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> 1953 - the Bell Haven Trailer Park pool featured in an ad for a trailer manufacturer, Miami
From an old ad
1953 - the Bell Haven Trailer Park pool featured in an ad for a trailer manufacturer, Miami
NW 79th Street
Unless otherwise noted under the right bottom of the photo, all images are copyrighted by Don Boyd
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Robert Wilks, thank you so much for an outstanding comment with so many memories of what life was like at Bell Haven back in 1947-48. The park was a POW camp during World War II but I have yet to find any documentation or photos from the camp. You have a great memory as evidenced by your recall of names, places, things, events, etc. and I sure anyone who ever lived at Bell Haven will have their memories jogged a bit by your recollections. Thank you again, Robert.
I lived in the Bell Haven Trailer Park with my mom & stepfather (Nyla & Al Archer) during the winter of 1947-48. At that time, the south third of the park was a vacant field -- I used to play there. Once I found a live 30-06 round buried in the sand in that part. It was said that the park had been a prisoner of war camp during WW-II.
The pool was cold. Had to be emptied for cleaning occasionally; refilling took about three days. Coconut palms surrounded it; we took one home now and again. Stands of bamboo were close by. You can see the pool in Google Earth photos from 1994 (at Lat. 25.845, Lon. -80.251).
Park youngsters attended the Gladeview Elementary School (can't find it now, but it was SW, probably less than a mile since I walked to school over back roads). Once while walking across a field, I discovered air plants growing wild (big stuff for a 9 y.o.). The building seemed pretty new (5 y.o.?); a 2-story brick structure with outside hallway. Each classroom had a potbellied stove in the middle of the room. Every student was provided with a Tonette flute and the class learned to play music on them together.
There was an activity center building, where you could play bingo about once a week for 25¢. Sometimes they would show movies for 25¢ admission -- the Laural and Hardy's were my favorites.
We used a wash house south of the pool near the vacant part. There was a tree in front of it with leaves that would fold up every night and open again in the morning. Saw my first black widow spider in the shower room there -- the first of many.
Most of the residents were from the north. Also, there were some who followed the horses; photographers, owners, jockeys. It was a very friendly place. I recall a couple named Pool with a friendly boxer that I got to walk now and again.
There was a couple named Monk and her father. The father had come up with a system for beating the horses; Monk had sold his business and their house in Detroit and the three had moved to Bell Haven with intensions of living off the horses. Interesting story, too long to tell here, but suffice to say, it didn't work out as planned.
I also recall a pretty 12 y.o. redhead named Judy and her even prettier 10 y.o. brunet sister. Then there was another pretty named Diane Skidmore, who I met again when I attended Redford High School in Detroit. There were plenty of other kids, but it was a long time ago.
Some of our neighbors used to go deep-sea fishing every Saturday. They would bring home a huge canvas bag filled with fish to give away. At first my folks liked to get them; toward the end, they made it a point to be away when the bag arrived.
Most of the trailer lots were shaded by large southern pines. My stepfather built a large wooden deck beside our trailer. Also a picnic table and a storage box for toys & such. Then he attached a large awning to the trailer, it extended out over the entire deck. From then on, we lived outside on that deck most of the time. My folks also planted shrubs around it. I recall the wonderful scent of a night-blooming jasmine.
The trailers all had kitchens with sinks, but no bathrooms. The lots had no sewers; waste water was drained into a hole dug in the sand. You had to be careful not to discard fat with the water as that would foul up the drainage.
My stepfather had a nephew, Bud Schweir, who had been shot down over Burma (now Myanmar) during the war. He was recovering at a military hospital in Coral Gables. We'd visit him now and again. The road down was lined with Royal palms and it was gorgeous. Once we had lunch in their cafeteria. I was surprised to see a Japanese man working the grill; it was 1947 and he was wearing prison garb (black & white strips) -- I never understood that.
Lots of good memories from that year.
there is a facebook page now for us Belle Haven-ites.It's sparse but all are welcome to join and share stories.
Friends of bell haven miami,fl I believe it's called.
Thank you for posting with that news. I went by there a year or so ago and it was still vacant and I wondered to myself why they closed the park if they were just going to leave it as vacant land. I just pulled up Walmart locations in Miami and it was the #1 listing for Walmart and the address of the store is 3200 NW 79th Street. Weird!
I lived in bell haven in the late 80's. It wasn't a pretty as the pic here at the time but it was a fun place to live. Great memories there. Went by today because I heard they turned it in to a Walmart. I guess you can't go home again but you can shop there. All the landmarks I remembered were gone except for one of the main column at the entrance.
I lived in bell haven for years. Been trying to find old friends , like Richard Ackins , Sherry Wyer , and others if anyone knows or heard from them.
Well I'm really glad to hear that your hubby was able to reconnect with several of his friends, and I hope that others can reconnect too. I am all for people reconnecting after decades have passed by.
Ron, I haven't seen a photo of the Palm Lake trailer park yet but perhaps someday someone will contribute one and I will be glad to put it up on this site with a link to it posted in these comments.
Found this website by chance and have now connected my husband with several of his friends from his years living in Bell Haven. Had to do some web sleuthing, but we'll worth the effort. Thanks, Don Boyd, for getting me started. It's been great to hear them all reconnect.
I lived in Bell Haven from about 1951 to 1955 appro. Learned to swim there in the kiddy pool, then went to the big pool with the lion head. I thought that was something that I could go in the big pool. In the summer my hair was in braids and don't think they ever dried out from swimming so much. What memories. Best to all
Any chance someone has a photo of the Palm Lake trailer park?
it was just 1 block south of Bell Haven on 27 ave. and had a small lake with
a little bridge.Roy Yost was the owner.I had a friend named Billy Case, 1950.
Nice site - have to get the word out for more to come here. Still wondering where some of "us" have landed now later in life.
I lived in Bell Haven from 53 - 69,
This was a great place for a kid to grow up in, always something to do and someone to hang out with, the pool, rec hall, play grounds, and pot luck suppers.
Hi Glenda, I never shut it down but I ended up deleting a bunch of junior high comments that were thrown back and forth. The site has been up every day since the day I started it, but welcome back anyhow. I have some photos of Bell Haven on a map that I will post someday in the near future.
Hi, Boyd. I used to come to your site a few years ago and was very saddened when you had to shut it down because people were trash talking and putting each other down. Glad to see you are up and running again. I so love to see pics of old Miami and especially Bell Haven where I lived from '57 or so to '60. Glenda (Cox) Schulte
re: bell haven,Pokey Hull sent some of us an ariel view pic this week,kinda neat,i'd love to share it...how do I do that ?
some names that are popping into my head from WAY back then are : ron reik,mike nesbitt,kathy kunkle.Larry Swain the bullwhip guy,and his daughter Lynn,Mr Neal who was a mortican from Pa,he lived right near the pool,.Fran Grezsiak (sp).
mike cox here..again,forgot how to log in,etc. .anyway,several of us have qujite the email dialogue going right now about Bell Haven. some names I remember are: mike Nesbitt,Larry Swain the bullwhip guy,kathy kunkle,ron reik,Mr Neals the motician who lived right up by the pool.
was searching for some newpaper reports of it's demise,a very sad one as I recall.
I have GOT to chck back here mor often. thanks again for this page,Don
Yes, Guest, it is still active and I check it every day or every other day if I'm on a trip out of town. Thank you for posting. I have some more map images of Bell Haven to add; believe it or not I found a map with a sign that points to "Bell Haven" on it as if it were a big tourist attraction or something. I'll post it in the near future.
Is this page still active ? found it hiding in my favorites.
my name is mike cox,I lived in BH from about 1958-1961. Loved the pool,Mrs Troy taught me to swim for a fee.practically lived in it.Now the whole park is just a dirt spot according to google earth. I hear its' death throes was horrible. :(
OH my goodness!! This was the pool i learned to swim! My grandparents lived in the park and we stayed much of our time with them during the early 60s! Every summer there would be a 'pool show' starring all of us 'park kids'! Fun times and fun memories! Pat and Jo (the barber and his wife!) ... the Florecks (the preacher of the little church and his wife) ... and oh the cherries that used to line the back of the park! ~ Thanks for the memories!
The Bell Haven park was a POW camp during WW2. I was born at St Francis in '48, and the trailer park was my first home!
Robbin P. Learned
Pokey, and Dave Bruce, Kilroy, was not Here, But Robbin Was !!!!!!!! I Enjoyed Seeing a Picture of Your Belle Haven Pool, and I Must say; it Looked Real Nice, and I'm Sure it was very Refreshing in The Hot Summer !!!!!!! And Thanks, Don Boyd, for The Picture !!!!!! Best Regards, To All Of You !!!!!!!! Robbin.