Hendricks Isle and Isle of Venice are two isles north along Las Olas. They are the farthest west two isles. They are south of Sunrise Key and west of the main ICW. Middle River snakes around east and northward. Las Olas Blvd is south and cuts off the isles. The isles connect at both north and south ends, but the southern end, abutting Las Olas Blvd, has low fixed entrance bridges to each isle. West of Hendricks Isle, a few scraggly shallow rivulets even connect through to the New River for small boats. Hendricks and Isle of Venice are famous for liveaboard dockage.
In the land craze of the 1920’s, W. F. Morang & Sons first developed the isles. Using techniques pioneered in Venice, Italy, Morang land filled ICW with these “fingertip isles” north and south along Las Olas. But when the hurricane of 1926 hit, the boom market collapsed 3 years before the rest of the country. The Great Depression hit South Florida early. Morang went belly up leaving these isles vacant for nearly 20 years. In the late 1940’s and 1950’s, another land boom hit Ft. Lauderdale.
This time, Victor Nurmi finished developing most of the isles. He decided to promote the second farthest westward, Isle of Venice, as an apartment development (not counting the half isle Gordon). He build them in the art-deco style. Many properties are redeveloped. A few are left as shells because of the land boom and crash of the 2000’s!
The other apartment isle, Hendricks, is a mysterious menagerie. Filled originally in the 1920’s by Morang with a longer hooked end, Hendricks was destined different. According to residents, Nurmi did not develop Hendricks in the 1950’s. Instead, individuals slowly built apartment complexes. The first, Hanky, came over and built 1 Hendricks in ~1951, the first building on the westside of Hendricks. Hanky is gone, and the new owners since remodeled her into one of four giant complexes.
Some original buildings still remain. Aqua Vista runs three properties halfway down Hendricks on the westside. Bruno’s Zoo is the last property on the eastside, 534 Hendricks. The original owners built the duplex on Hendrick’s tail in 1953. Across the street from Bruno’s Zoo, the developer built the property later in 1956.
To visit the isles, get on Las Olas Blvd. Turn on either Hendricks Isle, the farthest westward, or Isle of Venice the next east. While driving, you should see the Lagoon catamarans that line the end of Isle of Venice. Once on one of the isles, the properties are rentals. They are vacation hotels, apartments with excellent liveaboard facilities.
The dockage is behind these motels. Owners can liveaboard their vessels and share the facilities of the apartments. The slips are an eclectic variety of piers, pilings, and cleats. Check to make sure a dock is in alright shape. The water is deep enough for most sailboats. To get into the westside of Hendricks, a boat needs to have 6′ draft. Deeper drafting yachts must go at high tide. The area is a hurricane evacuation zone. When there is a surge or an extreme tide, these isles go underwater flooding the streets. You should head down river if a bad hurricane is coming as the isles are too close to the ICW and wide. Otherwise they are a great place for reasonable liveaboard dockage.
To leave, head out the way you drove onto the isle. Isles have no connections between or outlets. Drive back onto Las Olas Blvd. Or by sea, head out the isle north and east to the ICW.