Category Archives: History

Miami’s history is brought to your attention to shed light on present events and better anticipate future developments.

The History of Miami’s First Park

I was astonished to run into this amazing article on the history of Miami’s first park: Bayfront Park. The origins of the park are found in 1896—around the same time of the city’s incorporation. Although the article is of interest for all Miamians, it is especially worth the read for those buying units across from the park.

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Looking Back

This is an excellently written, expansive, and accurate assessment of Miami’s brief but unique history—from beginning to end, it is one of the best historical essays on the city that I have read. It covers almost all the basis; early history, early development, hurricanes, boom and bust patterns, immigrant inflows, racial unrest, leading up to the 21st century—even Elian has room reserved in the essay. It concludes with thoughts on Miami’s future role in the U.S. and world. It is said that the more history you know, the more sense you can make of the present, and the farther you can look ahead into the future. This could not be truer for Miami. Click on the url below to read this great historical essay:

http://www.magiccitymedia.com/HistoryofMiami.html

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Time Magazine Bashes Miami Again!

 

First off, I have always had great respect for Time magazine. Secondly, I have some ideas for their editorial staff. How about this: the next time they write about Miami they should include the image of a turd. They should simply refer to the city as the “Banana Republic.” I know they want to. Might as well, considering the unsurprising and well-timed negative blow the magazine has laid on Miami once again. It began in 1981 with their expose of Miami as a crime-ridden city rife with corruption. The article “Paradise Lost” was a cover story. Sure, in 1981, that was true. Miami has had its share of big problems and has come a long way since the 80’s, except Time doesn’t seem to think so. The Magazine just relishes the chance of shining an enormous spotlight on Miami’s problems. Now, they do it again in 2006. So insurance premiums are through the roof due to recent hurricanes, and disgruntled people are leaving Miami due to the traffic, increasing land values, and other nuisances, but I simply don’t understand how that is worthy of the country and world’s attention. I don’t see how that constitutes “trouble in paradise”. Do people outside of Miami really care that insurance premiums are sky high in the city? Time Magazine seems to think so. According to Time, our city has quite a lot of corruption in the local government. This is old news. Hopefully, a salary increase will give less cause for embezzlement. Still, obvious problems aside, since when is it uncommon for people to leave Miami? I guess people didn’t leave Miami after the awesomely violent riots of the 1970’s and 80’s in the city’s black neighborhoods. During the Mariel boatlift, I’m sure everyone stayed. How about after Hurricane Andrew? Miami has been through enough blows. The city can take one from Time Magazine. It isn’t the first and it’s unlikely to be the last.

It’s a shame how such a reputable and influential magazine published such a misguided story. It made no emphasis on the city’s historic explosion in construction activity. There was not even a peep said about Miami vying for the secretariat position of the FTAA, because South Florida sees well over half of the trade between the U.S. and Latin America/Caribbean, excluding Mexico. Miami’s diverse population, culture, urban progress, and economic advantages were ignored. If the magazine is going to do a report on the city, it should have been a balanced one. Miami is widely considered one of the best, if not the best city to do business in Latin America. The indirect reference to Miami being the “Banana Republic” is a cheap shot. Is it necessary to describe such a culturally diverse and economically well positioned city in such a manner—even if it is an indirect quotation? Is the local government non-functional and inept? Are more people emigrating from Miami than are immigrating? Is the international immigrant inflow sustaining the city’s growth rate? Time Magazine would answer in the affirmative for all. That is unfortunate. Do Miamians really care when they have to wait for a drawbridge to allow a yacht to pass? Even this silly statement is made in the article. I mean how petty does it get? Of course there was the inevitable blow at the Cuban-American community. What have they done now? Exist? O yea, they still do. Bash them! So, Miami is “greedy” it seems. Presumably, NYC is pious. Maybe Las Vegas is puritanical. It could be that Los Angeles is modest. Is there no end to this pitiful waste of time and space on the magazine’s pages? The real story is that Miami is rising—literally and figuratively. The real story is that it will become one of the Western Hemisphere’s most prosperous and possibly even one of posterity’s most favored cities. Time Magazine knows, they just choose to ignore it. The irony is that as Miami’s destiny continues to unravel, it will inevitably run into more problems and Time Magazine will surely highlight them, but if the magazine wanted to do business in Latin America, where do you think they’d open up their headquarters? You guessed it, the “Banana Republic”. They can ignore Miami’s multi-billion dollar airport expansion, billions of dollars worth of historic development, and vibrant economy. It’s ok. At least Time Magazine got one thing right. Miami is paradise.

Post Script: Time Magazine reaches 173 million adults world wide per month.

Here is the link to the latest Time Magazine article:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1561128,00.html

Here is the link to the 1981 article:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,922693,00.html

 

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Miami’s Early History

So how old is Miami anyways? The answer is not very old at all. It was officially incorporated in 1896. Seems like yesterday right? Still, the city is a baby compared to most other major urban centers in the hemisphere. Nevertheless, to begin with, we must address the history of the 27th state of the Union; Florida. Although the state was controlled by the Spanish for over two centuries, little of their culture remained embedded onto the culture Floridian. During the early 1800’s, Florida was suspended the Seminole Indian war. Ironically, this was the time when the first permanent settlers entered the area. The Seminole Indian conflict began around 1817 and lasted until 1842. The word Seminole was derived from a Spanish word, “cimmaron”, which meant “wild ones”, referring to the fact that they lived in wild, unoccupied areas. They were a diverse group of Native American Indians that had fled to the Florida peninsula for refuge from U.S. expansion. Historically, Florida can be viewed as the continental United States’ last frontier, due to its instability. During the early 1800’s, it was nearly unsettled. South Florida was the wildest section of the frontier peninsula. Few had good reason to dwell into the hot and humid , mosquito-ridden area. TheEverglades swamp seemed to consume all the land anyhow. In this unquestionably Inhospitable place, a settlement named

Miami was home to a handful of plantation owners, Bahamians, and slaves. The U.S. Army’s Fort Dallas and handful of plantation owners, Bahamians, and slaves resided there. The rest of the state was dotted by military forts. Fort Walton, Fort Pierce, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers as well as several others. The Civil War occupied much of the mid 1800’s. The area did not change much.

The city increased significantly in size, and with the baby boom helping inflate the population, became a relatively large city with a defined, although not very dense, urban core.The early 1960’s saw the Civil Rights movement begin to change public opinion towards African-Americans, but in
Miami
the progress was non existent. African Americans enjoyed no political rights nor economic opportunity. Despite all of this, Overtown still thrived as their civic center. They did not know, however, that it was about to be destroyed. The local authorities planned and approved the extension of Interstate 95 and the I-395 elevated highway directly through the heart of their community. Over 12,000 families were forced to move into outlying areas, mostly

Liberty City. This would come to haunt the city later. Almost simultaneously a communist revolution was succeeding in Cuba and a tyrant named Fidel began to confiscate all the private property in the island country. In succeeding waves, The Cuban middle class began there epic exodus into the city. Miami would never be the same (to be continued).

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