Historical Markers

Florida Historical Markers Programs - Marker: Miami-Dade

You are currently viewing Miami-Dade


Location:U.S. 1 at 16165 S. Dixie Highway
County: Miami-Dade
City: Perrine
Description: In 1838, the United States Congress granted a township of land in the southern extremity of Florida to noted horticulturist Dr. Henry Perrine and his associates. This land was to be used in experiments aimed at introducing foreign tropical plants and seeds into Florida. Although Dr. Perrine did not select a township before his death in 1840, he indicated the area he preferred, and his family later selected the land which came to be called the Perrine Land Grant. Born in 1797, Henry Perrine was trained as a physician. During a visit to Cuba in 1826, he became interested in tropical plants which might be successfully introduced into the southern United States. As American consul in Campeche, Mexico (1827-1838), Dr. Perrine began to send Mexican plants to a friend on Indian Key in Florida and to seek government support for future agricultural experiments. Eager to find a way to utilize the tropical soils of the south, the leaders of Territorial Florida gave their support to Dr. Perrine in the efforts to obtain land for his project which culminated in the grant of 1838. Events of the Second Seminole War made it impossible for Dr. Perrine to settle on the Florida Mainland in 1838. He took his family to Indian Key to care for his plants and await the war's end. On August 7, 1840, Indians attacked the Key, killing Dr. Perrine and six others; his family escaped uninjured. Dr. Perrine deserves recognition as a pioneer whose efforts stimulated interest in tropical agriculture in Florida.
Sponsors: Sponsored by Perrine Cutler Ridge Rotary Club In Cooperation With Department of State
Location:907 Coral Way
County: Miami-Dade
City: Coral Gables
Description: In 1899, Dr. Solomon Merrick, a Massachusetts Congregational minister, purchased a 160-acre tract of land located near Miami. Rev. Merrick and his son, George, settled in a log cabin already standing on the property and planted grapefruit and vegetables on their land. The rest of the Merrick family soon came to live on the Florida property, which they called "Guavonia" after the fruit that grew there. They lived in a newly constructed frame house which was incorporated into the larger home, completed in 1906. Called "Coral Gables", this house was built of native limestone rock quarried from a nearby site, now Venetian Pool. As Merrick's crops prospered, more land was acquired, bringing the plantation to about 1,600 acres where George Merrick envisioned and later developed a new, Mediterranean-style community. It was named "Coral Gables", after the home. In 1966, W.L. Philbrick purchased the house, which had become known as Merrick Manor, and created the Merrick Manor Foundation to maintain the building as a historic site. In 1976, the Foundation donated this home to the people of Coral Gables. Merrick Manor, now known as Coral Gables House, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Sponsors: sponsored by coral gables chapter daughters of the american revolution in cooperation with department of state
Location:3485 Main Highway
County: Miami-Dade
City: Coconut Grove
Description: The Barnacle is one of the oldest homes in Dade County still standing on its original site. It was built in 1891 by Ralph Middleton Munroe, one of Coconut Grove’s most prominent pioneers. He visited South Florida in 1877 and moved to this area in 1881. Commodore Munroe purchased 40 acres of bay front land, including this five acre site. He built the boathouse in 1887 and lived on its upper floor until the main house was completed. In 1894 he married Jenny Wirth. They had two children Patty and Wirth, who were brought up here. This historic site and the original house with its additions were donated to the state of Florida by the Munroe family in 1973.
Sponsors: The Barnacle Society Inc and the Florida Department of State.
Location:Betweem Ferdinand St. and Alhambra Circle
County: Miami-Dade
City: Coral Gables
Description: This “lighthouse” which has never seen the sea, serves as a testament to Coral Gables’ early boom years, a time when everyday practical things could be turned into works of art. Built c. 1923, its design is credited to Denman Fink, artistic designer for Coral Gables. A steel tank was erected first, and then enclosed with a wood frame and reinforced concrete structure designed to resemble a lighthouse, thus concealing the less attractive water tank behind an aesthetically pleasing and architecturally playful face. Purchased by Consumers Water Company in 1926, the Alhambra Water Tower was part of the City’s domestic water supply system until 1931, when it was disconnected from the system and abandoned after the utility company started buying water from the City of Miami. In response to citizen outcry to save the tower from destruction in 1958, the City purchased it for a token sum, thus preserving this unique landmark. In 1993 the tower was extensively restored based upon 1924 photographs. The Alhambra Water Tower was listed in the Coral Gables Register of Historic Places in 1988.
Sponsors: City of Coral Gables
Location:Alhambra Circle and Madrid
County: Miami-Dade
City: Miami
Description: Built in 1933, this Mediterranean Revival house is a contributing structure in the Coral Gables Plantation Historic District, one of the earliest developments in the city planned by George Merrick. Throughout the late 1960s and the 1970s, this house became a meeting place for those who campaigned for equal rights for women. Resident and pioneer feminist Roxcy O’Neal Bolton opened her home as headquarters to organize numerous rallies and marches and founded the Miami Dade Chapter of the National Organization for Women. In an effort to bring public attention to the special needs of women, organizational meetings were held in this house to establish Women in Distress, the first women’s rescue shelter in Florida, and the Rape Treatment Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Community meetings were also held here to create the Citizen’s Crime Watch of Dade County, one of the first of its kind in the country. Under Roxcy Bolton’s leadership, the perseverance of all those who volunteered their time here created a forceful voice for justice for those who would otherwise not be heard.
Sponsors: Coral Gables Historic Preservation Board and the Florida Department of State
Location:907 Coral Way
County: Miami-Dade
City: Coral Gables
Description: In July 1899, Congregational minister Solomon Greasley Merrick (1859-1911) and his wife Althea (1859-1937) purchased sight unseen the surrounding 160 acres for $1,100. Several months later, Merrick and his son George (1886-1942) came from Massachusetts to prepare an existing wooden cottage for the arrival of the family. Locals including Bahamians helped plant vegetables and grapefruit trees. The vegetables and existing guava trees were their only source of income until the grapefruit groves began to bear. In 1906 Althea designed a rock house including the original cottage that is still visible at the rear. Named “Coral Gables,” its limestone rock came from what is now the Venetian Pool. When his father died, George took over the groves, added land and dreamed of a planned community. It became a reality in 1921 when he sold the first lots. During the Depression, Ethel Merrick, George’s sister, made it a boarding house called Merrick Manor. Members of the Merrick family resided here until 1966, when W.L. Philbrick bought the home and created Merrick Manor Foundation to save it. The City of Coral Gables acquired and restored it in 1976. Coral Gables Merrick House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Sponsors: Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution and the Florida Department of State
Location:10800 Collins Ave.
County: Miami-Dade
City: Miami
Description: Side 1: The originally known Lighthouse Dock, once at this site, marked the beginnings of this area’s fame as a sportsman’s paradise. Folklore and history relate that a man named Baker (c. 1810) "hauled over" fishing boats from the bay to the ocean. In 1926, Captain Henry Jones (1883-1968) built the first dock with a permit from the War Department. By 1937-1939, the Lighthouse Restaurant and the Ocean Bay Trailer Park shared this property. These early docks served as the foundation of an international sport fishing tourist industry as charter boat fisherman searched for marlin, sailfish and other big-game fish in Miami's abundant Gulf Stream waters. Adjacent to these docks was an official weighing station of the Metropolitan Miami Fishing Tournament, the oldest and largest fishing contest in the world. Many record catches were certified here. Captains navigated their charters beneath the hazardous Haulover Bridge with its treacherous currents. They also contended with the threat of enemy submarines, just outside the Inlet, from 1942 to 1943. Some captains assumed duties as sub-spotters. A Coast Guard vessel was moored here during World War II to ensure civilian safety, making this a strategic military site at that time. Side 2: In 1944 the Lighthouse Dock became part of the Haulover Beach Park. The Dade County Parks Department assumed management and changed the name to Haulover Beach Docks. In 1951-1952 the docks were replaced by a marina, built farther to the north. Calling these docks home were the captains, their boats, and the only women working as mates for their husbands. The earliest pioneer captains at these docks were: Henry Jones, Henrietta; George Hamway, Popeye; Joe Reese, Ethel Lee; Slim Caraway (Marjorie) Lady Luck; John Sacon (nee Saconchik), Martha Mary; George Helker, Gremlin; Ralph Nemire (Iris), Seacomber; Harry Stone, Oke Doke; Ira Gregory, Lucky Strike; Elsworth Stone, Anhow; W.D. Murphy, Pat; Charles Smith (Mary), Interim; Harold Alford (Jeannette) Privateer; Otto Reichert, Restless; Robert Paterson, Huskee; Frank Kurek, Sportsman; Ernie Luebbers, Mystery; B.C. Millard, Surf King; and Paul Goerner, Vee Gee. Other individuals contributing to the success of the Haulover fishing fleet: Official Dock Photographer, Doris Barnes; Dock/Weigh Masters, Norton/Waggoner; and Taxidermist, Al Pflueger. They recorded the feats of tourists and such celebrities as Hollywood superstar Robert Mitchum and TV host Arthur Godfrey.
Location:Old Dixie Hwy from 13980 Biscayne Blvd. to Arch Creek Park
County: Miami-Dade
City: Miami
Description: The Arch Creek State Archaeological Site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. It contains a portion of the Military Trail, a wagon road, built during the Third Seminole War (1855-1859) by the U.S. Army. In 1856 Captains Abner Doubleday (1819-1893) and John Brannan and their troops constructed part of the Military Trail between Fort Dallas on the Miami River and Fort Lauderdale. It later became a portion of the first county road in 1892, passing over the Natural Bridge and Arch Creek. In 1915 it was renamed Dixie Highway. The road was designated a local historic site on January 18, 1995.
Location:1800 NE 2nd Ave
County: Miami-Dade
City: Miami
Description: In 1897 Mrs. William Brickell sold this 10-acre “rocky wasteland” to the City of Miami for $750. At that time it was located one half mile north of the city limits on a narrow wagon track county road. The first burial, not recorded, was of an elderly black man on 14 July 1897. The first recorded burial was H. Graham Branscomb, a 23-year-old Englishman on 20 July 1897. From its inception it was subdivided with whites on the east end and the colored population on the west end. In 1915 the Beth David congregation began a Jewish section. Two other prominent sections are the circles: the first to Julia Tuttle, the “Mother of Miami” buried in 1898; the second, a memorial to the Confederate Dead erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Sixty-six Confederate and twenty-seven Union veterans are buried here. Other sections include a Catholic section, American Legion, Spanish American War, and two military sections along the north and south fence lines. Among the 9,000 burials are pioneer families such as the Burdines, Peacocks and Dr. James Jackson. This site has the only known five oolitic (limestone) gravestones worldwide. These and the unique tropical plants make this a tropical oasis.
Location:997 N Greenway Dr.
County: Miami-Dade
City: Coral Gables
Description: The Coral Gables Golf and Country Club and the Granada Golf Course, once the Merrick family’s vegetable field, were part of the original 1921 city plan by George Merrick and landscape architect, Frank Button. The golf course, designed by the nationally known team of Langford & Moreau, opened on January 15, 1923. Three months later, the clubhouse, designed by Hampton & Reimert, became Coral Gables’ first public building. The six original coral rock arches seen behind this marker reflect the Coral Gables Mediterranean style that helped set the tone for the City’s architecture. The Coral Gables Golf and Country Club quickly became the epicenter of the new community and played an important role in its development. Salesmen, including Merrick himself, entertained prospective buyers there and showed them home sites from its distinctive tower. Crowds flocked to the Club’s palm patio and danced to the nationally broadcast music of renowned bandleaders Jan Garber and Paul Whiteman. The Country Club of Coral Gables, as it is known today, received its charter on October 9, 1935. A devastating fire destroyed much of the building on July 11, 1983.
Location:975 North West 95th Street
County: Miami-Dade
City: Miami
Description: For thousands of years most water crafts were built of wood. The first reinforced plastic fiberglass boats in the southeastern United States were conceived and built here in 1947. Two hundred feet north of this marker is the former home and workshop of Troy Wollard, where his shop building still stands. He was an outstanding shipwright who was instrumental in building the durable high-performing crafts with visionary pioneers Arthur H. Siegel (1924-2003) and Dudley Whitman. Challenger Marine Corporation produced its first boats at this location which was the beginning of the boating revolution. This small manufacturing venture changed the yachting world forever. The 18-foot runabout speedboats had inboard engines that could reach up to 50 miles per hour. They had monocoque (egg shape) construction with full-length stringers that supported the hull and engine. An outline of excess resin used to make these boats is still visible on the floor of the shop. This enterprise was one of the first in the nation to use fiberglass successfully and was the forerunner of an important industry eventually leading to the development of large luxury yachts and commercial vessels.
Location:Virginia Beach Drive, Virginia Key State Park
County: Miami-Dade
City: Miami
Description: Virginia Key Beach Park is an environmental and historic landmark on a barrier island in Miami. Its earliest recorded history is of an 1838 skirmish during the Second Seminole War in which three Seminoles were killed on this site. From the early 1900s onward, during the era of segregation laws, this location became a popular unofficial “Colored” recreation area known as “Bears Cut.” In response to a bold protest led by attorney Lawson E. Thomas and others demanding an officially designated beach, Virginia Key Beach opened for “the exclusive use of Negroes” on August 1, 1945. The new park, at first accessible only by boat, was an immediate success, attracting over 1,000 visitors on any given weekend. In addition to the baptisms and sunrise services which regularly took place, churches, organizations, and families gathered here for memorable picnics and social events. The park brought together all neighborhoods and social classes of the “Colored” community. By the early 1960s, another courageous protest brought segregation to an end. The beach park symbolizes the struggle of Black Miamians who persevered to bring about change for future generations.
Location:100 NE 1st Ave.
County: Miami-Dade
City: Miami
Description: On September 18, 1926, the Great Miami Hurricane swept across South Florida with estimated winds of 131-155 mph. Before the era of satellites and computer models, warnings for tropical cyclones were often inadequate. A storm warning from Washington was posted by the Miami Weather Bureau Office (located on the third floor of the Old U.S. Post Office and Courthouse Building from 1914 to 1929) at noon on September 17. A hurricane warning went up only as the winds were rising at 11:25 P.M. Weather instruments on the roof of the building blew away around 3:30 A.M. The eye of the hurricane reached the coast at 6:00 A.M., lasting about 35 minutes with a lowest pressure measured at 27.61 inches. The second part of the hurricane produced the strongest winds and the highest storm surge up to 10 feet that completely flooded Miami Beach and several blocks inland on the mainland, causing the deaths of many who mistakenly thought the storm was over. The storm killed more than 370, made more than 25,000 people homeless, and caused millions of dollars in damage in South Florida. It continued across the state and moved into the Gulf of Mexico near Fort Myers, making a second landfall west of Pensacola on September 20, 1926.
Location:1107 S. Greenway Dr
County: Miami-Dade
City: Coral Gables
Description: When George Edgar Merrick (1886-1942) designed his idealistic City of Coral Gables in the early 1920s, he created a special area for scouts and built a rustic log cabin for his Troop 7 Boy Scouts on this site. Today, only the chimney remains. After the hurricane of 1926, Merrick’s Coral Gables Construction Company built the Troop 7 scout cabin largely from pine trees and telephone poles. Merrick deeded these two acres of land, now in the middle of the Granada Golf Course, to the scouts in perpetuity. Their first scoutmaster was Albert H. Bartle. As scoutmaster for the first three years, then a committee member, Mr. Bartle served Troop 7 for 16 years until 1938, setting the standard for excellence and longevity for others to follow. The old Troop 7 log cabin burned down on March 30, 1971, leaving only the chimney. The new building, finished in 1976, was dedicated to Scoutmaster Rex Hawkins, who kept the troop alive during the difficult WWII years when many adult leaders were away. The George Merrick Foundation continues to maintain the property, with help from the City of Coral Gables, the Kiwanis Club of Coral Gables and concerned citizens who appreciate the legacy of George Merrick’s scouting program.
Location:Old Culter Rd between Tivoli Ave and SW 74th St
County: Miami-Dade
City: Cutler Bay
Description: Old Cutler Road owes its name to the former town of Cutler, a farming community founded by William Fuzzard in the late 1800s. The town was named after Dr. William Cutler of Massachusetts who visited the area about 1880 and encouraged Fuzzard and others to settle here. In 1883, Fuzzard, with the help of other residents of Cutler, cut a path north and east through a wilderness of pine rocklands and hardwood hammocks to the Village of Coconut Grove. The road followed a natural limestone ridge along Biscayne Bay, and established the first overland route connecting Coconut Grove and Cutler. It was subsequently widened to a wagon trail, and was declared a public road in 1895. The road became known as Cutler Road, later as Ingraham Highway, and still later as Old Cutler Road. Today, Old Cutler Road, which follows a somewhat altered course, maintains the appearance and atmosphere of a country road, and provides a tangible reminder of the heritage of the Miami area. Old Cutler Road was declared a State Historic Highway in 1974 by the Florida Legislature.
Sponsors: The Town of Cutler Bay and the Florida Department of State
Location:155 NW 14th St
County: Miami-Dade
City: Florida City
Description: On this site, which was officially known as the Florida City Shelter of the Catholic Welfare Bureau’s Cuban Children’s Program, thousands of Operation Pedro Pan children found refuge from Communist Cuba between 1961 and 1966. Operation Pedro Pan was conceived and organized by Monsignor Bryan O. Walsh of the Archdiocese of Miami and James Baker, headmaster of Ruston Academy in Havana, Cuba, at the request of parents who sought to prevent Communist indoctrination of their children. It was financed largely by the United States Government with full support of the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations, and was supervised by the State of Florida. Between December 1960 and October 1962, over 14,000 Pedro Pan children arrived in South Florida. The Florida City Shelter was the largest of the Operation’s facilities in the state. It housed girls 5-19 years old and boys under 13 who lived in home units under the care of exiled Cuban couples who served as house parents. Its day-to-day operations were managed by Catholic priests and Sisters of St. Philip Neri. Many Operation Pedro Pan children went on to plant deep roots in the region and made significant contributions to Florida and the nation. En este sitio, denominado Refugio de Florida City del Programa de Niños Cubanos del Buró Católico de Bienestar Social, miles de niños integrantes de la Operación Pedro Pan recibieron albergue de Cuba Comunista entre 1961 y 1966. La operación fue concebida y organizada por el Monseñor Bryan O. Walsh de la Arquidiócesis de Miami y por James Baker, director de la Academia Ruston, ubicada en La Habana, Cuba, a solicitud de padres que no querían que sus hijos fueran adoctrinados por el régimen. Fue financiada por el gobierno estadounidense, con respaldo de las administraciones de Eisenhower, Kennedy y Johnson y supervisada por el gobierno estatal de Florida. Entre diciembre de 1960 y octubre de 1962, más de 14,000 niños cubanos llegaron al sur de Florida. En el Refugio de Florida City, el mayor del estado, se acogieron niñas entre 5 y 19 años de edad y niños menores de 13. Los menores residían en hogares encabezados por matrimonios cubanos exiliados que fungían como padres. La administración estaba bajo la dirección de sacerdotes católicos y las Hermanas de San Felipe Neri. Muchos niños de Operación Pedro Pan echaron raíces en la región y contribuyeron al desarrollo socioeconómico y cultural de Florida y del país.
Sponsors: Operation Pedro Pan Group, Inc. and the Florida Department of State