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Who moved to the Miami area in 1870 and proceeded to buy all the bay front land between the Miami River and Coconut Grove?

Brickells-Coconut Grove

The land in question. Detroit Publishing Co., circa 1905. HistoryMiami, 1986-144-43.

Hailing from Ohio this couple arrived in the Miami area in 1870, opening an Indian trading post the following year and acquiring a large tract of land for $3000, bounded by the Miami River on the north and Coconut Grove on the south. According to Emma Gilpin, William was regarded as a real character in the Bay area, enlivening conversation with his vivid accounts of visits to Japan and Australia. Before coming to Miami, he had been a "wild catter" in the burgeoning oil business and had prospered thereby; hence the ready cash for large land purchases and the establishment of a trading post, located at the mouth of the Miami River on the south bank thereof. The trading post came to stand three stories high, crowned by a cupola, rising above the sea of coconut palms by which it was surrounded. Physically and entrepreneurially, it dominated the Miami scene until the late 1890s. Nearby, the Brickells eventually built a handsome residence, graced with classic columns and featuring a large piazza, overlooking the bay. It was built in sections up north and shipped down "for further assembly.” 


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