In case you didn't know December is Miami Heritage Month! When people think of Miami a few things that may come to mind are – glamour, beaches, tan, beauty, and the list goes on. Many people tend to forget that before all the glitz and glamour Miami had a very rich history.
During the month of December you are invited to unravel the hidden cultural gems in our city and learn how Miami came to be how it is today.
1508 SW 8th St.
This historic theater, built in 1926 and transformed into an Art Deco gem by architect Robert Law Weed in 1931 for the Wometco Theater chain, was a popular neighborhood theater with its Saturday morning matinees and special events. The theater’s shiny steel spire greeted the Cuban refugees when they first landed on the streets of Little Havana in 1959. Now owned and beautifully restored by the City of Miami, Miami Dade College operates the theater and provides dance and theater performances, as well as film and art exhibitions.
United States Post Office and Federal Courthouse
300 NE 1st Ave.
Designed by Phineas Paist, Harold D. Stewart and Marion Manley, Florida’s first licensed woman architect, the courthouse reflects a marvelous fusion of the Mediterranean and Neo-Classical styles. Completed in 1934, the building is faced with oolitic limestone and contains a magnificent mural by Denman Fink in the central courtroom. It has been the venue for many major court cases, as well as Senator Estes Kefauver’s Select Committee on Crime hearings in the 1950s.
Alfred I. Dupont Building
169 E. Flagler St.
Designed by Marsh and Saxelbye in 1937, this structure is Miami’s only Art Deco skyscraper and a representation of Depression Moderne architecture. It resembles the buildings comprising Rockefeller Center in New York City, which were also created in the same era. During World War II, it served as headquarters for the Seventh Naval District, whose charge was to guard the waters and shorelines against Nazi submarine attacks. They now rent out the building for parities and weddings!
Booker T. Washington Senior High School
1200 NW 6th Ave.
The original masonry building opened in 1927 and was the first public school in South Florida to provide recognized 12th grade education for Black children. It was integrated in 1966 and became a middle school. The original building was torn down and a new school designed by Robert Bradford Browne was constructed, preserving the original entrance. In 2001, Booker T. Washington once again became a senior high school.
3485 Main Highway
This State of Florida historic site is Miami’s oldest home in its original location. The Barnacle, designed by owner Ralph M. Munroe in 1891, offers visitors the opportunity to almost re-enter the “Era of the Bay” before Henry Flagler’s railroad came to Miami in 1896 and sparked rapid development. Often called the “Father of Coconut Grove,” Munroe was a pioneer photographer, author, sailboat designer and environmentalist. This is a really cool spot, and highly recommend you check it out if you have never been!
Coral Castle Museum
28655 S. Dixie Highway
Coral Castle is one man’s unique monument to his “sweet 16” girlfriend, who broke their engagement. Without any assistance, Ed Leedskalnin spent 20 years building the castle using more than 1,100 tons of coral rock. The nine-ton gate can be opened with a light touch of the hand.