Pictures: Historic 'stilt house' off Pasco coast to be renovated

By Sara Belsole, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, December 04, 2017, 6:41 PM EST

One of the historic wooden "stilt houses" off the coast of Pasco County will soon be renovated by its new owners in the hopes of keeping a piece of Florida's Gulf Coast history alive.

  • Handful of wooden 'stilt houses' still stand off Pasco coast
  • 24 wooden fish camps were built in early 1900s
  • Most stilt houses were destroyed by 1968's Hurricane Gladys
  • 'Stilt House No. 1' recently sold — but sales are risky for buyers

A handful of wooden fish camps, built in the early 1900s, also known as "stilt houses," still stand in the Gulf of Mexico just a short boat ride away from the Pasco Coast.

“They were used by the local fishermen, mainly the mullet fishermen, because they would use their gill nets and bring their loads back to the fish camp,” Tampa Bay area historian and author Jeffery Cannon said.

There used to be 24 of the structures. But in 1968, Hurricane Gladys destroyed most of them. A handful have since been rebuilt.

They have no running water, electricity or plumbing — not the ideal characteristics for a house on the market. But real estate agent Jeffery Wills just sold the first one in years.

“It’s very, very rare, and it’s only really worth what someone is willing to purchase it for,” Wills said.

What’s known as "Stilt House No. 1" isn’t in the best shape, but its new owners plan to renovate it to its former luster.

“They are a unique part of Florida history,” Cannon said. “Pasco County is one of only two or three counties in Florida that has stilt houses still in existence.”

It’s a very risky sale. Even though someone physically owns the structure, they are leasing the land the house sits on below the water from the state, and at any time, the state can take back the land.

It’s a risk, however, that Stilt House No. 1's new owners are willing to take.

“It’s literally waterfront,” Wills said. “It can’t get any better than this.”

Gill Dawg Marina and Miss Daisy Boat Tours offer kayak and boat rentals and tours for views of the stilt homes.