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Tropical Park - Racetrack

Tropical Park

Tropical Park, at Bird Road and Palmetto Expressway, was Tropical Park race track from 1931 to 1972. The 245-acre track opened Dec. 26, 1931, and closed after the 1972 racing season. For 40 years, it was a winter haven for northern and local gamblers, jockeys and horse owners. By 1971, the track was in financial […]

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Quarterdeck Club House Stan Wayman

Quarterdeck Club

Biscayne Bay became known as a party place in the early 1940s after Commodore Edward Turner built the Quarterdeck Club on a barge a mile south of Cape Florida, near an area eventually known as Stiltsville. The club, which had a bar, a dining room, a game room and charter members with vice-commodore titles, was featured […]

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Miami Beach Wartime Training Center

Nazi U-boats brought World War II home to South Florida, sinking ships just off the coastline and landing saboteurs. But the real invasion came as waves of servicemen and women arrived to learn how to fight. The Miami Beach training center for soldiers opened in February 1942 and it was one of the largest centers and […]

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South Beach

South Beach, with its sexy, high-octane mix of leggy models, hot sun and neon lights, has seen its fortunes surge and recede over the years. While many of the notable Art Deco buildings that give the area its charm were constructed in the 1930s, the beach had a second heyday in the 1950s and ’60s, […]

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Venetian Pool

In 1923, Coral Gables’ founders had a problem: an unsightly rock pit in the middle of the fast-growing community. The Venetian Pool — one of the first public pools in South Florida — was born in 1924. Founder George Merrick got the idea to turn the coral rock pit — where much of the rock […]

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Coconut Grove

From Seminole War battleground to Bahamian pioneer outpost to groovy hippie haven, Coconut Grove has had several incarnations. Originally spelled Cocoanut Grove – its residents decided to drop the “a” after its incorporation as a city in 1919- the village has attracted sailors, academics, artists, explorers, drop-outs and scientists. It was the place where northern […]

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Hialeah Park Race Track

The Hialeah Park Race Track, which opened Jan. 25, 1925, and was closed for two years during World War II, was the site of many racing firsts. It was the first track in this country to feature a turf course and the first major track at which a female jockey, Diane Crump in 1969, was […]

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Miami River

Five miles long, the Miami River has gone from a crystal clear wild river to gritty urban sprawl. Its early settlers, the Tequestas, shared the river’s banks and pools with panthers and alligators. In the first half of the 20th century, the Miami River Rapids area was dredged and dynamited to build the Miami Canal, […]

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Downtown Miami

Downtown Miami has had its ups and downs. Crowded sidewalks and empty condos have reflected the boom-and-bust cycle of Florida real estate. From the bustling ’40s through the moribund ’70s to the vibrant downtown of today, the city’s core has bounced back over and over again, shaped by by speculators, hurricanes and exiles.  Though the […]

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Diners and delis

The last blue plate specials may have been served quite a while ago at some of these diners but they were beloved in their day.  Wolfie’s, a Miami Beach landmark for a half-century,  served a slew of famous — and infamous — patrons. Meyer Lansky, Muhammad Ali, Deion Sanders and Liza Minnelli enjoyed the overstuffed […]

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