Some memories of Miami and Dade County in the 50's, 60's and 70's. You know you grew up in old Miami or Dade County if you remember:
The Dade County Courthouse was the tallest building in the county
The beautiful marble Miami Public Library was in Bayfront Park east of Biscayne Boulevard. It was later torn down as a sign of "progress."
Shopping at night in downtown Miami because the stores stayed open late certain nights of the week and shopping centers and malls weren't developed in the suburbs yet. Civic leaders are still working to make downtown more viable at night, which they haven't seen since the 50s and 60s.
Going to movies in downtown Miami day or night because it was safe to go downtown and there were several theatres on Flagler Street.
Shopping in the Little River area because the Northside Shopping Center hadn't opened yet for folks in the north end of the county.
The county's bus system being owned by the Pawley family with blacks required to ride in the back of the buses for decades. Dade County eventually bought the bus line from the family, along with the Beach and Gables bus systems and gave us a consolidated bus system.
The Biscayne Dog Track next to I-95, west of Barry College (now University)
Amelia Earhart Field (former Miami Municipal Airport) on LeJeune Road http://www.pbase.com/airlinerphotos/airports_oldmiami
Air shows at the Naval Air Station and Marine Corps Air Station Miami (Masters Field) on NW 27th Avenue http://www.pbase.com/airlinerphotos/airports_oldmiami
The North Campus of Dade County, later Miami-Dade, Junior College being built on Masters Field http://www.pbase.com/airlinerphotos/image/65248320, former part of Naval Air Station Miami and Marine Corps Air Station Miami, on NW 27th Avenue and 110th Street - we parked on old taxiways in certain areas of the campus. Some of the classes were held in old rectangular barracks north of Scott Hall in the mid-60's. http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/80953850
The Miami Beach Dog Track located at the southern tip of Miami Beach.
The Tropical Park horse racing track that had the early winter racing dates.
Hialeah Race Track that had the prime winter racing dates and was packed with tourists every day it was open.
The Colosseum on Douglas Road - I remember it as a large bowling alley and a skating rink but it served other purposes during its life.
The air raid sirens that went off county wide every Saturday at noon or 1pm to make sure they worked
The Army Corps of Engineers federal property along Government Cut on the south tip of Miami Beach which somehow ended up with the city and then condo developers instead of becoming a public park
Mr. Bill "Miami Snakeman" Haast and the Miami Serpentarium that operated from 1948 until 1984 at US1 and SW 126th Street. He is now 95 years old, still working with snakes and lives in Punta Gorda, FL
The large Aviation Building east of Miami International Airport on NW 27th Avenue - Embry-Riddle had classrooms there among other companies - photo at http://upload.pbase.com/image/78548931
The 36th Street Airport before most of the airlines moved to the new 20th Street Terminal in 1959. Old photos are located on our aviation site at: http://www.pbase.com/airlinerphotos/airports_mia
The crossing arms on LeJeune Road that blocked vehicle traffic while National Airlines propeller aircraft taxied to or from their maintenance hangar (now Baker Aviation School) on the east side of LeJeune Road
The public observation decks on top of every concourse at Miami International Airport with the 10 cent turnstiles that most of us hopped over without getting caught
The Beatles arriving at Miami International Airport to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show and vacation in the area: http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/56288894
The original Tamiami Airport out in the boonies on SW 8th Street - now FIU - this county's colleges (MDC and FIU) would have been in deep doo-doo if not for airports being given up
It seemed like half the town worked for Eastern Air Lines, National Airlines or Pan American World Airways
The William B. Singer Expressway (designated by the Florida Legislature), more commonly known as I-95 starting and ending at NW 29th Street northward. A December 1963 aerial photo of the temporary NW 29th Street entrance/exit is at: http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/105176277 . I-95 was the third expressway to fully open in Dade County, following the Sunshine State Parkway opening in 1957 and the Palmetto Bypass which opened in 1962. The first I-95 segment opened in December 1961 and ran from NW 29th Street to NW 95th Street with work on the Airport Expressway and the interchange with I-95 occurring at the same time. The next segment to open was in 1964 when the NW 95th Street to State Road 84 in Broward opened along with the Golden Glades Interchange, except for a four lane stretch near Ives Dairy Estates that had a red light and grade level intersection. Also in 1964 plans were finalized for I-95's path through downtown Miami with two new spur routes, Interstate 395 from I-95 to the entrance to MacArthur Causeway, and Florida 970, the downtown distributor. Also thrown into the plans was the addition of the East-West Expressway (SR 836) which would run from I-395/I-95 west. The I-95 segment from NW 29th Street to NW 20th Street was completed and opened in 1968.
The segment from I-95's planned southern terminus at U.S. 1 to Flagler Street was also completed in in the 1968 time frame. The Flagler Street to NW 20th Street segment started construction in 1968, along with I-395, Florida 970 and East-West Expressway (SR 836). The Flagler Street to NW 20th Street segment finally opened in late 1969, allowing travelers to finally drive from US1 to the Golden Glades interchange and points north without stopping for the first time. The final construction project on the original I-95 was the new interchange at Ives Dairy Road which started in 1969.
NW 36th Street was the major east-west highway until the Airport Expressway was built, with a 10 cent toll on the Airport Expressway - a photo of the expressway under construction is at http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/77365622
The traffic circle just south of the Sears store on Biscayne Boulevard and the giant Coppertone billboard on the southeast portion of that circle with the motorized moving black dog pulling down the girl's bathing suit bottom - a Coppertone ad is at http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/77098090
The Miami News, Miami's great Pulitzer Prize winning afternoon newspaper published by Cox Newspapers. Subscription costs in the 60's were 5 cents daily and 15 cents on Sundays - originally in the Tower on Biscayne Boulevard (Freedom Tower) and later moved to a new building on the Miami River and NW 7th Street. They gave The Miami Herald some much needed competition.
Coconut Grove was full of hippies, artists, braless ladies and a lot of pot
Flamingo Park full of hippies and protestors during both the 1972 Democratic and Republican national conventions on Miami Beach, with nudity almost every night in the large pool
The annual Youth Fair being held way out in the boonies on Kendall Drive
"Kendall" meant the countywide juvenile detention center where the bad kids went when convicted of crimes - the really bad asses went there. Kendall also had a Children's Home where non-delinquent dependent children lived.
The Miami Marlins playing at the Miami Baseball Stadium off NW 7th Avenue
Fishing all over the place and catch brim, bass, gar (ugh!), catfish, etc. in canals and waterways. We used to go west between the Snake Creek Canal in North Dade/South Broward and the mountain of fill they excavated while digging the canal to a point where the Everglades drained into it and there were rapids there, along with plenty of rattlesnakes.
Regal Beer and Blatz Beer breweries in NW Miami - both were awful but they were cheap
The Rickenbacker Causeway had a drawbridge and a toll of 25 cents at the entrance to the causeway
The Miami Marine Stadium on Rickenbacker where you could watch hydroplane races or rock concerts
The cabanas you could rent daily at Crandon Park
The deserted undeveloped beaches south of Crandon Park on Key Biscayne where you could walk with your girl, park a blanket and make out for hours on a weekend day without seeing anyone coming by to interrupt the passions
The Crandon Park Zoo - I donated my three wild iguanas to their iguana island upon orders of the Hialeah Police who were fed up with hysterical calls from my neighbor ladies (Pat Fargason for one)
The amusement park at Crandon Park with the miniature train ride around the park for 10 cents
Beautiful Greynolds Park being full of young teens on weekends in the 60's and hippies in the 70's - great hippie chick memories forever! Some were truly beautiful.
The Ferris Wheel on top of Burdines downtown
The great ice cream at the Jordan Marsh department store restaurant (Gulfstream?) on Biscayne Boulevard
The opening of Dadeland Shopping Center with a grocery store (Food Fair, later Grand Union) on the north side just west of Burdines. It was enclosed and air-conditioned years later.
The Barefoot Mailman store at Dadeland, full of fun and unusual items and objects
The opening of the 163rd Street Shopping Center, an open area mall, to become air-conditioned decades later with a fabric roof http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/80670007
The opening of Hollywood Mall, the first totally air-conditioned enclosed mall in South Florida, on Hollywood Boulevard a few blocks west of I-95
Shopping in the Little River area until the Northside Shopping Center open air mall opened at NW 27th Avenue and 79th Street
The Rosetta Theatre on NE 2nd Avenue in Little River that had cheap matinees for kids during the summer, especially for those belonging to their Summer Movie Club.
The Shores Theatre was further north from the Rosetta on the same road (NE 2nd Avenue)
The Tower Theatre and Trail Theatre on S. W. 8th Street.
The Wometco 163rd Street Theatre, first twin indoor theatre adjacent to the 163rd Street Shopping Center. http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/80670007
The Golden Glades twin drive-in theatre next to the east-west Palmetto, which almost caused wrecks when risque scenes were being shown on the huge screens.
The downtown theatres, namely The Florida, Miami, and Olympia (now Gusman Hall)
The A&P Supermarket on NW 62nd Street just east of Hialeah
The Food Fair supermarket chain, with Merchants Green Stamps given for every 10 cents of purchases - a photo of a Food Fair is at http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/77972767
The Grand Union and Kwik Chek (now Winn-Dixie) supermarkets
The Zayre's and Grandway discount department stores - a photo of a Zayre's is at http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/78425559
The Luskins High Fidelity stores where low prices prevailed like Brandsmart today
The Midway Mall on the Palmetto at Flagler Street
The Lindsley Lumber and Renuart Lumber stores - photo of a Lindsley store is at http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/78420247
Johnny & Mack by the railroad track, the world's finest and that's a fact
An advertisement on billboards and TV for weeks that showed a mountain and an exclamation that "A Mountain is coming to Miami" that had us wondering where it would be. It turned out that the ad was for Folger's Coffee (mountain grown) that was being introduced to area supermarkets.
The Tyler's restaurants in several Miami locations in the 50's - we used to eat at one on NW 36th Street just west of NW 7th Avenue and they had a superb key lime pudding/bisque for dessert that only Jon's Steak House in Hialeah ever matched for deliciousness - everything else pales in comparison, especially the restaurants that have the awful green key lime desserts
The Painted Horse all you can eat restaurant just north of Miami Shores at 11495 Biscayne Boulevard where it was 99 cents for all you can eat and 49 cents for kids. A scan of their old ad from the 50s is at http://upload.pbase.com/update_image?id=81848643
The Jahn's Ice Cream Parlors - one on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables and one on A1A in Sunny Isles - a great place for taking your girl on a date, especially if she liked ice cream sundaes. A photo of the one at Sunny Isles is at http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/78477887
The Royal Castle chain of restaurants with minimum seating at the counter and no table seating until later years - hamburgers with fried onions on top were 15 cents, birch beer in a frosted mug was 5 cents and then 7 cents, and the glazed honeybuns were delicious - photos of one at NW 27 Avenue and 79th Street are at http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/78480232 and http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/78481232
The Burger King chain starting in Miami on NW 36th Street east of Miami International Airport - a photo of an early Burger King is at http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/78393796
The Lums restaurant chain, home of the hot dogs steamed in beer with sauerkraut and frosted schooners of beer (one still exists in Davie with all the original menu items) - a photo of one on 79th Street is at http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/78483310
The Dressels Dairy bar on Milam Dairy Road west of the airport where you could buy ice cream, milk shakes, etc. and the kids could pet barnyard animals on the huge front lawn, all while watching aircraft going overhead either landing or taking off from MIA to the east
The Blackbelt Dairy
Sir William's Pub restaurant next to 836 at Milam Dairy Road (later became The Spirit restaurant)
Holsum Bakeries on US1 that emitted delicious aromas of bread being baked
The Hot Shoppes and Jimmy's Hurricane restaurants - a photo of Jimmy's Hurricane is at http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/76912924
Grentner's Restaurant - he later operated Grentner's Barbeque on NW 36 Street north of MIA
The Big Daddy's 747 Lounge on Royal Poinciana Boulevard in Miami Springs, just west of LeJeune Road
The Black Caesar's Forge restaurant
The Yorkshire Inn on Bird Road
The The English Pub / Jamaican Inn on Key Biscayne
The Studio restaurant
The My Apartment restaurant at the Miami Springs Villas complex on NW 36th Street
The Chesapeake seafood restaurant on the Miami River at NW North River Drive and 36th Street.
The Red Diamond Italian restaurant on LeJeune Road serving great Italian food - see http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/76912946
Wolfie's Restaurant at 21st and Collins and a second location in North Miami Beach
Pumpernik's Restaurant on Miami Beach
Marcella's Italian Restaurant in North Miami and later Hollywood - great ads on late night TV in the early 70's
Jackie Gleason's chain of restaurants - good food and service but the chain died
Television entertainer Jackie Gleason building a large home at the Country Club of Miami in NW Dade County and later moving to Inverrary
1956 hot spots: Top O' The Columbus at the Columbus Hotel, 312 NE 1st Street, Miami, Bamboo Room at the Roney Plaza, 23rd and Collins, Carnival Room at the Americana Hotel in Bal Harbour, Pagoda at the Saxony Hotel, 3201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, La Ronde at the Fontainebleau, Blue Sails at the Sans Souci, 3101 Collins Avenue, Pompeii Cafe at the Eden Roc Hotel, and the Aladdin Room at the Algiers Hotel. The popular 1956 strip joints were Pigalle at 215 22nd Street, Miami Beach, Life Bar at 134 5th Street, Miami Beach, Five O'Clock Club at 2002 Collins, Miami Beach, Harem Club at 636 Collins Avenue, Gaiety Club at 7800 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, and the Jungle Club at 3690 NW 36th Street, Miami. Popular bars in 1956 were Bonfire at 1700 79th Street Causeway, Murray Franklin's at 23rd Street and the ocean, Miami Beach, Malayan Lounge at 1810 79th Street Causeway, Bar of Music at 427 22nd Street, Miami Beach, Black Magic Room at 1335 79th Street Causeway, and the Black Orchid at 1601 79th Street Causeway.
WQAM-AM 560 Tiger Radio having a 60+% market share of all radio stations in South Florida, with disk jockeys Jim Dunlap, Rick Shaw, Lee Sherwood, Charlie Murdock, Roby Yonge, Ted Clark, etc. Alan Courtney had a talk show on at night which annoyed the music listeners. Rick Shaw always closed his evening show with Ray Peterson's version of "Goodnight My Love"
The WQAM Tiger in a Mustang that roamed around town, driven by different disk jockeys, awarding prizes to people in cars in front of them if they were listening to WQAM. A great WQAM nostalgia site is located at http://www.560.com/wqam.html with old jingles, etc.
WCKR-AM 610 played rock at night for a while - it later turned into WIOD-AM "Wonderful Isle of Dreams" playing tamer music
WFUN-AM 790 Fun Radio, WQAM's main competitor - not my favorite
WAMI-AM Whammy Radio - limited to broadcasting rock from sunrise to sunset - their broadcast tower was east of the Palmetto in a remote field in West Hialeah - I got to push the button taking them off the air at sunset a few times because I delivered The Miami News to the station engineers there
Steve Alaimo, a local rock and roll singer with national hit records - sang frequently at dances held at Hialeah Municipal Auditorium
"The Place" on the west side of NW 7th Avenue near North Miami where teens went to dance to music performed by local and visiting rock and roll bands. The Clefs of Lavender Hill, a North Miami group with a national hit called "Stop! Get a Ticket", often played there.
The Castaways Resort on A1A south of Sunny Isles being a wild and crazy place with the famous "Wreck Bar" and go-go dancers, with numerous TV ads on late night TV
The Newport Beach Hotel on A1A and Sunny Isles Boulevard having a wild reputation and hosting various nationally known rock and roll groups - the owner's son was in my USCG Reserve unit
The Barn in North Bay Village with Wayne Cochran
The Rhodes Brothers performing at the Miami Merchandise Mart for years
Alabama Jacks on Card Sound Road, especially when it was owned by Rose
Sunday wet t-shirt contests at the Unwinder Hotel at Jewfish Creek
Rock concerts at Miami Jai-Alai Fronton, the Miami Marine Stadium and the Miami Baseball Stadium, along with the Orange Bowl and the Sportatorium way out in the Everglades on Hollywood Boulevard (now in the city of Pembroke Pines)
The Pirates World amusement park up in Dania
The Funland amusement park (50's) near the southwest corner of NW 79th Street and 27th Avenue where the "Wild Mouse" roller coaster was the scariest ride there. The popular Frank n Bun Drive-In was located closer to the same corner.
The Polar Palace ice skating rink on the south side of NW 36th Street near Miami Jai-Alai east of NW North River Drive.
The first Playboy Club in Miami on the canal east of Biscayne Boulevard, just south of the Pussycat Theatre. That Playboy Club moved to LeJeune Road in the Miami Airport Inn, a hotel that was somehow approved (money talks, reason walks) despite its height and location under the approach to runway 27-left at Miami International Airport. There was also a Playboy Club in the Playboy Plaza (name correct?) Hotel at 5445 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach. The hotel lobby and bar area were beautiful. The club was located in the basement area of the hotel.
The Bowlerama bowling establishment at NW 2nd Avenue and 79th Street
The 79th Street Art Theatre, one of the few adult movie theatres in the county
The nudist camp on NW 27th Avenue across from the Pizza Palace in Carol City that was featured in a couple of movies
The hundreds of young beautiful flight attendants who used to live in apartment houses in Miami Springs, especially along Royal Poinciana Boulevard, in the 60's and 70's. Airline regulations at the time required that they quit if they married, got pregnant or failed to meet weight standards, so the turnover was high every five years or so.
St. Mary's Church at NW 2nd Avenue and 75th Street before it became a cathedral in the mid-1950's.
The 2-story parking garage at the Miami Beach Dog Track that allowed ample parking for all the teens going to South Beach between the Lummus Park fishing pier and Government Cut - that was South Beach at the time - somehow South Beach is now all over the place
The surfing craze in the 60's with surfboard sales, repair and rental shops along Ocean Drive across from Lummus Park
The bagel bakery in the same stretch as the Ocean Drive surfboard shops selling freshly baked bagels for 5 cents each
Holy Joe, a character who roamed South Beach trying to redeem us on the beach with his preachings
The residents of South Beach being older than the buildings, with a lot of them spending their days sitting in chairs in front of their apartment houses watching people walk by
The closest county bus stop on South Beach was at 5th Street and Washington, requiring a lengthy hike to and from the beach south of the fishing pier
Miami Beach being totally clogged with a ton of tourists during winter months, with big name entertainment acts appearing at the Fontainebleu, Edec Roc and other big hotels every week
Miami Beach being a ghost town during summer months with some hotels closing during the summer due to the lack of visitors due to the heat and humidity
The Naval Air Station, and later Marine Corps Air Station Miami at Master's Field on NW 27th Avenue - now Miami-Dade College North Campus
The sea of military troops camped out in tents on the south side of Opa-locka Airport from LeJeune Road to Red Road during the Cuban Missile Crisis and hundreds of trains bringing in tons of military vehicles and personnel
The Hawk and Nike missile bases set up all over Dade County in the event of a war with Cuba. We drove out to one in the boonies of Carol City and spoke to Army soldiers through the barbed wire fence on weekend afternoons - as long as you had a girl or two with you they would talk about everything
The Bay of Pigs aircraft (A-26's) taking off from Opa-locka Airport on training missions
The missile base command post west of Red Road and north of NW 186th Street (now a Naval/Marine Corps Reserve training center)
The Nike missile base in south Broward (now Miramar) just north of the county line and east of Flamingo Road. It will now become a Florida Army National Guard training center.
The Coast Guard amphibious aircraft operating in the bay next to their base at Dinner Key prior to their move to Opa-locka Airport in the early 60's