• Key West

    For a century and a half, the island has been defined by its geography: a watery isolation that has meant both boom and bust. Key Westers have had it all; and nothing.

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Key West

Seminole and Calusa Indians were the first occupants of Key West. Sixteenth-century Spanish settlers found the beaches littered with the detritus of Indian battles and thus named the place Cayo Hueso (Island of Bones). In the 1830s, Key West was the wealthiest city per capita in the country. First, islanders made money by salvaging cargoes […]

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The battle of the billboards started in 1965 when Lady Bird Johnson championed a law aimed at banning billboards “to preserve (the) natural beauty” of the nation’s open roads. Not only did the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 not work — it hasn’t been cheap. Taxpayers paid about $214 million to billboard owners as compensation […]

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Veterans Village

The saga of Veteran’s Village began in February 1946 when a Miami American Legion Post tried to address the housing shortage for military families by re-opening World War II buildings on Miami Army air field, today Miami International Airport. For $20 a month, families got wooden huts, 16 feet by 16 feet,  with no running […]

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Space shuttle Challenger

Space shuttle Challenger detonated 73 seconds after liftoff at 11:38 a.m. Jan. 28, 1986, killing all seven astronauts aboard. Among the dead: teacher Christa McAuliffe, NASA’s first — and last — “citizen in space.” The last known words from the flight deck were recorded at the moment Challenger exploded. “Uh-oh,” pilot Michael Smith said. From […]

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Miami City Ballet

Miami City Ballet’s inaugural opening was at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in October 1986. The sold-out audience delighted in two works of George Balanchine, ”Allegro Brillante” and the ”Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux”, as well as two world premieres, ”El Amor Brujo” and “Transtango”. Philanthropist Toby Ansin and NYC ballet superstar Edward Villella […]

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Parrot Jungle

Parrot Jungle, symbol of all that was exotic and tropical in Miami, opened in 1936 in what is now Pinecrest. Austrian-born Franz Scherr rented 20 acres of cypress and oak hammock and opened the tourist attraction, charging 25 cents admission to see the brightly colored birds and eventually the lush gardens. Generations of children grew […]

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Dinner Key Auditorium

In the early 1950’s the seaplane base for Pan American World Airways at the south end of 27th Avenue became the Dinner Key Auditorium. The exhibition hall and auditorium is best known for the infamous 1969 concert where rocker Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, was arrested on charges he exposed himself onstage.

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Orange Bowl Parade

The first Orange Bowl parade was held on January 1, 1936. It was part of a festival intended to attract tourists and support the University of Miami football team. It featured 26 floats and eight bands. The parade, which bumped along from Biscayne Boulevard to Southwest 12th Avenue, was held every year except three during […]

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Betty Wright

In 1968, a local disc jockey introduced Betty Wright as “super-Miami’s own homegrown superstar”. Wright, who grew up in Liberty City, began her solo career started at 11, when Clarence Reid and Willie Clarke heard her singing in Johnny’s Record Rack, the base for their Deep City label. A few years later she recorded Girls […]

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