Bomb Shelters

Building your own bomb shelter was a Cold War-era survival tactic for thousands of families nationwide and in South Florida. Welcome to the late ’50s and early ’60s, when nuclear nervousness gave urgency to a trend that made headlines in 1961. Everyone was building a shelter — or should have been, according to the experts […]

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Bookmobiles

The first bookmobile in Miami began in January of 1928. Since then, bookmobiles have been the bearers of books and carriers of culture for patrons in outlying areas. At the program’s peak in 1979, the county maintained about 20 bookmobiles that fanned out all over Dade County. People checked out 293,000 books from the mobile […]

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Matheson Hammock Park

Matheson Hammock was founded in 1930 when the pioneer Matheson family donated 85 acres of tropical hardwood hammock off Old Cutler Road to Dade County. The family wanted the land to be used only for the benefit and enjoyment of the public as a botanical park and that it be “preserved and protected in a […]

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Miami International Airport

On September 15, 1928, Capt. Edwin Musick took off from a dirt runway with 340 pounds of mail and two passengers bound for Key West. It was the first recorded flight from what would become Miami International Airport. Pan American Airways shifted its operations from Key West to Miami and purchased 116 acres of swampland […]

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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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Car Hops

The Miami Herald reported in 1952 on the burgeoning number of local drive-in restaurants staffed by scantily clad young women. “There seems to be a race going on among Miami drive-in restaurant owners to see who can clothe curvaceous curb cuties in the tightest sweaters and the briefest shorts,” a Herald story by reporter Pat […]

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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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Stiltsville

For generations, Miami’s Stiltsville neighborhood in Biscayne Bay has been the subject of fascination, and occasional controversy. At one point, there were as many as 27 stilt homes, but now only seven survive, built on wooden and concrete pylons two miles offshore in what is now Biscayne National Park.  Stiltsville was once a remote getaway for […]

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Miami City Hall

What is now Miami City Hall was built in 1934 by Pan American Airlines for its worldwide flying-boat terminal. The air terminal was sold to the city of Miami in 1946 and after a brief stint as Jackie Heller’s Dinner Key Terrace restaurant, the city converted the building into its City Hall in 1954. The city removed […]

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