for both on-island and off-island residents. The school was founded by Lexie and Robert Potamkin and Valerie and Michael Pearce in 2001. Approximately 30% of the students come from off-island, predominantly from the nearby Miami and Miami Beach neighborhoods of Star Island, Hibiscus Island, Palm Island, the Venetian Islands, Bayshore, South Beach, Pinecrest, Coral Gables, and Coconut Grove.

The island is served by Miami-Dade County Public Schools. It is zoned for South Pointe Elementary School, Nautilus Middle School, Miami Beach Senior High School.

Notable current and former residents

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