The Greater North Miami Historical Society

 

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'Interama: Miami and the Pan-American Dream'
On display June 21 through January 25, 2009 at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida
Walk into a re-creation of Interama— Miami ’s futuristic fair of the Americas from the 1960s. Under development for decades, Interama was never built but captured the imagination of planners, architects and public officials during an era when Miami increasingly perceived itself as a hemispheric crossroads. See for the first time Interama drawings by such world-renowned figures as architectural renderer Hugh Ferriss and architects Marcel Breuer and Louis Kahn. Visitors of all ages will enjoy a multi-sensory environment filled with video projections, computer interactive and hands-on activities related to design, social change and politics in post-World War II Miami and the Americas .
 
Guest curated by Allan Shulman and Jean-Francois Lejeune, professors of architecture at the University of Miami
 
Historical Museum of Southern Florida, 101 West Flagler St., Downtown Miami, 305.375.1492, www.hmsf.org
 
Interama_color: Color view of underwater tunnel and Tower of Freedom , circa 1962. Courtesy of the Florida State Archives.

 


The Greater North Miami Historical Society,
Arch Creek Trust, and Friends of the Library
 
 Invite YOU to
 
a Screening of the Documentary
 
"White Elephant"
 
Friday, May 30, 2008
6:30 pm
 
North Miami Public Library
835 NE 132 Street
 
Enjoy a screening and discussion of “White Elephant”, the remarkable documentary of the Miami / Bobby Maduro Stadium - one of South Florida’s most unforgettable architectural icons.
 
The film is a fascinating look at a project that ties in the jungles of Cuba’s Sierra Maestra Mountains, the U.S. Congress, the streets of Miami, the Old Miami Stadium, the Cuban Revolution, Minor League Baseball, Urban Renewal, Civil Rights, and much more.  This is a story of vision, intrigue, dreams, potential, fantasy, reality and history.  A MUST see.

 

Greater North Miami Historical Society News and Updates
Here are just a few updates on some things of interest to our Historical Society!
FORMER NORTH MIAMI MAYOR JOE LUDICK ADDRESSES GREATER NORTH MIAMI HISTORICAL SOCIETY
 
(Photo attached, picturing Mayor Ludick and North Miami Historical member Susan Willonberg)
 
Over fifty members of the Greater North Miami Historical Society attended a luncheon on April 6th at the American Czech-Slovak Club.  The lunch was highlighted by a short presentation from former Mayor Joe Ludick, who served from 1951-53, and again from 1955-57. 
 
Ludick recalled the widening of NE 125 Street west of Biscayne Boulevard.  At the time, there wasn't a bridge connecting the east and west sides of North Miami.  Thus, the widening only went as far as Griffing Boulevard.  Ludick also told of past hot-spots, like the Bottle Cap Inn.
 
 
The Greater North Miami Historical Society was formed 11 years ago and works to preserve the history of our City.  Visit them on the web at www.northmiamihistory.com
 
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Click on Picture to Enlarge
 

State Names 125 Street Bridge for Rick Ricciardelli

 
The Florida Legislature, in a measure initiated by North Miami Councilman Scott Galvin and sponsored by Senator Fredericka Wilson and Representative Ron Brise, has named the bridge on NE 125 Street, which crosses Biscayne Canal (NE 4 Avenue), in memory of Rick Ricciardelli. 
 
Ricciardelli, who died in 2002, was elected to the North Miami City Council in 1949 and spearheaded efforts to have the bridge built.
 
During his first term on the council, Ricciardelli saw the need to connect east-and-west North Miami.  Thus, he initiated a $98,000.00 bond issue to build the bridge across Biscayne Canal.  The bridge was completed in 1951.  Finally connected, the “Town of North Miami” met Florida Legislative standards and was then allowed to become the “City of North Miami.”
 
The naming of Ricciardelli Bridge took an interesting turn a few years ago when the State completely renovated the cement structure. 
 
Decades ago, the city council had previously named the same bridge for Ricciardelli.  A simple wooden plaque had been affixed to the bridge.  However, the State had never conferred such a title. 
 
When new construction began, Ricciardelli’s plaque disappeared.  Efforts by the North Miami Council and Greater North Miami Historical Society were made to have it returned.  However, in the eyes of the State, the bridge had never been named for Ricciardelli, because the Legislature had never given permission and North Miami did not have the right to name the bridge themselves.
 
In 2005, Councilman Galvin got the city council to pass a resolution asking the Florida Legislature to rename the bridge in Ricciardelli’s memory.  Senator Wilson and Representative Brise sponsored the measure and Governor Charlie Crist signed it into law in early June.  Efforts will now be undertaken to erect a permanent marker at the bridge.
 
In addition to his service on the North Miami City Council, the late Rick Ricciardelli was also a WWII veteran, a National Vice Commander of Am-Vets, and North Miami Municipal Judge.

 

 

Third Annual 'History Fest' Features Capone Stories and Cultural Food
 
Continuing a tradition begun in 2005, the Greater North Miami Historical Society held our 3rd annual "History Fest" on May 20, 2007, at the American Czech-Slovak Club in North Miami.  This year's Fest featured a cultural lunch prepared by the "Czech Club's" chef and a riveting lecture on Al Capone's rumored North Miami history, led by Alan Sokol.
 
Over 40 members of the Society dined on delicious selections which included chicken or duck, dumplings, tomato salad, and more.  Rosey Voyce prepared centerpieces which each featured a heart-shaped Capone biography.  Czech Club president Bob Petrik entertained guests with music from his accordian.
 
After lunch, we heard a tale told by Alan Sokol, crafted from his many hours of research at the Miami-Dade Library and the files of the FBI.  Rumors have long persisted that Al Capone once used the Czech Club site as part of his illegal liquor operations during the hey-days of Prohibition.  Nestled in a set-back area, hidden along the quiet Arch Creek Canal, it would have made sense for him to do so.
 
Alan was dressed the part of a ganster for his presentation, complete with a gangster-style suit and hat and his "moll," wife Shelly.
 
Though Alan never could find any "smoking (tommy) gun" evidence that Capone indeed used the Czech Club, there appear to be many pieces of evidence that suggest the story has legs (though we don't know about kneecaps).  Alan's research will continue.
 
Additionally, the afternoon served as a chance to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Greater North Miami Historical Society.  Jackie Biggane put together a collage of photos and stories of our group's accomplishments over the last decade.  All were on display for attendees.  A birthday cake was also served.
 
To say the least, History Fest III was a joy to attend and full of memories.  We can't wait to see what next year's Fest will be like!

         

 
The Race to Save Hialeah Park is On!
 
Hialeah Park, once home to racing thoroughbreds and cheering fans, is in imminent danger of disappearing due to rampant neglect and the threat of redevelopment. The historic Palm Avenue stables that once sheltered our beloved thoroughbreds have recently been demolished. Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina and other elected officials have expressed interest in preserving this important relic, but face a though battle and therefore need strong community support.

The South Florida Regional Planning Council and the Hialeah Planning & Zoning Board both turned down a proposed plan that called for the destruction of most all of the park and race track, and included building a private residential community and public school in its place. Our race to Save Hialeah Park is a serious and wide spread community and national effort of which you can be a part.

It is imperative that the concerned citizens of South Florida and other parts of the nation contact our city and state leaders to express their heartfelt desire for the careful renovation and preservation of this priceless historic park and our city's glorious past. We will be forwarding updated information to all members periodically.

Please tell your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers about our race to save Hialeah Park and persuade them to join us in our plight to preserve this historic landmark. Feel free to contact us with information, comments, questions, suggestions, etc. More importantly, please take some time to contact the following elected leaders by calling, writing or sending them an e-mail:

Mayor Julio Robaina
City of Hialeah
501 Palm Avenue
Hialeah, FL 33010
(305) 883-5800
MayorJRobaina@hialeahfl.gov

Rudy Garcia
Florida State Senator
7475 West 4 Avenue, Suite B
Hialeah, FL 33012
(305) 364-3191
garcia.rudy@flsenate.gov

Marco Rubio
Florida State Representative and House Speaker
1000 SW 57 Avenue, Suite 200
Miami, FL 33144
(305) 442-6939
marco.rubio@myfloridahouse.gov

Rene Garcia
Florida State Representative
3814 West 12 Avenue
Hialeah, FL 33012
(305) 827-2767
rene.garcia@myfloridahouse.gov

For more info on the fight to save Hialeah Park, contact Milly Herrera at (305) 769-9635 or herrera101@aol.com.  Or contact Alex Fuentes at (786) 426-7897 or afbmw750@aol.com.
 
 
Al Kaplan's Blog
Al Kaplan is a long-time North Miami resident and member of the GNMHS.  For a long time, he used to be the city's official photographer.  He has tons of negatives of photos taken during the 60s, 70s, and 80s.  In fact, you can sometimes see some of the photos..and read his thoughts of days-gone-by...on his blog, located online at
 
Biscayne Boulevard Times Focuses on American Czech-Slovak Cultural Club
Tucked away near the Arch Creek Park is one of North Miami's best-kept secrets:  the American Czech-Slovak Cultural Club.  Our friends at the Biscayne Boulevard Times have taken a peek at the happenings at this truly historical building and made it the focus of an article in their July issue.  Did Al Capone really run liquor through there?  You can read it online at http://www.biscayneboulevard.com/news/news_2006/news_0706_acscc.htm
 
Know Anything About Apartments on Griffing Boulevard?
Member Rick Ferrer is doing research into the history of the apartment building located at 11595 Griffing Boulevard, along the canal.  Its owner would like to see Miami-Dade County designate it as historical.  If you have any information on the property, please email Rick at rxf@miamidade.gov.

 

The Greater North Miami Historical Society Newsletters

An alert North Miami resident, Michael Holliday, noticed something special when he recently viewed the Ella Fitzgerald exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC.  Among the many pieces on display paying tribute to the late singer's legacy is a Key to the City of North Miami presented to Ms. Fitzgerald in 1983.  Presented by the then-mayor and city council, the inscription reads, "Ella Fitzgerald: In Recognition of Your Outstanding Contributions to the World of Arts, October 30, 1983."

 
North Miamians should be proud not only to be associated with the vocal legend of Ms. Fitzgerald, but for the prestige of having an item now on display to millions of people visiting the Smithsonian.  Thanks, Michael, for noticing the key!

 

Pioneer Newsletter September 2004

Pioneer Newsletter December 2004

Pioneer Newsletter February 2005

Pioneer Newsletter January 2005

Pioneer Newsletter July 2005