An Enduring Spirit
Miami’s historic Black neighborhoods reflect a blend of the ancestry of the Caribbean West Indies, West Africa and the Old South. Although sometimes in the midst of urban blight, important historic sites and impressive new buildings speak to the presence of Blackpeople in Miami-Dade County for more than a century. With the Lyric Theater and churches as anchors — some as old as the City of Miami — people go about their daily lives in these special neighborhoods that have endured, enjoying “Mostly Sunny Days.”
by Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields
Overtown Liberty City Charges Avenue & The West Grove Farther Afield Opa-locka Lemon City/Little Haiti
By Carole Ann Taylor
Black men who stood for incorporation of the City of Miami built this community across the railroad tracks in 1896. Known then as “Colored Town,” Overtown grew and developed into a vibrant community anchored by churches and retail and entertainment establishments. Over the years, Overtown lost its magic to desegregation and urban renewal and many buildings fell into disrepair. Today, public and private partnerships are helping develop an “in-town” residential community with affordable housing adjacent to Downtown Miami. The Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida provided the research to place six Overtown buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and other sites designated by the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County.
1 The Historic Overtown Folklife Village
Northwest 2nd and 3rd avenues between 8th and 10th streets
Traditionally Overtown’s cultural and entertainment area, the State of Florida designated it the Overtown Main Street Community. Its redevelopment includes a mixed-use marketplace with a retail component that is focused on the arts and humanities of the Harlem Renaissance, the Caribbean and West Africa. The African-themed Ninth Street Pedestrian Mall opens up to the adjacent Lyric Theater, creating a year-round destination for various events including family and class reunions and festivals.
2 The Ninth Street Pedestrian Mall
Northwest 9th Street and 2nd Avenue
The mall was dedicated in December 1994 during the Summit of the Americas celebrations. It was designed by artist Gary Moore, who featured vibrant variations in color resembling African Kente cloth patterns. The mall presents a luscious landscape and ornate street fixtures. It is located next to The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater Welcome Center Complex and is often alive with community festivals and celebrations that continue to make the Historic Overtown Folklife Village an exciting place to visit.
3 The Purvis Young Murals
Northwest 11th Street and 3rd Avenue on the Metrorail Overpass
The murals are replications of Purvis Young’s art, honoring the internationally celebrated artist. Purvis Young (1943-2010) was a self-taught artist who lived in the severely blighted Goodbread Alley area, and painted thousands of art pieces and murals as a form of social expression reflecting the changes and trials of his Overtown community. He used the very fabric of Overtown, such as discarded plywood boards, metals and debris, as materials for his paintings.
4 The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater and Welcome Center Complex
819 NW 2nd Ave. • 305/636-2390 • theblackarchives.org
Built in 1913 by Black businessman Geder Walker, the theater showcased stage and film performances, gospel, jazz, vaudeville and literary arts of the Harlem Renaissance. In 1999 the theater was restored as Overtown’s premier performance facility, and in 2005 it was expanded to include a welcome center, concession stands, and dressing rooms. The third phase of the expansion is scheduled to be completed in 2012. The expansion will house The Black Archives’ research center, repository and headquaters. It will also increase the theater’s stage capacity in order to include rigging and more backstage theater support, a gift shop, and exhibition hall.
5 New Providence Lodge #365
941 NW 3rd Ave.
Built in 1947, it is the second oldest masonic temple in Miami-Dade County. Like many of the original structures in Colored Town/Overtown, the temple was built by its members who would meet in the evenings after work to help with construction. Lodge #365 became officially recognized in 1917, many years after its members petitioned the Grand Lodge of the State of Florida in 1901 to establish a Lodge in Colored Town/Overtown.
6 International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local #1416
Union Hall, 816 NW 2nd Ave.
The ILA received its charter in 1936. This building is the headquarters for longshore laborers who load and unload ships from all over the world and handle cruise ships with high passenger counts. The building housed the A. Phillip Randolph Institute and hosted other events for members and the Overtown neighborhood.
7 The Ward Rooming House
249 NW 9th St.
This symbol of Colored Town/Overtown’s lively, tight-knit community was built in 1925. The rooming house was owned by Shaddrack “Shaddy” and Victoria Ward. It was a resting place for both blacks and Seminole Indians, who were banned from staying in lodges and hotels in Downtown Miami. Seminole Indians who came to the city to barter and sell goods would take rest on the porch and enjoy a glass of Victoria’s sweet tea before making the long journey back to the Everglades on the Tamiami Trail. The rooming house is now a historic landmark, and it is owned and operated by the City of Miami’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) as an artists’ residence and gallery.
8 D.A. Dorsey House
250 NW 9th St.
Built for his bride in 1915 by the area’s first black millionaire, real estate magnate D.A. Dorsey, the Dorsey House boasted electricity throughout. Now it is a rental property owned by the Black Archives. (NR)
9 Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
245 NW 8th St.
Founded in March 1896, several months before the city was incorporated, it is one of the oldest churches in Miami. The first structure was simple, with a dirt floor. The present edifice is in Mediterranean Revival-style. Its scale, façade and stained-glass windows make it one of the most imposing structures in Overtown. (NR)
10 Historic Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church
301 NW 9th St.
Founded on September 18, 1896, D.A. Dorsey served as one of its founders. Mt. Zion was one of the first meeting places for the Boy and Girl Scouts, as well as for Dr. Martin Luther King and others involved in the Civil Rights Movement. (NR)
11 Black Police Precinct & Courthouse Museum
480 NW 11th St.
In the 1940s, during segregation, Black police officers were only allowed to patrol the Central Negro District, now known as Overtown. This building was the headquarters for the Black patrols and the municipal court where Black defendants were tried, usually before a Black judge. Now the building is a museum.
12 St. John’s Baptist Church — The New St. John Institutional Missionary Baptist Church
1328 NW 3rd Ave.
This popular church was organized by a small group at the turn of the 20th century. In 1940, the congregation built the existing structure. A rare example of the Art Deco Moderne architectural style with Gothic massing, it was designed by McKissack and McKissack, a Black architectural firm from Nashville, Tennessee. (NR)
13 Historic St. Agnes Episcopal Church
1750 NW 3rd Ave.
Organized in 1898 by a group of mostly Black Bahamian Anglicans searching for a place to worship, it has served the religious and humanitarian needs of Miami’s Black community for more than 100 years. Built in the 1940s, the church is an eclectic blend of architectural styles, including elements of Gothic Revival and Mission.
14 A.M. Cohen Temple
1747 NW 3rd Ave.
A.M. Cohen, a Black native of South Carolina who relocated to Miami to work on the railroad, organized the church in 1918. He stood for the incorporation of the City of Miami. His descendants continue his service.
15 Chapman House
1200 NW 6th Ave.
Built in 1923 by Dr. William A. Chapman, Miami’s first Black medical doctor hired by the State of Florida, this Colonial-style residence now houses Miami-Dade County Public School programs.
16 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.
17 The Overtown Youth Center
450 NW 14th St.
This colorful, modern community facility is fully equipped with a gym, recreation center and computer lab. Built by businessman Martin Margulies, the center’s programming is provided by former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning’s foundation.
18 City of Miami Cemetery
1800 NE 2nd Ave.
The City of Miami purchased the 11-acre cemetery tract in June 1897. Whites were buried in the eastern portion and Blacks in a section to the west. The graves of local Black leaders include: Rev. Theodore Gibson, NAACP leader and community activist, and the City ofMiami’s first Black commissioner; Judge L.E. Thomas, the first Black judge; and A.C. Lightburn, one of the Black incorporators of the City of Miami. Local white leaders include Julia Tuttle, Miami’s founder, as well as many pioneer families. Also of note aregraves from the Spanish-American War and Miami’s 1899 yellow fever epidemic. (NR)
The first large migration of Blacks to Liberty City began in 1937 when many families moved to the Liberty Square Housing Project, the second Federal housing project built in the U.S. The second major migration came in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a result of the Black displacement caused by the expressway construction that devastated Overtown. Today, Liberty City, which was the site of the 1980 riots, is on the verge of economic revival.
19 Martin Luther King Boulevard
62nd Street from Biscayne Boulevard to Hialeah
Named in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this largely commercial street runs east and west through several communities including Little Haiti, Liberty City, Brownsville and Hialeah. In the Brownsville section, a statue of Dr. King is in the park.
20 62nd Street Mural
Northwest 62nd Street and 7th Avenue
Painted by the late artist Oscar Thomas, this colorful mural depicting the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of several in the area designed to represent the pride and heritage of the Liberty City community.
21 The Wall
Northwest 12th Avenue from 62nd to 71st streets
Liberty City’s Wall was established in the 1930s as a result of the construction of the Liberty Square housing development. “The Wall” was built as a barrier to separate the new Black neighborhood on the west side of Northwest 12th Avenue from the already established white neighborhood on the east side. This concrete barrier remained for many years as a symbol of the Jim Crow era, which haunted American history over the years. The seven-foot wall was eventually demolished, and today the remnants of the structure runalong a median that separates Northwest 12th Avenue from Northwest 12th Parkway.
22 Miami Northwestern High School
1100 NW 71st St.
During segregation and after the phasing out of Dorsey Senior High in 1956, Black citizens petitioned the school board to build a new comprehensive senior high school in Liberty City. Northwestern was the first Black high school to win a state football championship. It was integrated with other county schools and now includes a medical and arts magnet program.
23 Gwen Cherry Park
7090 NW 22nd Ave. • 305/694-4889
This park honors the late State Rep. Gwen Cherry, the first Black woman elected to the Florida Legislature. She was the daughter of Miami’s first Black physician, Dr. William A. Sawyer.
24 Liberty Square
Northwest 12th to 15th avenues between 62nd and 67th streets
The first public housing project erected in the State of Florida, Liberty Square opened on February 6, 1937. It was designed as a complete community for Black residents to relieve the congestion and inadequate housing in Overtown. Besides 900 housing units, the complex also included a nursery school, a cooperative store, a Federal Credit Union and a central community building. Many Black middle-income professionals resided here prior to purchasing their own homes.
25 African Heritage Cultural Arts Center
6161 NW 22nd Ave. • 305/638-6771
Colorfully designed with the vision of being a center for Liberty City’s artists and youth to display their work and enhance their talents, it opened in 1974. The center has an auditorium, art and dance classrooms and an exhibit area that can be utilized by the community and after-school arts programs.
26 Joseph Caleb Community Center
5400 NW 22nd Ave. • 305/636-2350
A product of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society,” the center was designed to alleviate poverty by providing decentralized neighborhood services. It is now a hub of activity with political forums and performing arts. It houses a library, child care programs, county and state services and the Black Archives, which collects, archives and interprets information on the Black experience in Miami.
27 Georgette’s Tea Room
2540 NW 51st St.
Georgette’s Tea Room is a historic structure located in Brownsville and built by Georgette Campbell. The 13-room English Tudor-style home was an elegant and lavish guest house that offered a secluded retreat to dine and sleep for famous black celebrities and entertainers such as Billie Holiday, Nat “King” Cole and the Ink Spots. It also served as a meeting place for black socialites for many years.
28 Miami Times Building
900 NW 54th St.
Founded in 1923 by Henry E.S. Reeves, Miami Times is the oldest Black-owned and operated newspaper in the City of Miami. Originally located in Overtown, the newspaper moved to Liberty City and then to its present site designed by Alfred Browning Parker.
29 Masjid Al-Ansar — Muslim Mosque
5245 NW 7th Ave.
This Mosque has been in Liberty City for more than 30 years and also includes the Sister Clara’s school. Its presence demonstrates the diversity in religion in one of Miami’s predominantly Black residential communities.
Northwest 27th to 32nd avenues between 41st and 54th streets
This pioneer neighborhood was platted by a Black man, Rev. W.L. Brown, in 1920 and became known as Brown Subdivision and later Brownsville. Historic sites include Georgette’s Tea Room (2540 NW 51st St.), which was a guest house for celebrities such as Billie Holiday, who maintained a permanent room there.
31 Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery
3601 NW 41st St.
Designated as a historic site in 1991, this was one of two cemeteries where Blacks could be buried with dignity. Before that, Blacks were buried at the back of white cemeteries. Though records of the first people buried here were lost to fire, the cemetery remains a treasure paying homage to the past.
32 Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery
3001 NW 46th St.
One of the oldest cemeteries in Miami-Dade County, it consists of 538 mostly above-ground vaults. This manner of burial is used in areas with a high water table like Key West and New Orleans. Black pioneers buried here include: Dr. William A. Sawyer, the first Black physician in Miami-Dade County and founder of Christian Hospital; Arthur and Polly Mays, who opened a school for rural Black children in South Dade; and Florence Gaskins, who formed the first local Red Cross chapter for Blacks.
33 Hampton House
4200-4240 NW 27th Ave.
This 54-room hotel was once promoted as the “Social Center of the South.” Opened in 1954, the hotel also operated a popular nightclub. CORE (The Congress of Racial Equality) held their weekly meetings here and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a frequent guest. It is said that he gave an early version of his “I have a Dream” speech here. Notables such as Muhammad Ali maintained a permanent room in the hotel. In 2001, the Hampton House Community Trust was formed to gain historic designation for the site, save the abandoned hotelfrom demolition and plan its restoration and use.
By Arva Moore Parks
The first Black settlement on the South Florida mainland is in Coconut Grove. Its history began in the early 1880s when Bahamian immigrants and southern Blacks came to South Florida to farm the land and look for a better life. Charles Avenue, once known as Evangelist Street, was the main hub of the Black community that was called Kebo after the famous African mountain. Sites included the first Black school, church, fraternal society, library and cemetery. In the 1970s The Grove became the site of Goombay, a festival held the first weekend in June to celebrate the independence of the Islands of the Bahamas from Britain and to commemorate the accomplishments of South Florida’s Bahamian pioneers.
34 The E.W.F. Stirrup House
3242 Charles Ave.
This two-story frame house, built of Dade County pine in 1897, was the residence of E.W.F. Stirrup, the first Black developer in Coconut Grove, who migrated from Harbour Island, Bahamas in 1888. Stirrup built more than 100 homes in the area from coral rock and DadeCounty pine. He also had holdings in other parts of South Florida.
35 Odd Fellows Hall/United Christian Church of Christ
3288 Charles Ave.
Although drastically altered with the second floor removed, this circa 1897 building housed the first Black library, literary and fraternal society in South Florida and for many years was the community gathering place.
36 Mariah Brown House
3298 Charles Ave.
Now under restoration, the Mariah Brown House was the first home on Evangelist Street/Charles Avenue. Ms. Brown, who came from Upper Bogue, Eleuthera, was the first permanent resident of the West Grove. She worked for the Peacock family who built the Peacock Inn, Miami’s first hotel. She brought in other family members who comprised some of the earliest residents of the Coconut Grove community.
37 St. James Baptist Church
3500 Charles Ave.
This historic church was formerly the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church (St. Agnes), which was founded by Rev. Samuel Sampson in 1896. Today it is the home of St. James Baptist Church.
38 Christ Episcopal Church
3481 Hibiscus St.
Founded in 1901, it was the church home of Father Theodore R. Gibson, priest, community activist, civil rights leader and former City of Miami commissioner. It is the oldest Coconut Grove church in its original location.
39 Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church
3515 Douglas Road
Originally known as St. Agnes Missionary Baptist Church, it is the oldest church in the Black Grove and the first Baptist Church in the Miami area. Its first home, built in 1896, was on Charles Avenue. The present edifice dates from 1948.
40 Coconut Grove Cemetery
3650 Charles Ave.
Originally, the Methodist, Baptist and Episcopal churches oversaw the cemetery. It adjoins the Charlotte Jane Memorial Cemetery named in honor of the wife of E.W.F. Stirrup. It is the final resting place of many pioneers and reflects the area’s Bahamian heritage.
41 Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church
3680 Thomas Ave.
In 1896, 12 settlers gathered in the living room of Mariah Brown’s house to form St. Paul AME Church. The first AME Church on this site was built in 1934, although the congregation once had a building on Charles Avenue that, in 1808, housed the first school for Black children prior to the opening of the public school in 1901.
42 George Washington Carver Schools
4901 Lincoln Drive
The predecessor to the first Black school in Miami-Dade County, the present George Washington Carver Elementary and Middle School once served the Coconut Grove Black community from grades K-12. George Merrick built the original Spanish-style school in 1924 in exchange for the former Black school property on LeJeune Road. Led by Principal Frances Tucker, who trained at Tuskegee, the school was renamed George Washington Carver in 1943. In 1951, Alfred Browning Parker designed a new high school and the original school became the elementary school. The high school was integrated and became a junior high school in 1966 and later a middle school.
43 McFarlane Homestead Historic District
Between U.S. 1, Grand Avenue and Lincoln Drive
Although often considered part of Coconut Grove, this unique historic district is actually part of Coral Gables. In 1920, prior to the development of Coral Gables, founder George Merrick created this neighborhood for black residents because during the segregation era their traditional neighborhood had become overcrowded and white residents resisted expansion. Merrick was close to the community because many of the early residents worked with him in the grapefruit groves that later became Coral Gables. It was formerly the homestead of Flora McFarlane, a white woman. Before there was a public school, she taught both Black and white children at the Peacock Inn. (NR)
Historic Virginia Key Beach Park
4020 Virginia Beach Drive
Located on Key Biscayne, Virginia Key Beach was the first public beach available to Blacks south of West Palm Beach. It was secured through the efforts of a group of clergymen led by the late Judge Lawson E. Thomas. The beach officially opened on August 1, 1945, although the only access was by water until 1947. The beach included a boat ramp, mini-train ride, carousel, bath houses and cottages. In 1982, the City of Miami closed the beach. After the community learned that the city proposed a private campground on the property, they organized the Virginia Key Park Civil Rights Task Force to address issues affecting the development of the park and funding to develop a future Civil Rights Park and Museum. The beachfront park re-opened in 2008 after undergoing a multimillion dollar effort to restore the pristine shoreline and the historic buildings. (NR)
Florida Memorial University
15800 NW 42nd Ave.
The birthplace of the Negro national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the University opened in 1879 as the Florida Baptist Institute in Live Oak, Florida. Another Black institution, the Florida Baptist Academy, was founded in 1892 in Jacksonville and moved to St. Augustine in 1918. The two institutions merged in 1941 and changed the institution’s name to Florida Normal and Industrial College the following year. The college was renamed Florida Memorial College in 1962, relocated to Miami in 1968 and acheived university status in 2006.
Opa-locka is one of the most unique cities in America. Founded by internationally known aviator Glenn Curtiss in 1926, it has one of the largest if not the largest collection of “Moorish Revival” architecture in America and includes 20 buildings that are listed on the National Register. Curtiss hired architect Bernhardt Muller to design the buildings and Clinton McKenzie to do the town plan. Although many of the original buildings have been altered, several outstanding structures have been recently restored. The city also has an adjacent area settled by Black World War II veterans called Bunche Park, named in honor of Ralph Bunche. Today, Opa-locka is predominantly a Black municipality, with predominantly Black political leadership and city administration. Each year, the city celebrates its roots with an Arabian Nights Festival.
Opa-locka City Hall
777 Sharazad Blvd.
This incredible building is the “pinnacle” of architect Muller’s work. Completed in 1926, it appears as a mirage at the end of Opa-locka Boulevard. Restored to its former grandeur in 1987, the building houses city government and serves as the backdrop for the Arabian Nights Festival. (NR)
The Hurt Building/Logan Executive Center
490 Opa-locka Blvd.
The Hurt Building was originally a hotel and real estate office. After an extensive restoration in 1991, it became the offices of the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation. (NR)
Opa-locka Train Station
490 Ali-Baba Ave.
In January 1927, the opening of the Opa-locka train station made headlines when what was billed as “the grand Vizier of the heikdom of Opa-locka” welcomed the inaugural run of the Seaboard Airline Railroad’s famous “Orange Blossom Special” from New York. It was reopened in June 2003 by the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation for office and retail uses. It also serves as a Tri-Rail station. (NR)
by Timothy A. Barber, adapted from Gepsie M. Metellus
Lemon City was a pioneer community on the shores of Biscayne Bay predating the incorporation of the City of Miami. Most of the Blacks in this area were of Bahamian descent and established flourishing communities and businesses including the only U.S. Post Office in the area, a library, churches, “a colored school,” and a cemetery. There were at least three identifiable black communities in Lemon City — Nazarine, Knightsville and Boles Town — all dating from about 1900. After the area underwent a drastic demographic shift in the 1920s, Lemon City became a distant memory in the minds of many of Miami’s Black pioneers.
Today, over a relatively short period of time, Haitians have moved into the area and changed the character of the neighborhood that was once known as Lemon City. The culturally vibrant Haitian community has enriched Miami-Dade’s multi-ethnic character. Little Haiti, bounded by I-95 and the Florida East Coast Railway, spans from 54th to 87th streets. Its business district, along Northeast 2nd Avenue, is of great social and cultural significance to the Haitian Diaspora because it is the only area in the history of Haitian immigration primarily inhabited by Haitians. It bustles with Haitian-owned and operated business, where the aroma of Creole cooking, multi-hued artwork, the rhythm of Haitian compas, and the expressive tone of Haitian Creole greet residents and visitors alike.
The name of a cultural icon graces this major thoroughfare in the heart of Little Haiti — Northeast 2nd Avenue is now known as “Avenue Felix Morisseau Leroy,” and it leads to Toussaint L’ouverture Elementary School. One of the neighborhood’sdistinguishing characteristics is the colorful and distinctive Caribbean signage along the business corridors. Miami’s Little Haiti has earned a national and international reputation and now boasts the iconic Little Haiti Cultural Arts Center and the Little Haiti Soccer Park.
While the name Lemon City has vanished from the map and the area is now known as Little Haiti, through the recent discovery of the Historic Lemon City Cemetery, significant facts and tangible evidence of this once vibrant Black pioneer community are being uncovered.
44 Little Haiti Cultural Center
212 NE 59th Terrace
This comprehensive cultural facility features classrooms, an exhibit hall, a state-of-the-art theater and a beautiful outdoor plaza featuring a mural by the celebrated Haitian artist, Ralph Allen.
45 The Caribbean Marketplace
5925-5927 NE 2nd Ave.
A modern replica of Haiti’s famous iron market, the building is an architectural marvel designed by famed architect Charles Pawley. Plans are currently underway to restore the splendor of this popular tourist destination and cultural attraction.
46 Libreri Mapou/Sant Kiltirel Mapou
5919 NE 2nd Ave.
This quaint bookstore and cultural center is a popular gathering place for Haitian-Americans and regularly provides high-caliber cultural and literary events.
47 Atelier Duval-Carrie/Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance
225 NE 59th St.
This is the studio and workshop of Edouard Duval-Carrié, a talented artist who is rooted in Haitian culture and history, while still very well-versed in art history and artistic styles. His works of art are intellectually stimulating.
48 Lemon City Post Office
6045 NE 2nd Ave.
This historic 1902 drug store and post office is one of the few remaining buildings from the pioneer community of Lemon City. When it was constructed by Dr. John DuPuis, who was fondly called the “Lemon Doctor,” it was the only concrete building north of Downtown Miami. DuPuis was also the father of the 1915 Dade County Agricultural High School, later renamed Miami Edison.
49 Notre Dame D’Haiti — Pierre Toussaint Haitian Catholic Center
Northeast 2nd Avenue and 62nd Street
This church and neighborhood social service center bears the name of a recently canonized Haitian saint. It was formerly known as Notre Dame Academy, a Catholic high school for girls. Today, it is a place of worship for Haitian Catholics and is a significan religious, social and cultural focus point for Miami-Dade County’s Haitian-American community.
50 Toussaint L’ouverture Elementary School
120 NE 59th St.
In 1986, Bernard Zyscovich designed this unique, award-winning school that captures the quality and character of Haitian and Caribbean architecture. It honors Toussaint L’ouverture, the legendary Haitian leader who helped lead the nation toward independence from France in 1804.
51 Grace United Haitian Methodist Church
6501 N. Miami Ave.
Grace United Methodist Church, formerly Lemon City Methodist, was organized in 1893 and is the oldest church in continuous service in Miami-Dade County. The present sanctuary, built in 1959, is the church’s third building. The second, built in 1905, still stands at6311 NE 2nd Ave. Both Grace Methodist and the Bethany Baptist Mission, which occupies the former Grace Methodist church building on 2nd Avenue, serve the Haitian community with services in Creole.
52 Miami Edison Middle School
Northwest 2nd Avenue and 62nd Street
This beautifully restored, award-winning 1928 Prairie-style school designed by H.H. Mundy, which was formerly Miami Edison Senior High, is now home to a largely Haitian student body. The 1915 Lemon City Agricultural High School, the second high school in Miami-Dade County, was previously located at the site. The ornate auditorium interior, designed by Pfeiffer and Robertson in 1931, is one of the finest high-style Art Deco interior spaces in Greater Miami. Richard Heisenbattle was the restoration architect. (NR)
53 The Little Haiti Soccer Park and Cultural Complex
301 NE 62nd St.
This state-of-the-art facility opened in 2008. The park features both a practice field and a playing field, covered seating for 580 people, a tot lot complete with a jungle gym under a canopy, and a children’s water splash park. The City of Miami acknowledged Haiti’s cultural ties to football (soccer) and named the $37 million, 15-acre soccer park after the late Emmanuel Sanon, Haitian Athlete of the Century. Unveiled was a large sign that carries the inscription, “Emmanuel Sanon Soccer Park, Little Haiti, City of Miami.” In addition, a 5,000-square-foot Cultural Center was built adjacent to the park and named after the late Miami Commissioner Arthur Teele Jr. It features an art gallery, a black-box theater and several studios.
54 Edison Courts Between
Northwest 62nd and 67th streets from 2nd to 4th avenues
During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) hired many local architects, contractors and workers to construct public works projects in Miami. The 345-unit Edison Courts, completed in 1941 and designed by the firm of Paist and Stewart with associate architects Robert Law Weed, Vladimir Virrick and E.L. Robertson, provided public housing for white people. It was similar in scale and design to Liberty Square for Blacks (1936) designed by the same firm. Both projects were integrated in the 1960s. EdisonCourts has maintained most of its historic ambiance and is a wonderful example of WPA craftsmanship and design.
55 Villa Paula/Lucien Albert MD Medical Clinic
5811 N. Miami Ave.
This medical clinic is housed in a majestic house called “Villa Paula” that was built in 1926 as the Cuban Consulate. Surviving periods of vacancy and vandalism, the Villa has been beautifully restored, from the white columned gazebo and statuary outside to the stained-glass windows.
56 St. Mary’s Cathedral
7525 NW 2nd Ave.
With its beginnings traced to a simple wooden church built for the St. Mary’s parish in the late 1920s, today’s St. Mary’s is the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Miami and home to 1.2 million Catholics in 110 parishes. The main portion of the cathedral was designedby the Chicago firm of Barry & Kay in 1957 as St. Mary’s parish church. After the Diocese of Miami was created in 1958, the church became a cathedral and underwent a major renovation in 1965 that included the addition of the bell tower and the beautiful “Blessed Sacrament Chapel.”