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A special mid-week peek into The New Tropic archives and Miami history.
The New Tropic
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🌉 Bridge the gap between past and present with these cool causeway facts

A special mid-week peek into The New Tropic archives and Miami history.

By Zach Schlein

Welcome to Wednesday.

Hope everyone enjoyed the long Labor Day weekend (and for New Tropic readers who identify as members of the tribe, a joyous start to Rosh Hashanah).

I — hi, Zach here 👋 — happen to be one of the many nice Jewish boys living in Miami, so I spent yesterday with my family eating my weight in apples and honey.

With that in mind, today’s newsletter is taking a well-deserved break from the news cycle for a blast to the past, or more specifically, a trip across some of the 305’s most notable bridges...

🌉 A brief history of Miami’s coastal causeways 

Both the Rickenbacker Causeway and the views from the bridge are sights to behold. | Want to see your own picture in this space? Tag either #thenewtropic or @thenewtropic to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @thenewtropic)

Whether you live in Miami Beach or one of the 305’s barrier-island communities or not, there’s a good chance you’ve spent a lot of time (or sat in traffic) on one of the many causeways that connect the mainland to the beach. 

So we decided to take a look at the history of these bridges, how long they’ve been around, and how they got their namesakes.

Rickenbacker Causeway

When it opened: 1947

Its namesake: Eddie Rickenbacker was a star fighter pilot in World War I and later served as the president of Miami-based Eastern Airlines. 

About this causeway: It connects Miami to Virginia Key and Key Biscayne, and it’s a mix of a little more than a mile of bridges, and nearly three miles of roadway. Runners and cyclists love it for providing an awesome view of downtown Miami. 

It’s also been the focus of a lot of advocacy from cycling and pedestrian safety activists who want protected bike lanes along the road, because of the high number of cyclist deaths on the causeway.

MacArthur Causeway

When it opened: 1920

Its namesake: It was initially named the County Causeway and in 1942 was renamed after World War II General Douglas MacArthur.

About this causeway: It was built to provide a second option for connecting Miami Beach and the mainland, because the only other option was the wooden Collins Bridge (more on that in a second). And in the 1990s, the causeway was extended to connect with I-395.

And while many of the causeways in the 305 provide breathtaking views, this one’s probably the best look you can get at downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay in all its glory. 

Venetian Causeway

When it opened: 1926

Its namesake: It was originally the Collins Bridge and was named after John Collins, a developer and farmer who built it with a financial boost from Carl Fisher — another wealthy businessman in Miami’s early days. 

It got its current name when the new bridge opened in 1925, replacing the older, wooden Collins Bridge. 

About this causeway: Like the Rickenbacker, this causeway is another popular one for runners and cyclists and it’s a less hectic alternative to the Tuttle and MacArthur for folks looking to get to South Beach.

Julia Tuttle Causeway

When it opened: 1961

Its namesake: Julia Tuttle has long been considered to be the founder of Miami because of the land she owned and her role in the city’s incorporation in the late 19th century.

About this causeway: While the MacArthur has a slightly closer view of the downtown skyline, this causeway is where you’ll find the iconic “Welcome to Miami Beach” sign that’s been featured everywhere from music videos to TV shows, and plenty of Instagram posts. 

Learn more about Miami’s beautiful bridges by checking out the full list by Lance Dixon from The New Tropic archives.

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Today

🗣 Network and mingle during THēsis Hotel’s Sunset Soirée at Mamey (Coral Gables)

📚 Bring the kids and leap into a literary world during The Underline and Books & Books' new free event series, Storytime at The Underline (Brickell)

Tomorrow

⛑ Hear how you can give back to your community and honor those who served during Miami Dade College's 9/11 National Day of Service Involvement Expo (Homestead)

👀 Check out opportunities at Esmé Miami Beach and Tropezon, a new gin and tapas bar opening on Española Way this fall, during a job fair hosted by Lost Boy & Co. (Miami Beach)

Friday

💃🏼 Enjoy the art of fancy footwork as Adele Myers and Dancers take the stage with special guest Sarasota Contemporary Dance Company to share a work never before performed in Miami(Cutler Bay)

Saturday

🎫 Explore the history of Jai-Alai by watching a game live and learning from its players alongside HistoryMiami Museum(Dania Beach)

🎤 Dance with somebody during performer Nicole Henry’s tribute to the music of Whitney Houston (Cutler Bay)

🏞️ Learn how to illustrate a 3-D effect illusion during this Drawing and Painting with Pastels art course(South Beach)

Sunday

🇲🇽 Commemorate the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s independence during a traditional Grito ceremony with Miami Dade College and the Consulate General of Mexico in Miami (Kendall)

🇧🇷 Celebrate South American cinema during The Inffinito Brazilian Film Festival's 25th edition taking place Sept. 4-18 (North Beach)

Monday

🍄 Join Soho Beach House Miami members and learn about the changing conversation on substances and the law during the latest Psychedelic Series seminar (Miami Beach)

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👋 That’s all for today

Hopefully this edition gave you something to chew on for the next time you make the trek from the mainland to the beach (or vice versa).

See you back here tomorrow with your regularly scheduled New Tropic programming. 

Take care,

Zach at The New Tropic

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