NE 125th Street in what’s now North Miami looking east to the ocean. (📸: Miami News Collection, HistoryMiami Museum circa 1920)
It’s hard to imagine it now, but Miami wasn’t always the bustling cultural hub it is today. As a matter of fact, its transformation only happened relatively recently; look no further than the photograph above for evidence. The image shows two unidentified children standing on a freshly paved road which is known today as NE 125th Street in North Miami, near the old East Dixie Highway. Even at the beginning of the 20th century, Greater Miami still had a ways to go in moving away from its frontier settlement roots to the thriving, world-renowned metropolis it is now.
The old East Dixie Highway ran parallel to the Florida East Coast Railway and helped to fuel the emergent development of the area. The preceding photo’s unpaved road, simple wood-frame houses, and Australian pine trees capture what life was like in Greater Miami during the 1920s. This era was also when a real estate boom was transforming small farming communities into residential subdivisions, towns, and yes, cities.
The pictured area and other sections of the future City of North Miami were initially known as the Town of Miami Shores, which was incorporated in 1926. Later, the Town of Miami Shores was renamed North Miami in 1931, while the settlement lying one mile south was incorporated as the Village of Miami Shores. These two settlements share a similar history, since prior to the 1920s, they were part of a region of scattered farming communities sometimes known as “Biscayne Country.” It doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as nicely as the 305 or the Magic City, but it’s a substantial part of Miami’s rich history.
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