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City of North Miami - History


INDIANS THE MILITARY TRAIL , AND A SETTLEMENT CALLED ARCH CREEK.

In the final phase of Indian inhabitation of the area that eventually became "North Miami", United States Army Soldiers in 1856 cut a Military Trail through nearly impassable thickets and rivers connecting Fort Lauderdale to Fort Dallas at the mouth of the Miami River. This eight –foot trail , Dade County’s first roadway, crossed a unique natural bridge in an area that would attract a settlement that early on would be known as Arch Creek. Even before 1890 a handful of adventuresome pioneers spent brief periods around the Arch Creek Natural Bridge, a centuries-old Indian settlement.

THE FIRST PIONEER

In 1891 was the first to put down roots in the Arch Creek vicinity. He purchased 80 acres from the State of Florida at one dollar an acre in the area of today’s N. E. 116th Street and Biscayne Boulevard. The place was so remote that his nearest northern neighbor was thought to live in Ft. Lauderdale. Mr. Ihle built a temporary palmetto frond shelter. During the next 27 years he grew shallots, coontie, squashes, bananas, sugar cane, Puerto Rican pineapples, lemons, guavas, limes, rose apples, Jamaican apples, and tomatoes.

ARRIVAL OF THE RAILROAD AND THE ARCH CREEK FARMING COMMUNITY

Henry Flagler’s railroad passed through the Arch Creek area in 1896 on the way to Miami. An overland mule-driven stagecoach using the Military Trail from Lantana to Miami was put out of business by the railroad. Just after the turn of the century, a group from Elmira, New York, purchased land near the Natural Bridge , set up a tent camp, and planted grapefruit groves. By 1907 the farm yield around Arch Creek was 400 acres of vegetables and 40,000 crates of grapefruit. In the next twenty years a trickle of hardy pioneers arrived at the Arch Creek railroad depot, purchased land, built homes, and created a thriving farming community.

THE COMMUNITY CENTER MOVES

By l905 the area surrounding the nine year old Arch Creek Railroad Depot had become the community’s hub. It was located at 125th Street and the F.E.C. tracks. That year a post office and a school were opened nearby. By 1912, eighteen homes, a church, a general store, a blacksmith shop, and two tomato packing houses were located around the railroad. The population was estimated at less than one hundred. Farming was still the principal occupation.

THE 1920'S LAND BOOM


The Florida land boom that was underway in the 1920’s spread to Arch Creek farming community. The Biscayne Canal was dug in 1924 to remove farmland from flooded conditions. But as a consequence, the soil began to lose its moisture, and the farming which had been the backbone of the economy, was no longer profitable. However, in step with the times, this drained land became available for partitioning , lot sales, and development

NORTH MIAMI’S BIRTH ----- 1926

Thirty- eight out of the forty- seven registered voters, at the encouragement of developers Earl Irons and Arthur Griffing, showed up and voted to incorporate into a town on February 5, 1926. North Miami, between 1926 and 1931, was named "TOWN OF MIAMI SHORES", partially because its early eastern boundary was the Atlantic Ocean! The Town limits were: bounded on the South by Miami and Miami Beach, on the East by the Atlantic Ocean, on the West by 17th Avenue, and on the North by a line which approximates Golden Glades Drive or 166th Street. Incorporation moved costs from developers to residents and lot purchasers. Late in 1926 a bond issue of $287,000 was passed to build streets, sidewalks, a town hall, a water system, and fire protection

THE TOWN AFTER THE 1926 HURRICANE

The devastating September 1926 hurricane burst the real estate land speculation. The local community recovered from the damage, but lot sales came to a stop, and the northern tourists names showed up in great numbers on the delinquent tax list. Some money from the bond issue was used to build a Spanish-Mediterranean style city hall building at N. E. 8th Avenue and 125th Street in 1928. The City Hall also housed the police and fire departments. In the 1930’s a new water plant and gravity tank was installed behind City Hall. The first newspaper, "The Miami Shores Bulletin", was published in 1927-28 and chronicled the events of the times. The historic William Jennings Bryan school was constructed in 1928 on the same spot where the Arch Creek Elementary School had burned down the year before.

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