City History Brief
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, former U.S. Marine, Mr. C.G. Ihle, 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 very remote and there were few neighbors. 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
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
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.