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Who built the oldest house still standing in Miami-Dade County?

Oldest House

The house, circa 1925. HistoryMiami, 1988-212-42.

A veteran of the Mexican War, he returned and married Eveline Aimer around 1848 in South Carolina. An unusual aspect of this union is that Eveline was apparently 17 years older than her husband and she was of mixed ancestry, placing their union's legality in doubt (marriage of a white person and a "creole" being, at that time and place, illegal). In 1855, at the outbreak of the Third Seminole War, Wagner, possibly accompanied by one or two of his older sons, came down to the Miami River area to serve as a sutler, supplying the soldiers stationed at Fort Dallas, near the mouth of that confluence, with provisions and other goods. While thus engaged, he began building a house, located by a creek which flowed into the Miami River a few miles upstream from the fort. With the house completed and the Seminole War over (1858), Wagner sent for his wife and the rest of his children. The home became a focal point of frontier life down here. Indeed, in 1873, Schuyler Colfax, Vice President of the United States during the Grant Administration, was entertained at the Wagner home. A Catholic, he even build a small chapel on his property, the first house of worship in the area since Spanish mission days. The house was moved to its current location in Lummus Park (Miami) in the 1970s. Thus preserved, it is the oldest home in Miami-Dade County.

Answer: William Wagner

Posted at 06:00 AM on March 31, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

What 1936 innovation at Hialeah Race Track distinguished it from all other race courses at the time?

Hialeah Race Track

War Admiral wins by half-a-length. Hialeah Park, February 18, 1939. HistoryMiami, 1983-084-13.

Initially opening in Hialeah as the Miami Jockey Club in 1925, the track skirted the law against gambling by instituting the fiction of selling "stock" in horses and paying "dividends" to the winners. All within the law, or so the track owners claimed. Sold in 1929 to Joseph Widner, a wealthy Philadelphian, the facility underwent a complete transformation. Beautifully landscaped grounds were capped by hundred foot royal palms which flanked grand staircases leading up to the imposing clubhouse. Meanwhile, with a strong nudge from the money and influence Widner could bring to bear, the Florida Legislature legalized pari-mutual betting at horse and dog tracks in 1931, just in time for the new Hialeah Park's grand opening on January 14th, 1932. For many years, it remained one of the great race tracks of the world; some would say the greatest.

Answer: The first photo finish camera.

Posted at 06:00 AM on March 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

 
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