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The completion of Flagler's Overseas Railway to Key West brought recession to Miami. What largely alleviated the drop in local employment?


Beginning in 1905, the construction of the Oversea Extension necessitated a series of key-linking causeways and bridges, one of which was seven miles long. A great engineering feat, the "Overseas Railroad" reached its destination in January of 1912. Unfortunately, the completion of this great project meant many men in the Miami area were suddenly unemployed. The local recession was exacerbated by the death, the following year, of Henry Flagler, a man who had been such a positive force in the city's fortunes.  On the heels of these adversities, however, a momentous undertaking occurred at the behest of a wealthy farm equipment manufacturer. This, of course, was the construction of a now famous Miami landmark on Biscayne Bay, surrounded by magnificent formal gardens which, themselves, necessitated a great deal of architectural attention. Besides requiring the importation of stone cutters and gardeners, the project is reputed to have given work to every unemployed man in Miami.

Answer: Villa Vizcaya

Posted at 06:00 AM on April 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

When and by whom was Biscayne Bay called "Sandwich Gulf"?

Sandwich Gulf

From Tequesta, no. 35 (1975), p. 57.

At the end of that great European conflict, the Seven Years War (known in the colonies as the "French and Indian War"), Britain emerged triumphant, gaining all French North American territories east of the Mississippi (except New Orleans). Britain had also seized Havana, its harbor and hinterland and, on the other side of the world, Manila in the Philippines. The Treaty of Paris, which ended the war, also ended over two centuries of Spanish rule over Florida. It became a British possession, surrendered by Spain for the return of the lost jewels in her imperial crown (Havana and Manila). During the period of British control, the coast between St Augustine and Cape Florida was charted in some detail. The Spanish regained Florida twenty years later, at the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War. Throughout these times, what is now known as Biscayne Bay, was given different names including "Sandwich Gulf."

Answer: The British renamed the Bay after taking control of Florida in 1763.

Posted at 06:00 AM on April 21, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Who developed a plan which reorganized Miami's system of street identification?


Under a plan introduced in 1920 by a councilman (very much at the insistence of the postal service), the old system of street identification was changed. It was a holdover from the city's earliest municipal days, which left many avenues with alphabetical designations, such as Avenue D or Avenue G. Avenue D became Miami Avenue and street and avenue numbers began at the intersection of that avenue and Flagler Street (with avenues running north and south and streets east and west). Indeed, that pivotal intersection divided streets and avenues into four quadrants - southeast, southwest, northwest and northeast. Miami streets were, thus, labeled according to the geographic quadrant in which they were located. So, you might find yourself on Southeast 2nd Avenue or Northwest 2nd Avenue. In establishing this pattern of street identification, the councilman was actually  following the urban layout of Washington D. C.

Answer: J. F. Chaille


Posted at 06:00 AM on April 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

During Prohibition, how did the activities of moonshiners and bootleggers benefit the City of Miami?


Confiscated bootleg liquor. Gleason Waite Romer, photographer. Florida Collection, Miami-Dade Public Library System.

During Prohibition, it was not difficult to get an alcoholic beveridge in Miami. Local moonshine operations were plentiful and largely uninhibited. Most of the forbidden liquor, however, arrived from offshore sources, such as the Bahamas and Cuba. Its proximity to those sources, as well as a long coastline with numerous inlets deep enough for small rum-running craft to use, made the east coast of Florida, and especially the southern part thereof, a major source of bootlegging activity. Indeed, bootlegging became a major industry in Miami. There grew up a profusion of well patronized speakeasies which carried on a regular and not particularly clandestine business. Enforcement of Prohibition laws by local officials was decidedly relaxed. When the law caught up with such illegal purveyors of strong drink, they readily remitted the requisit fines and, then, continued to operate.

Answer: Fines, regularly collected, helped fund the city's operating budget.



Posted at 06:00 AM on April 7, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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