Miami is full of history and Brickell history is the cornerstone of the City of Miami’s growth. Around our neighborhood there are still remnants of the past that created our city. Below are just a few spots I find provide an interesting glimpse into the past. Check out my Brickell History host spots below!
Brickell Park next to the Icon is where you can find the Brickell family mausoleum. The empty Brickell Mausoleum is the last structure built by the Brickell family that still remains in the heart of the Brickell neighborhood. Most of the Brickell developments were demolished for the sake of gentrification. And while I know it sounds gory, the Mausoleum is actually quite pretty. Since it’s the only structure left behind from the Brickell family (and I’m the Brickellista) it’s only appropriate to open with this spot.
If you have partied at Pawn Browker you are quite familiar with the design’s of Martin Luther Hampton and EA Ehmann. During the boom in Miami, Hapton designed a number of buildings in downtown Miami including one of my favorite gems, the Petit Douy, or as I like to call it “the castle house on 15th.” Built in 1931, it’s the only French chateau in Miami.
My friends Matt, Josh and I used to joke that we were going to buy the Petit Douy and turn it into a hotel where butlers with small ponies would greet everyone. The only meal served – brunch. It was going to be fancy schmancy! I wanted a moat and after much debate, the boys agreed to let me have a moat. Needless to say, the castle house dream didn’t come into fruition, but the Petit Douy still serves as one of my favorite spots in Brickell.
The best views of Brickell are on Brickell Key and when I’m not feeling lazy I’ll run around the 1.3 mile key with Zoey. Brickell Key is a man-made island that was never intended to become livable, it served as a dumping ground for Henry Flagler as he removed a sand bar at the mouth of the Miami River. Flagler’s team also used a dredge to deepen the river and began to dump limestone and river silt which would eventually become a mini Island.
The Brickell family, especially Mary Brickell, was upset with Flagler for ruining her view of Brickell Bay. Sassy Mary! After various lawsuits, bidding on the land and lots of temper tantrums, the island was sold and eventually developed into what it is today. Ironically, it’s called Brickell Key, but the Brickell family wanted its removal from day one.
This restaurant is near and dear to my heart because when I first moved to Brickell it was one of the few restaurants in town. I picked up Perricone’s lasagne and gelato and ate the yummy food on top of my boxes before I unpacked.
On October 16, 1996, Steve Perricone opened his restaurant on a shoe string budget. While the evenings were slow, the lunch business kept the restaurant afloat. Perricones would offer free parking and shuttle service to and from game nights for the Heat and Panthers when they played at the old Miami Arena. During that time, there was plenty of street parking in Brickell – hard to imagine right?!
Next to Perricones is the Allen Morris Park. Who is Allen Morris? He is a developer in Miami and probably one of the coolest guys I know!
Simpson Park Hammock
Once owned by Mary Brickell, Simpson Park is a 7.8-acre oasis of tropical hardwood hammock biodiversity just off Miami Avenue and 15th Street. It is named after the author and naturalist Charles Torrey Simpson and has been in existence since 1916. Tucked within a residential neighborhood, it is easy to miss by car, but if you’re walking your Zoey, it’s something that makes you stop and want to pop in.
Simpson Park is one of a few small fragments that remain of Brickell Hammock, once the largest most diverse hammocks in South Florida. It feels a few degrees cooler inside the park, so in the summer months its a good spot to check out if you need some shade.
Dr. Jackson’s Original Office
I used to run by this house every morning and never knew it’s historic value. It’s incredible to think that one of the original structures is still in tact and surrounded by high-rises! It’s a little nook of history amongst the evolving community. One day I popped in and learned that what was once the offices to Dr. Jackson, it is now home to the Dade Heritage Trust.
Built in 1905 the original office of Dr. James Jackson, Miami’s first physician, still stands in Brickell. Before there was Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Dr. James Jackson was the local doc in Brickell. The house / center is located on SE 12th Terrace and Brickell Bay Drive.
Originally built in 1923, Dolores Lolita restaurant was once the site of Miami’s Fire Station No. 4, built in the popular Mediterranean Revival style of the era at that time. The Architect, H. Hasting Mundy, built this classic design with a two-story hipped roof, arcaded porch, stucco walls, and unique balconies. This whimsical building is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Although Miami’s Fire Department had its beginnings in 1899 with a force of five volunteers, the first fire station was not built until 1907. Additional stations were added in 1915 and 1919 as the City expanded, and Fire Station No. 4 was completed in 1923. Of these original fire stations, only Fire Station No. 4 remains. The restaurant owners kept the original poles in tact.
These are just a few places I find interesting in the neighborhood. I am sure I missed a few! Please leave a comment below if there are other spots I should add to my list.