HISTORY OF MIAMI AND DADE COUNTY (written in 1941)
THE first white settlement in Dade County was on the site of what is now the city of Miami. It was the Jesuit Mission of Tequesta, established by Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1567, and consisted of a block-house that sheltered about 30 soldiers and Brother Villareal, a Jesuit lay brother, who was delegated to instruct the Indians in the Christian faith.
These Indians were of the Calusa nation. They were cruel, shrewd, and rapacious. They were known to offer human sacrifices. They murdered most of the priests, explorers and adventurers who came among them or who were so unfortunate as to be shipwrecked on their coast. Early writers never definitely established a reason for their bloodthirsty attitude. According to Fontanedo they often killed their white captives, not out of fear or anger, but out of sheer annoyance. The savages might ask the whites to dance or sing and the captives could not obey because they did not understand the Indians who thereupon put them to death.
Such were the Tequestas and other tribes of south Florida. The site of the Jesuit Mission at the mouth of the Miami River has not been definitely located. Its brief history is but a line or two in the annals of the early Jesuit Fathers. The Tequesta mission was aban doned and it was not until 1743 that another attempt was made to Christianize the natives in this area.
Father F. X. Alegre in his History of the Company of Jesus, writing of the inhabitants of the keys, says that they had "inherited a reverent regard for the early Jesuit Fathers from their Calusa and Tequesta ancestors." At any rate the Jesuits established a second mission, San Ignacio, somewhere in the vicinity of Coconut Grove. The Fathers mention their meeting with the Miamias, and this is the first instance in which the name is associated with a people. Two priests, Fathers Alana and Monaca, worked with the soldiers to build a shelter of logs, mortar, and coral stone. Father Alana then went to Cuba to ask the governor, Gomez y Horcasitas, for additional soldiers. The request was not granted and sometime later this second mission was deserted.
Spain and England, in 1748, concluded a treaty designed to keep peace between their respective colonies in the New World but in 1759 Spain joined France in the French and Indian War. Three years later, Havana and Cuba fell to English arms. Spain regarded Cuba with more interest than Florida and therefore, when peace was made, succeeded in trading the English out of their possession, offer ing them the Territory of Florida. Thus, under the Treaty of Paris, 1763, Florida passed to the English having been under Spanish rule for nearly two centuries.
In 1774 Governor Patrick Tonyn was in charge of the govern ment of East Florida, King George III having divided his prize into an East and West Florida in 1763, the year in which the last of the Calusas were transported from Dade County to Cuba. Tonyn s name is of interest because it is said to be affixed to the first land grant made in this area.
After the Revolutionary War, Florida remained an English pos session but was shortly afterward traded back to Spain again, England receiving in return the Bahamas. During the English regime many loyal subjects of the King, and others, had been led to settle in Florida. It is probable that most of them might have retained their holdings but to do so they would have to swear allegiance to the Spanish King. The English Crown generously offered to reimburse subjects who held Florida lands and preferred to lose them rather than become subjects of Spain.
One of these was John Augustus Ernest who described his
property as follows:
Ernest never saw his land in Dade County. During the period of English occupation, however, there was another, one Frankie Lewis, who evidently had no great concern about his political or governmental ties. In 1796 Lewis obtained from the Spanish Crown, a grant of 640 acres located "south of the New River, near Cape Florida."
This marked the beginning of a mild real estate boom in what is now Dade County. In 1805 his Spanish Majesty granted 175 acres of land on Key Biscayne to Mary Ann Davis and another of 640 acres, "south of the Miami River, near Cape Florida" to Polly Lewis. John Eagan likewise secured 640 acres, "south of the Miami River, near Cape Florida," and then, when this location became overworked, the Spanish King varied his custom. The next grant was made to James Eagan, son of John Eagan, settled on his 640 acre section, "north of the Miami River, near Cape Florida."
Rebecca Eagan obtained 640 acres, again "south of the Miami River, near Cape Florida," and the Lewises stepped in again as Jona than Lewis took up another 640 acres in what later became known as the "Punch Bowl District," an area in the vicinity of Coconut Grove. More specifically located was the grant of Richard Tice who obtained a section of 640 acres near Cape Florida and the Miami River and "opposite Key Biscayne."
A fourth name apparently enters this early history as a James Hagan and Mrs. Hagan are each credited with 64O-acre grants along the Bay, one on each side of the Miami River. These names evidently clouded title to this land for 80 years for in 1892, by virtue of a court order, the name "Hagan" on these patents was changed to read "Egan."
Two larger grants appear in this period as Joseph Delespine obtained 92,160 acres and Archibald Clark was donated 80,000 acres. Both these grants were located "near Cape Florida," and were made in the year 1813. Succession of title was broken and later records do not reveal the disposition of these lands which afterward became public domain. Another large grant of 12,000 acres, made to Eusebio Maria Gomez, was "on the river and island known by the name of Jupiter and Saint Lucia."
Along the Gulf of Mexico, the strip of land called West Florida became the refuge of pirates, outlaws, runaway slaves, and Indians. Marauding bands hampered the development of adjoining territory and lawless men preyed on shipping from Gulf ports. These condi tions and the desire of the United States government for a clear path to the sea for the Mississippi River Valley agricultural products led to a bold move.
President Madison, in 1810, ordered Governor Claiborne of New Orleans to take possession of West Florida. By a secret act early in 1811 Congress authorized the President to occupy East Florida. Great Britain protested this bare-faced occupation of Spanish territory so violently that Madison withdrew the troops in 1813.
Border trouble persisted, however, and Spain in trouble with its revolting South American Territories, was in no position to keep order in Florida. Monroe, in 1817, took the opportunity to send Jackson on an "Indian hunt" in Spanish territory. General Jackson swept across Florida in five months and in 1818 returned to the United States, leaving Florida a conquered province. Spain decided to abandon the territory, which by treaty became a possession of the United States on February 22, 1819.
Eleven years later, in 1830, the holdings of the Lewis and Eagan families became the property of R. R. Fitzpatrick, of Columbia, S. C., who later became collector of customs at Key West. Fitzpatrick was a man of industry and resource. Bringing a large number of slaves, he began an ambitious agricultural program, clearing the jungle growth along the shore for three miles south of the Miami River and one mile north of it. On this rich hammock land he began a plantation of lime trees and cotton.
The increasing intrusion of white men into territory held by the Indians brought on the same difficulties in Florida as it did in other parts of the country. In 1835, the beginning of the Seminole War in north Florida, the Indians in the southern end of the peninsula became unruly and began desultory raiding. Fitzpatrick grew alarmed and moved to Key West. During the same year Major Francis L. Dade, with all but two of his men, was massacred by the Indians in Sumter County.
The United States initiated a determined campaign to put down the Indians by removing them from the state to reservations in the West. The Indians, in turn, clung stubbornly to the land which was swiftly becoming as foreign to their wants and needs as any. They were driven from their homes and forced to seek refuge in the swamps and morasses. Driven continually southward, they never theless seemed to have a never ceasing source of supplies that enabled them to resist successfully the Federal troops.
It was suspected that these supplies were coming from sympa thizers in Cuba. The coastal regions were lined with forts and military roads and the bays and inlets swarmed with patrol boats and still the wily Seminole chieftains outwitted their would-be captors. During 1836, the year Dade County was created by an act of the Territorial Legislative Council, the Seminole committed a crime that stands out in the history of the area chiefly because it is marked by an historic landmark and therefore easy to point out. On the afternoon of July 23, the Indians began an attack on the Cape Florida Lighthouse which, at the time, housed John W. B. Thompson, keeper, and his Negro servant.
The Indians burned the lighthouse. Thompson and the Negro were wounded, the latter so seriously that he died. Thompson cut away the stairs and found safety on a narrow platform around the light, high above the ground, where he nearly roasted before the flames subsided. He was rescued the next day by members of the crew of the United States schooner Motto.
Marie Coppick, in an undated clipping from the Miami Daily News, drawing for material on a diary said to be owned by Mrs. Harry B. Boyer, whose husband is connected with the United States Meteorological Station at Key West, gives a slightly different account of the incident. Mrs. Boyer is the daughter of Mrs. Cortland Williams, whose maiden name was Druscilla Duke. In 1831 Mrs. Williams, then a child, came with her parents and younger brother to live on the banks of the Miami River. They were warned of an uprising by a friendly Indian and, with several of their neighbors, sought safety in the lighthouse, thinking the Indians would not be bold enough to attack government property. A boat came and several of the refugees embarked on it for Key West but the Dukes elected to remain.
"There were a number of others who preferred to take their chances against the Indians in the lighthouse to the hazards of a sail boat. Among these were my father and mother. We remained at Cape Florida Light."
So reads the diary. After describing the burning of the light house Mrs. Williams tells of their return home. "We were taken to Key West where we remained for a few days and when all was quiet on the Miami River we returned to our home. We found that the Indians had not touched anything belonging to us. Our watch dog was in the front of the house when we arrived and greeted us with his friendly bark.
"Afterwards some old Indian told my father that the reason our home was spared was because we had always been kind to Chief Alabama and his family."
The great problem that confronted the United States during the Seminole conflict was their unfamiliarity with the territory which the Indians knew so well. In addition the soldiers were unused to the climate and encountered many difficulties in establishing suitable bases and arranging for transportation of supplies.
The troops began scouting the Everglades to locate and destroy Indian camps, depots, and supply trails. It was in this connection that Fort Dallas was first established as a naval post in 1834 when Lieut. L. M. Powell, U.S.N. landed at the mouth of the Miami River and built a stockade. For two years the patrol of Biscayne Bay and the scouting of adjacent territory were maintained. The United States Army then took over the fort.
Some thought the Indians had Spanish allies in Cuba. At any rate they were more alert than the soldiers anticipated. The Seminoles avoided the bay and planted water lettuce and other water weeds in the Miami River to give it an unusual appearance. After several months Fort Dallas was virtually abandoned. Fort Bankhead (later Fort Russell) was continued as a naval base and the Bay of Biscayne guarded from blockade runners. Meanwhile, the south fork of the Miami River was alive with contraband boats moving from Cape Sable and Taylor River northward to the waterways near Fort Pierce. The "Davis Military Map," a compilation of information gath ered by officers who had served in the Seminole War up to that time, 1856, shows that during the period from 1834 the Everglades were thoroughly explored and many forts, subsidiary to Fort Dallas, were erected at what were considered strategic points.
The sites of many of these forts have been lost. In 1848, Fort Dallas was a stockade of tree trunks and heavy timbers, its wooden buildings thatched with palmettos which, in turn, were thickly plastered with mud as a protection against fire-arrows. The perma nent garrison maintained at Fort Russell (Bankhead) on Biscayne Key came over from time to time, did some work on the fort, but there is no record of decisive battles with the Indians. It was not until Captain Bennett C. Hill, with a company of artillery and a few engineers arrived in 1849 that a permanent fort was built. William English, who had finally acquired the Eagan- Lewis grants, had begun the construction of the stone structures that are generally spoken of as Fort Dallas. Captain Hill s men com pleted the buildings. His constructions were to "make the fort substantial and open a road to Lake Okeechobee and maintain it." His scouts were also to "discover where and how the contraband came in so voluminously."
At this time, records show that Hill found a two-story building 42 x 29 feet, which we know was the officers headquarters, later the residence of Mrs. Julia D. Tuttle, and the first courthouse in Dade County. There was also a long one-story building, 95 x 15 feet, which was given a second story of planks, and a "piazza in front on both floors for coolness." This fort was abandoned on June 10, i8f8, after the soldiers found and cut off the Seminoles last avenue for receiving supplies.
This supply route, known today as Chi s Cut, was an artificial waterway constructed by a subchief named Chachi who seemed to be a sort of quartermaster general. Originally it was a barely per ceptible indentation on the shore line, a natural outlet draining the low prairies southeast of Homestead and emptying into Biscayne Bay. This obscure waterway ending in coastal mud flats was navigable for shallow Indian boats during periods of high waters.
Chachi deepened this sluggish stream until it would accommodate his boats and transplanted water plants to conceal it from the soldiers. It served until the soldiers captured a Negro who had been an Indian slave. Making him drunk, they learned from him the secret of Chi s Cut and also the blind entrance to Taylor River which connected with practically all known canoe lanes, the Miami, Harney, Shark, and New Rivers and their tributaries. With this knowledge the troops were soon able to bottle the Seminole in the Everglades. With out military supplies they could not carry on war. They gradually accepted the situation and while they were more or less troublesome for another generation, no serious incidents occurred.
While the Indians were developing their ingenious system of inland waterways, the soldiers were likewise busy constructing a road down the east coast to facilitate the transportation of heavy ordi nance. This first rough roadway known as the Capron Trail was used for many years by settlers as they carried civilization southward and today is followed approximately by the railroad and highway that run down the eastern edge of the peninsula.
The route of the Capron Trail where it is not destroyed or hidden by modern trails, is covered by trees and vines that have grown over it in the past three quarters of a century. Only a part of the actual route of this old military trail has been definitely established. During the war with the Seminole the army erected a head quarters at Fort Pierce. Eight miles to the north, opposite the "Old Inlet" of Indian River was the nearest satisfactory point for ships to land supplies. Here the soldiers built a pier protected by a heavy stockade. This trail, between the landing shown on the map as Ft. Capron, and Ft. Pierce, became known as the Capron Trail. As the war progressed the troops pursued the Indians southward. Fort Jupiter was built in January 1842 and Worth s Stockade soon after ward. The road followed the movement of supplies to Fort Lauderdale and to Fort Dallas.
In Miami the Capron Trail left the fort at a point now covered by the northwest corner of the Dallas Park Hotel, progressed in a northwesterly direction to Miami Avenue to the old City Cemetery. Where this avenue crosses the tracks of the Florida East Coast Railway, a narrow street branches ofT diagonally to the right. This little street, unnamed on city maps, marks the course of the trail as it bent east ward. At Northeast Second Avenue it again turned north and crossed Little River by means of a ford about 20 feet east of the present bridge.
Parts of the Trail are still visible on the "Old Back Road" to Arch Creek. The Old Dixie Highway covers the Trail until it joins the new Federal Highway. The route from that point northward is uncertain. It is believed to have passed through Dania, known as "Five Mile Hammock," and then turned eastward and northward to New River to Colee s Hammock where there was once a ferry, site of the Colee Massacre.
It touched Indian Hammock, continued along the broken land between the coastal plains and the Everglades, and continued into Palm Beach County where several miles of this trail, now called the "Military Road," are still in existence.
During the early part of the war, before this military road was completed, the Indians, far to the southward, wiped out a pioneer settlement, killing a man whose memory is still perpetuated in the name of Perrine, a little town southwest of Miami. Dr. Henry Perrine was a botanist who had served the Federal government as consul at Campeachy, Mexico, for 12 years. In recognition of the doctor s services and to permit him to engage in experiments in tropical agriculture, Congress, on July 2, 1838, granted Dr. Perrine, a township of land, on the mainland, along Biscayne Bay in unsurveyed territory.
Dr. Perrine, while waiting for the Indians to subside, brought his family to live in a little settlement on Indian Key where there was some promise of security. About a mile to the north, on Tea Table Key, were a naval station and a small detachment of soldiers. The doctor s home was a substantial three-story structure, part of it extending over the water. From it projected a walled-in passage which extended under the house to form a bathing pool reached by a trap door from a dressing room above.
When drunken Indians attacked the settlement early on the morning of August 7, 1840, Dr. Perrine roused his family and urged them through the trap door into the bathing pool. The Indians broke into the house and set fire to it after killing the doctor. The family, suffering from burns and smoke, lay concealed beneath the wharf until most of the Indians had departed when they found a small boat and were rescued by a passing vessel.
While the war was in progress the politicians were busy at state craft. New counties were formed with startling rapidity. The territorial form of government did not meet the approval of men who jealously viewed the increasing power and wealth of adjoining states. Florida had no voice or power in Washington. Men of the newly formed Dade County were as dissatisfied as the rest. December 3, 1838, found Richard Fitzpatrick, representa tive from Dade, at the constitutional convention called at St. Joseph, seat of Calhoun County.
During these years things went from bad to worse in Dade County. Agriculture became impossible and family after family drifted to safer localities. In 1850 the English plantations were deserted. After 1858, when the soldiers withdrew, the old buildings became the headquarters for blackguards and outlaws and so remained for nearly twenty years.
One of the interesting court records dating from the period of
Florida s territorial existence, is the copy of the first marriage license
and certificate issued in Dade County and which reads as follows:
To any ordained minister of the Gospel or Justice of the peace
within said County, Greeting :
These are to certify to all whom it may concern that Temple Pent
Junior of the County of Dade, South Florida, Bachelor and Eliza Bul
ward within the said County, widow was after the exhibition of the
certificate of regular license married at the house of William Pent,
Key Vaccas, on the fifth day of July one thousand eight hundred and
forty by me.
Allen Morris, in an article appearing in the Miami Herald of May 29, 1938, describes a letter penned by this same W. C. Maloney, Clerk of Dade County, to his excellency the governor. Maloney was disgusted. Condensed, the story in the letter is as follows: After the destruction of Indian Key (1840) Maloney deserted the County Clerk s office. He ordered elections in 1841 and again in 1842 to fill his office but no candidate appeared. Maloney con tinued, therefore, to "act" as clerk to accommodate his neighbors.
After the key was destroyed he had nothing left but the county seal. He had to dig in his own pockets for the price of a record book and such papers as were necessary for his office. In 1843 a general election was held on the sixth day of No vember. Maloney could not canvass the vote and get the returns to the legislative council within the time prescribed by law. Because they could not be regarded as legal returns he sent them to the governor.
Said Maloney: the county seat has been wiped out; it is no longer safe to reside in the county; it was impossible to canvass the vote within the specified time; he didn t want the job, and, appar ently, neither did anyone else. The boundaries of Dade County were changed with surprising regularity after its creation in 1836. In 1870 it extended from above Jupiter, 150 miles southward, to a point north of Key Largo and its western boundary lay near the center of the peninsula. In this vast area, almost as large as the State of Massachusetts, less than 100 people made their homes.
Into this desolate country, in 1870, came William B. Brickell, who settled on a point of land on the south bank of the Miami River where it empties into the bay. Here he established an Indian trading post and became mildly interested in public affairs when he was appointed by the governor to act as County Commissioner along with Andrew Barr, John A. Addison, and a Mr. Charltes, all of Lake Worth. Other county officials at the time were: T. W. Faulkner, county judge; Dr. R. B. Potter, county clerk; A. C. Richards, tax assessor and collector; and William Metaur, sheriff.
About the time of BrickelPs arrival a settlement was under way at Coconut Grove. A store was built there in 1870 and a post office established in 1873. Brickell seems to have enjoyed a hermit s solitude as other thriving settlements sprang up at Buena Vista and Lemon City. He began buying land south of the river from Harriet English who had inherited the holdings of her brother, Richard Fitzpatrick.
Property on the north side of the river likewise began to change hands. It is said that William F. English who owned much of this land, was a nephew of Richard R. Fitzpatrick. In 1851, they pur chased the S. S. Commodore Stockton and began a boat line to California. They lost their vessel after it was seized on some tech nicality when a storm forced it into a Mexican port. Harriet English acquired the land which was sold to Dr. J. V. Harris who experi mented, unsuccessfully, with tropical plants.
The Biscayne Bay Company, organized at the time, secured title to the property through George M. Thew. Frank G. Ford is later listed as a title holder and, still later, transfers were made to J. C. Bailey, W. S. Wheeles, Joseph H. Day, and George M. Thew. Mrs. Julia Tuttle began buying the interests of these men and finally secured all but 20 acres which Day reserved.
In 1891 Mrs. Tuttle came to reside upon her property and, with the Brickells on the south bank, the stage was now set for the future Miami and one of the craziest and most spectacular real estate booms in all history. Mrs. Tuttle was no stranger to the area. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she was the daughter of Ephraim T. Sturtevant who came to Dade County about 1871 and settled on the south bank of the Miami River. He later took up a homestead along the bay about eight miles to the north. Julia Sturtevant was married to Frederick Leonard Tuttle in Cleveland on January 22, 1867. She came to visit her father in Dade County in 1880 and made a second visit two years later. Her father died in Cleveland in 1886, but Mrs. Tuttle returned to Florida again in 1890. Her first purchase consisted of 640 acres covering a square mile at the juncture of the river and the bay. She eventually acquired much more land but it was this first tract that now bears most of Miami s large hotels, stores, and office buildings.
Mrs. Tuttle, according to one report, met James E. Ingraham at a dinner party in Cleveland sometime prior to 1893. Ingraham was then an associate of Henry Plant who was rapidly building up an empire of railroads, hotels, and lands. Mrs. Tuttle immediately thereafter opened her campaign for extension of Flagler s line to Miami, offering half her holdings to Flagler as an inducement to build. Flagler and Henry Plant, west coast railroad man, had already made an Everglades survey in 1892. A wide variety of crops were being produced in great abundance on some of the lands drained near Lake Okeechobee under the Disston contract. Two thousand acres were in sugarcane, more than 5,000 in rice, and a still larger area was devoted to general truck crops. Plans for draining the vast swamps south of the lake were taking definite shape. The Hon. Frederick S. Morse, later agent for the Model Land Company, a subsidiary of the Flagler System, was, even then, a Miami resident.
Here and there settlers were beginning to occupy choice ham mock lands. The population of the county increased from 85 in 1870 to 861 in 1890. These pioneers won their lands from the jungle by hard manual labor, their main implement being the vicious but efficient machete. In those days the back country teemed with game and a man s most frequent visitor was an Indian or an unwelcome predatory animal.
Lumber for building in the Miami area was obtained chiefly from the driftwood that piled up on the beaches. A pioneer s house might not have much of a foundation and it rarely had a chimney or fire place. In winter when a north wind made things unpleasant, a fire was built out of doors, around which the family huddled for comfort. Food was plentiful. Sea foods could be had in unlimited quantity with but little effort. Venison and other game were plentiful. Epicurean as this fare was, it grew monotonous and, at times, salt pork, potatoes, cheese and flour became luxuries.
The pioneer s isolation was nearly complete. He traveled by boat or not at all. If he became ill, he was nursed by family or friends or boarded a boat to Key West, an important port since the days of the Mexican War. Early settlers shipped live green turtles by boat to the North and nearly every family had a mill for the manufacture of starch from coontie, a wild tuber that thrived in the area.
Such was Dade County when during the winter of 1894-95 there came the "great freeze," that ruined citrus groves in the north ern part of the State. Thousands of grove owners were broke and many thought it spelled the end of the industry.
The course of succeeding events is clear enough but they have been retold so often and with so many variations that the tale takes on an almost romantic touch. Ingraham is pictured bearing a spray of orange blossoms from Mrs. Tuttle to Flagler, as proof that Miami was immune from frost and the logical center of the State s citrus industry. She won Flagler who, with a staff of counsellors, immedi ately came to interview her.
With his usual astuteness Flagler persuaded Mrs. Tuttle to turn over to him all her waterfront holdings comprising in all, 100 acres and then obtained half of the remaining 540 acres left in that impor tant section of land. Brickell likewise donated certain of his holdings on the south side of the river. In return Flagler agreed to extend the railroad from Palm Beach, to install a waterworks system, and to make certain other civic improvements.
Surveyors came to Miami and later, in the railroad offices in St. Augustine, A. L. Knowlton laid out the original townsite including the narrow downtown streets that are now congested with the traffic of a modern city. Men seeking employment drifted in from all sections of the country, living in tents and hastily constructed shacks until the work began.
The Tatum brothers acquired a tract of land on the south side of the river opposite the point where Flagler Street ended and laid out Miami s first subdivision in 1895, calling it Riverside.
The census of 1895 gave Dade County a population of 3,3 22 most of which was in the northern part. Many of Miami s early pioneers did not arrive in the city until 1896 when the railroad be came a certainty. The road was completed on April 15, and com mercial service opened a week later. The first train consisted of a wood-burning locomotive, a mail coach, baggage car, "first and second class day coaches" and a chair car. There was no station, only a platform, near where the News Tower now stands, with a shack for a telegraph office at one end.
There were already several stores established in the area between the railroad and the ferry which gave access to the post office in Brickells store. The Sewells, John and Everest, arrived March 3, and opened a shoe store in the old Miami Hotel Building on S. Miami Avenue near the river. The hotel was a rough building erected to house the men who were to work on the Royal Palm Hotel. The next day J. E. Lummus opened a general store and shortly afterward Frank Budge began a hardware business and Thomas Townley started a drug store.
Miami Avenue was the first thoroughfare to be cut in accordance with Knowlton s plan. Flagler Street was next and then Southwest First and Second Streets followed by Southwest First and Second Avenues running from Flagler Street to the river. By May, 1,000 people were settled in shacks and tents built on land that had lain waste since the days of energetic Richard Fitzpatrick sixty years before. More people drifted in and stores and rough buildings were hastily constructed until, at the end of the year, 50 separate business establishments were in operation. One of these enterprises was a newspaper, the Metropolis, which now known as the Miami Daily News, is still published.
By midsummer of 1916 the population had increased to 1,500 some say to 3,000, too large a community to be without some form of government; but it was not until July that leaders in the move ment to create a city were able to round up the required number of men who had the legal right to vote. On the 2 8th, 343 registered voters met and elected Joseph A. McDonald, one of Flagler s lieuten ants, chairman. The name of the city was adopted, the boundary lines established, and an official seal approved. John B. Reilly was elected mayor and Joseph A. McDonald, Walter S. Graham, William M. Brown, Frederick J. Morse, Edward L. Brady, Daniel Cosgrove, and Frank T. Budge were elected as aldermen. The city name narrowly escaped being Dallas, Flagler, or Dade as there were vigorously pro posed at the meeting but the electors deferred to the old timers who insisted on the Indian name, Miami.
Sometime in the distant past this bit of territory was definitely marked as an Indian camping ground. The late John Sewell, in his Memoirs and History of Miami, Florida, relates that a large Indian mound was removed to make room for Flagler s Royal Palm Hotel. This mound, according to Sewell, was approximately 80 or 90 feet high, and its base 100 x 75 feet. Under the trees growing on its summit he found several graves and gathered the bones into barrels which he stored in a safe place. Almost at ground level he found 50 or 60 skulls and a great number of large bones. He threw every thing into barrels and later buried the lot on the outskirts of town. A residence now marks this grave whose site Sewell never revealed.
While work on the hotel proceeded other civic movements were afoot. There was no need now for the mail carrier, Ned Pont, of Coconut Grove to make the arduous journey to Lake Worth each week. The town now had its own post office, moved, by petition, to the north banks so the people would not have to ferry across to Brickell s store for their mail. The Metropolis began a campaign for better streets, especially to the wharf on Biscayne Bay where the then existing footpath "played havoc with patent leather shoes and the bottoms of one s Sunday pants." Flagler Street was graded to the bay and Second Avenue from Flagler to Southeast Second Street. The closing days of the year were marked by a disastrous fire which started Christmas morning in E. L. Brady s general store. There was no fire-fighting apparatus. The blaze gained headway, ignited the frame structure on the opposite side of the street and destroyed all the buildings in the block.
Flagler cut a channel across the bay so that guests could bring their yachts to the Royal Palm Hotel docks, and Miami experienced its first tourist season as wealthy northerners spent the winter here. Meanwhile a revolution was in progress in Cuba. General Weyler, Spanish leader, had established concentration camps in which he herded old men, women, and children, crowding them into wretched quarters where they died by thousands. Indignation was running high when on February 15, 1898, news came that the battleship Maine had been sunk. Two months later, with the United States at war with Spain, Admiral Cervera sailed from Cape Verde Islands with a strong fleet bound for America.
The War Department sent seven thousand soldiers to Miami. An attempt was made to build a fort in Brickell Hammock, but it was never finished. The troops remained until fall, their presence a boon to the city s too numerous merchants.
Soon after the soldiers were withdrawn a yellow fever epidemic struck, the town was quarantined with armed volunteer guards patrolling the city borders, and Government and State health officials took charge. Out of 263 cases there were 14 deaths. During 1898 Dan Roberts, with three companions, penetrated the wilds south of Miami, paving the way for homesteaders in that rich agricultural region that is now known as the Redlands. In October the people of Lemon City had a ball to aid in "building the Lemon City and Miami rock road now in the course of construction." Scarcely more than two years old, Miami began to take its political position in the county seriously.
In his History of Dade County, Florida, Tracy Hollingsworth gives the various locations of the county seat as follows: Brickell Point, Cape Florida, Fort Dallas, on Biscayne Bay between Buena Vista and Lemon City, and in Juno. He might have added Indian Key, Key West, and, about 1840, in whatever part of the country W. C. Maloney, the county clerk, might happen to be. An election held in 1888 gave Juno the preference and in March the records were transported through the Everglades in an Indian canoe to the upcounty town where they were deposited in temporary quarters until a courthouse could be built.
The State law specified that the location of the county seat could not be moved more than once each decade and, with its growing population, Miami decided to reclaim the seat it had lost ten years before. This was accomplished and in 1899 the county records were removed to Miami where they have remained.
Juno was never incorporated as a city. Back in the nineties, be sides the county buildings, it boasted of seven dwellings, two board ing houses, and a newspaper. The county offices were contained in a white, two-story, frame building having three rooms on the first floor. One was for the county tax collector, one was a law office, and the third was used by the county judge and the clerk of the court. The second floor was used as a court room. Nearby was the county jail, a building 15x20 feet, having a few iron-barred cells. At first, the county offices in; Miami were crowded in a frame building near the river. The cell blocks at the Juno jail were loaded on a barge, transported to the new county seat, and the jail was erected on the northwest corner of the block where the present court house now stands.
In 1901 the county floated a bond issue to finance the construc tion of a new home but the offices remained in the old river warehouse until 1904 when the large two-story stone building was built. On January 23 of the previous year, Flagler deeded to the city the lots on the south side of West Flagler Street east of the railroad for municipal purposes. On this site the city erected a fire house in 1907 and, two years later, the old city hall.
The county courthouse, directly across Flagler Street, was already crowded when the boom began, but it was not until September 6, 1928 that the new 28-story building was completed.
Four years after its incorporation, Miami took its first steps in diversification of community interests. Lemon City and Buena Vista were already being drawn into city life as a new coral rock road made travel to the new community an easy matter. In 1900 the 30-year old settlement, Coconut Grove, was likewise drawn closer to Miami as a new road was extended through the hammock jungles on the south side of the city. The Married Ladies Afternoon Club voted to contribute ten cents a week toward buying books for a read ing room and laid the foundation for Miami s large public library of today. The men found time to build a golf, course and organize a club. During this first year of the new century the city s first Board of Trade was organized.
The town grew slowly and, with men constantly seeking new business locations, competition in all lines of endeavor became increas ingly keen. On September 15, 1903, F. B. Stoneman began publica tion of the Miami Evening Record, forerunner of the present Miami Herald. In 1904 the city directory contained 256 pages, more than 200 of which were devoted to advertisements and "solid facts about Miami." Even then the palm tree was used to symbolize Miami s tropical climate.
In the same year Miami staged a regatta in Biscayne Bay. The Miami Choral Society gave its first concert, and over on Miami Beach, the swampy island across the bay, Avery C. Smith built a bathing casino.
Smith and a partner, James C. Warr, later organized the Biscayne Navigation Company to take advantage of the five-dollar fare that boat owners charged for transportation to the beach. Their boats, the Lttsitania and Maurifan/a, largest in the Miami harbor, cheapened the fare and helped popularize the South Beach.
A fire department was organized in 1899, and five years later Henry Chase became the first paid fireman, receiving $45 a month, and remaining on duty 24 hours a day. The equipment, an engine and a hook and ladder, were pulled to the fire by volunteers whose dress uniforms consisted of bright yellow bloomers, green jackets, and red hats. The first motor-driven equipment was installed in 1911, when the personnel was increased to 12 men. The first serious fire occurred in 1909 in the old Halcyon Hotel, where the damage was $5,000.
In 1909 Carrie Nation invaded the city in a whirlwind campaign against alcohol. She charged county and city officials with slackness in law enforcement and confronted them with a bottle of whiskey bought in a saloon on the, Sabbath.
The liquor question had been a disturbing factor since May 1896 when the Lemon City "drys" wing succeeded in closing that com munity s last saloon. Said the Metropolis: "The removal of all saloons of our village of Lemon City to Miami is an accomplished fact, sig nificant that there are not enough topers left to insure one a decent living in that business." In 1913, six years before Congress adopted the Eighteenth Amendment, Dade County voted dry by a vote of 976 to 860.
Meanwhile, the spiritual life of the community had become im portant and several churches had been established. The First Presby terian Church was organized in 1896, the first congregation meeting in a tent-like building that served for several months as a common shelter for other denominations soon organized. While the First Presbyterian was the first church organized in the city, records in the Gesu Catholic Church show the existence of a mission in 1874 at a place near Miami known as Wagner s Grove.
The present First Presbyterian Church was built on land donated by Henry M. Flagler. The First Methodist Episcopal Church, now the White Temple, was founded by the Reverend L. L. Fisher, district presiding elder, who journeyed to Key West, missed his boat, and, before the next boat sailed, organized the church installing Reverend E. V. Blackman as pastor.
Churches increased in number as the city grew until prac tically every faith, creed, and belief is now represented, from the old established religious organizations to the obscure groups and cults that are found in every large city.
The first church was established 14 years before Miami obtained a permanent hospital. In 1910 a group headed by Father A. B. Friend organized the Friendly Society and, by popular subscription, raised funds for a small hospital unit. Promoted by Dr. C. J. Erickson, Theodore W. Jackson, and Frank B. Stoneman, this group secured a lot on Biscayne Boulevard north of the News Tower and erected a frame building accommodating three beds.
In 1912 the Friendly Society Hospital was incorporated as the Miami City Hospital. It was moved to Northwest Seventeenth Street and Tenth Avenue in 1917 and its capacity increased to 28 beds. In 1924, in recognition of his many years of service, the city commission again changed its name to the James M. Jackson Memorial Hospital. Additions have been made from time to time and the hospital now contains over five hundred beds and each year treats thirteen thousand patients, 60 per cent of them charity cases. Growth of such institutions was accompanied by expansion in other fields. The Florida East Coast Railway had its terminal in Miami only a short time when its surveyors began exploring routes through the lower part of the county and along the islands to Key West. In 1903 the railroad was deep in the Homestead country and in January 1912, Flagler rode the first train into the southernmost city in the United States.
Henry M. Flagler once said there was only 24 miles of railroad in the whole United States in 1830, the year of his birth in Hope, near Canandaigua, New York. His father was a Presbyterian minister receiving so small a salary that Henry had to leave school when he completed the eighth grade.
At 14 he set out for the "Western Reserve," working his way along the Erie Canal to Buffalo and thence to Sandusky, Ohio. He drifted into Republic, Ohio, where he obtained work in a country store for five dollars a month and board. He saved money, entered the grain commission business at Bellevere, Ohio, and prospered. Later, he failed in a salt manufacturing venture at Saginaw, Michigan, and returned to Ohio, $40,000 in debt.
While in the grain commission business, he had transacted busi ness with John D. Rockefeller, who, with a few associates, started his first oil refinery at Cleveland. In 1867, when he built a second refinery, Stephen Harkness backed Flagler as a member of the Rocke feller group, a partnership that was closed in 1870 when the Standard Oil Company was organized.
This was the foundation of Flagler s fortune. By 1883 he was a wealthy man, past his fiftieth year, and ready to retire. In that year he came to St. Augustine, where, impressed by the possibilities for development, he began plans for a modern hotel to attract people of means. As inadequate transportation facilities harassed h ; s build ing program, Flagler purchased the Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Halifax River Railway. During the years that followed, he built other hotels along the east coast as his railroad was extended south ward, and acquired great parcels of land. Flagler remained vital and energetic until his death at Palm Beach in 1913. He was buried in the mausoleum of the church in St. Augustine which he built in memory of his daughter.
A month after Flagler s death, John S. Collins, then 76 years of age, opened his 2-mile wooden bridge to Miami Beach. Two years later saw the incorporation of a new city and the opening of the new ship channel that was to make Miami s port dream a reality.
In 1917, shortly after the United States entered the World War, Miami became a training center for three branches of the govern ment s defense forces. Dinner Key, at Coconut Grove, was established as a naval aviation base in 1917. The Navy operated an aerial bomb ing training station on the bay shore opposite the Royal Palm Hotel but when practice became annoying to guests the station was moved to Deering Island. At the peak of its activity about one thousand officers and men were stationed at Dinner Key. Five large hangars in triple hangar units housed the flying equipment.
In 1918 the government obtained a field west of the Miami Canal and south of the present 3 6th Street, from the Glenn H. Curtiss Company, acquiring also the planes and equipment for the training of aviators in the Marine Corps. A group of eight officers and no men arrived in the first detachment from Bay Shore, Long Island, and were later joined by groups from Lake Charles, Louisiana; Pensacola, Florida; and Parris Island, South Carolina. Four squadrons trained at this field were sent to France and another went to the Azores. The field was returned to the Curtiss Company in 1919. Chapman Field, which served as an army training base during this time, was likewise abandoned at the close of the war, but was reopened in 1931 and is used intermittently for gunnery practice. As the twenties began Miami adopted the commission form of government. Coral Gables opened as a carefully planned develop ment; the first plat of Hialeah was drawn and the future town named. The city s population now numbered over thirty thousand but many vestiges of the village days still remained.
Chief among these relics was the electric utility sytem, which, although it had been brought up to date a number of times, was still inadequate. Between 1896 and 1899 several attempts were made to promote an electric plant in Miami but it remained for Flagler to add a 45-KW gasoline-driven generator to his hotel to supply the town with electricity for street lights and private use. The gasoline engines used were started by means of compressed air. Sometimes the supply of air gave out before the engine started and neighbors were called in to line up along the main drive belt. If the engine failed to start, the few downtown streets remained in darkness.
A separate plant was built in 1904. Two generating units were brought from a hotel at Nassau and installed in a building on the site of the present power plant on the Miami River. This system used cord wood or "four foot coal" as the Negro firemen called it. When wood became difficult to obtain in 1913, a change was made to coal supplied by schooner to Mayport, Florida, southeast of Jack sonville at the mouth of the St. Johns River, and thence by rail to Miami. The women of the town complained so loudly as the soot soiled the Monday morning washing that in 1916 another change was made to Mexican oil.
In bringing the electric light plant up-to-date little provision was made for future expansion and many additions were made be tween 1907, and 1925.
In 1919 criticism against the Flagler-owned utilities grew bitter as electric and water service became more unsatisfactory. A storm partially destroyed the station equipment in 1922, and as other acci dents followed, the greater part of the city was for long periods without lights. Two years later the American Power & Light Com pany, with the approval of the city officials, leading bankers, and business men, purchased the electric utilities in Miami, Miami Beach, and near-by communities.
The year which marked the passing of the old Miami Electric Light & Power Company was one of "loose" money and restless enter prise. Miami s municipal advertising campaign which began in 1915 with a $1,900 fund was bringing phenomenal returns. Tourists, promt to anticipate speculative opportunities, showed local residents a few tricks in quick real estate profits and before the year was out avid speculators had tacked an "easy money" sign on the map of Dade County. In the mad rush that took place in the following year many bankers and conservative business men took the plunge into the maelstrom of business activity that ended in bankruptcy.
Following the World War, northern business men establishing new shops and new homes in Miami created a definite market for subdivision property, acreage close in at a reasonable figure. Even as late as the midsummer of 1924 such land could be purchased at two to five hundred dollars per acre. Operators and syndicates opened elaborate ground floor offices on Flagler Street, hiring highpressure sales managers to train sales forces. Their success was so spectacular that the demand for more subdivisions sent the prices of land to two and three thousand dollars an acre. A year later land six and eight miles beyond the city limits sold for twenty to twentyfive thousand dollars per acre while desirable parcels brought as much as forty thousand dollars. During that year, 1925, 971 subdivisions were platted and 174,530 deeds and papers filed by the county clerk. Building operations consumed 400 miles of awning material and 7,000 carloads of lumber as 481 hotels and apartments were built in a i2-month period.
This extensive building program and influx of home buyers sent the prices of business property rocketing as million-dollar deals be came commonplace. Two and three-quarter millions were spent on the Roosevelt Hotel whose unfinished hulk, a mile away from any comparable structure, rises 14 stories from a maze of small shops and stores that have sprung up at the end of the County Causeway. Downtown, the Congress Building increased from 5 to 18 stories at a cost of a million dollars. The Colonial Towers sold for $1,250,000 and the Shoreland Arcade for 4 million dollars. A record was established when the Charles Deering estate north of Buena Vista sold for $6,500,000.
One of Miami s picturesque hotels, the Halcyon, begun in 1901 and enlarged and altered several times thereafter, was acquired by Thomas J. Peters, one of Miami s pioneers, for $338,000 in 1911. He refused an outright purchase offer of 5 million dollars for this prop erty in 1924 and another in excess of 6 million dollars the next year. His income from the hotel for the year ending April 30, 1926. was $519,000 yet in 1934 the Halcyon went under the hammer and sold for $333,600.
Dade County narrowly escaped another fissure that year as a cry arose for the creation of a Redlands County to include the farm ing country below Miami and extending to the Keys but the proposal was squelched. Miami Beach sought to absorb everything along the seacoast from the Broward County line to the lower end of Virginia Key but its northern ambitions were opposed by Miami Shores. The Miami Jockey Club, built by Joe Smoot and his associates was the subject of a proposed investigation into gambling conditions. Evelyn Nesbit Thaw was refused a cabaret site downtown, because, some said, it might hurt the community if she operated in the shadow of the Halcyon Hotel, long thought of as a monument to its designer, the dead Stanford White. William Jennings Bryan was receiving $100,000 a year to deliver his sales lectures for "Miami s Master Suburb," Coral Gables.
It was a year for innovations. Hollywood had its phosphores cent golf ball course. The Postmaster General asked for bids on the first air mail from Miami and word came that Henry Ford was considering the operation of an air line to the city with his new monoplanes.
Meanwhile buyers and speculators continued to pour into the city. The real estate market was a bedlam as salesmen literally "sold each other." During 1925 Miami issued 7,500 real estate licenses. The Seaboard Air Line Railway was unable to buy a rightof- way into Miami until $1,500,000 in cash and land, the result of a monster mass meeting of interested parties called by the Chamber of Commerce, was given the railroad.
Toward the close of the year the Federal Reserve banks stiffened their rediscount rates; the freight embargo continued, many financial houses began curtailing their loans. Some operators found themselves obligated for large income tax returns on profits which were still on paper which the banks now refused to handle.
By spring 1926 the boom was definitely over, despite the pro motion efforts that featured Mary Garden in a grand opera presenta tion held in a tent. But signs of prosperity and progress were still everywhere in evidence. Hundreds of structures were completed and 21 millions of dollars in new building work was under way. The million dollar senior high school and the Southern Baking Company s million dollar plant were both about completed. A paving company was laying 2 million dollars worth of new streets for the expanding town.
In September real estate men were still hopeful. The Tamiami Trail across the State was being rushed to completion. Two huge dredges were already in the bay preparing to work on a new channel and harbor. Everywhere were signs of continued activity. Miami citizens were only vaguely interested when, on September 17, a hurri cane was reported off Turk s Island and headed for the mainland. A gale hit the city that afternoon. As darkness closed in the storm was over Nassau and, rushing westward, it struck the Florida coast soon after midnight, closing in on city after city with a force and fury no newcomer believed possible.
The first onslaughts demolished the power lines and plunged the city in darkness. The gale whipped weather-recording instruments from their moorings, scattered lumber piles like so much kindling, and tore at concrete-block buildings. For nearly eight hours the wind and rain poured over the city. Day broke and citizens saw vacant lots where their neighbors houses had been. Fallen trees, limbs, bits of lumber and other debris^ Uttered the streets; all shrub bery was blasted and stripped of its leaves.
Abruptly the wind and rain stopped. The barometer stood at 27.75 inches, the lowest ever recorded in the city. People were not then acquainted with the character of tropical hurricanes. They did not know that the "core" or "eye" of the storm, then passing over, was a sharply edged disc of dead calm, or that the concave form of this disc armed with teeth of typhonic winds was racing toward them. They left their home to view the wreckage, to salvage their scattered belongings, or to see how friends or relatives had survived the storm. Then without warning the hurricane struck again. The wind that blew from the north in the van of the advancing storm was now, on the eastern side of the gigantic storm disc, blowing from the south. Debris that had settled in spots sheltered from the north wind was picked up and rained like bullets upon unfortunate travelers.
Buildings, strained and weakened from the first attack, especially the hurriedly and cheaply constructed affairs thrown up in the height of the boom, collapsed like matchwood. The wind tore them in pieces and hurled the parts against other buildings to create still more damage. One man reported seeing 32x4 driven, like a stake, through a 1 2-inch oak tree. The downtown streets were covered with broken glass, brick, mortar, and cement blocks. Late in the afternoon the storm passed. People again crept from their shelters to view the havoc. There was no power, lights, telegraph, telephone, or other means of communication, and no water. Sunday morning a makeshift radio station was set up where the 439-foot steel towers of the Tropical Radio station had blown down. A message was relayed to the outer world through a passing ship. Headlines on newspapers throughout the Nation screamed of the death and disaster that had swept South Florida in the greatest catastrophe since the San Francisco earthquake.
Before count of the dead or estimate of damage could be made, donations for relief began to pour in to the Red Cross and cooperat ing agencies. The Red Cross received more than 3 million dollars. William R. Hearst sent a special train with one hundred doctors, nurses, and engineers into the storm area. The late President Machado sent a gunboat from Havana with a detail of doctors. The National Guard moved in but there was remarkably little looting and no need for martial law.
In Dade County 113 known dead were recovered and 854 were treated in hospitals. In Miami two thousand homes were destroyed and three thousand damaged. Damage along the water front was particularly severe as warehouses and piers were leveled. The two big dredges about to commence work on the harbor-deepening pro gram, were on the bottom of the bay. Nearly 140 boats at anchor in the harbor and in the Miami River were aground.
Nearby towns fared no better. At Fort Lauderdale twelve hundred homes were destroyed, and thirty-six hundred were damaged. At Hollywood one thousand homes were gone and two thousand were in need of repairs. Miami Beach suffered most from damaged gardens and from 2 to 4 feet of sand the storm left lying in the streets. Coral Gables suffered least of all.
Recovery was rapid as citizens committees took charge of resto ration with "dictatorial" powers in districts allotted them in accord ance with plans developed by Governor John W. Martin and Mayor E. C. Romfh. In ten days the National Guard was disbanded and the citizens committees surrendered the powers that had been conferred upon them. The city, declared a press statement, had returned to normal.
The season that followed was one of bitterness and disappoint ment. Tourists were definitely afraid of south Florida and many stayed away. Those who did come saw the scars that remained. The set-back was a terrific shock. For years mention of the word "boom" was taboo. City publicity pamphlets and Chamber of Commerce bulletins, for almost a decade, were hard pressed for cheery and pro pitious material. Building construction diminished rapidly while the permanent population, based on school enrollment figures, somehow continued to grow. Taxes became increasingly difficult to collect but the city officials were reluctant to admit a collapse in realty values or make adjustments in assessments.
The assessed valuation of property declined from a high of $389,648,391 in 1926 to $317,675,298 in 1928. These figures dropped to $167,519,892 in 1929, and sank to $97,871,000 in 1934. Miami, however, had one asset that no man-made institution nor blunder could destroy: its climate had not changed. Moreover, the foundation of a great city was already well laid. Dwindling property values had neither chilled Miami winters nor had the hurricane leveled its well-constructed buildings.
Under the leadership of the older residents, the city pulled itself together. It continued to spend large amounts for advertising. There was a steady trickle of business and some progress. Even in 1932 building permits totaled $1,067,427, and by 1934 they increased to $2,896,471. Tourist travel continued to mount.
Much credit may be ascribed to enterprises, started long before and completed during this period. During 1928 and 1929 interocean mail and passenger air service was extended to Latin-American countries. The new Tamiami Trail tapped other tourist cities on the West Coast. The Greater Miami Airport Association was estab lished at the time as was the All American Air Meet which now brings approximately one thousand planes to the city each year. In 1931 horse-racing was resumed as Hialeah and Tropical Parks were opened to the public. Chapman Field, which had served as an army base during the World War, was reopened. The growing Pan American Airways opened lines that touched the capitals and principal cities of South America making Miami that year second only to New York as an American port of entry.
Some of the long distressed property began to change hands on a still depressed market; by 1935 there was a decided upward swing in real estate sales and men began satisfying city tax liens with city bonds then selling at approximately 50 per cent of face value. Tax sharks set up offices, bought tax certificates, and foreclosed on property which they sacrificed on a steadily rising market. On, Labor Day a hurricane swept Florida keys killing between three and four hundred veterans and civilians, most of whom were employed in the construction of the Overseas Highway. About one hundred bodies in plain, unpainted wooden boxes, were brought to Miami for burial when health officials banned further importation. Relief parties continued to find bodies and down on Matecumbe the pile of coffins mounted higher and higher under the blazing sun, and toward the end of the search, identification of remains became impossible.
One Sunday afternoon, in the midst of a solemn gathering, a Protestant minister, a Catholic priest, and a Jewish rabbi, stood before the long stack of coffins. Together they read the funeral services for the dead of their faiths. Gasoline was poured over the gigantic pyre, and a great pillar of black smoke leaped up to darken the afternoon sun. Matecumbe, well named by the Indians as a "place of weeping," had again taken its toll of human lives.
Early in November Miami was visited by another hurricane that passed over in a few hours. Few people were injured. Most of the damage was to trees and shrubbery; the streets were cleared in a few days. Many citizens said the coming tourist season was killed and that the real estate market would be wrecked for that year; but Miami, Miami Beach, and Coral Gables enjoyed their best season since 1926.
In the four years since 1935, more than 100 million dollars were spent in building. Vast improvements were made as merchants installed modernized store fronts. One large industrial firm erected a 1 6-story office structure; and more than ten thousand new residences were built.
Miami s progress was largely determined by its geographical posi tion, its resources, and the aggressiveness of its developers. Julia Tuttle thought Miami might become the center of a great citrus producing area. The Brickells hoped to make the city the center of a cigar manufacturing industry. Even Flagler visioned it as a small winter resort, and was reluctant to install improvements needed by the expanding population. Since that time various groups have sought to make Miami an aviation center, a seaport to handle South American goods, and an American Monte Carlo.
Each of these groups has had some measure of success, and their combined efforts have overcome many obstacles.