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Don Boyd | all galleries >> Memories of Old Hialeah, Old Miami and Old South Florida Photo Galleries - largest non-Facebook collection on the internet >> DOWNTOWN Miami, Bayfront Park and Port of Miami Historical Photos Gallery - All Years - click on image to view > 1962 - Downtown Miami with Dade County Courthouse and Industrial National Bank on Flagler Street
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1962 - Downtown Miami with Dade County Courthouse and Industrial National Bank on Flagler Street

1962 - Downtown Miami with Dade County Courthouse and Industrial National Bank on Flagler Street

Downtown Miami, Florida

View is looking northeast. Flagler Street is one-way eastbound at the time of this photo, and changed numerous times since to one-way westbound for many years, both directions, etc. Note the new construction south of the courthouse on Flagler Street. Industrial National Bank is to the east of the courthouse and I believe it was later named City National Bank. There is a billboard on top of the roof of the building between the courthouse and Industrial National Bank advertising "Richards, your friendly store" and "Turn here for Richards" with an arrow pointing to the left.

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Richard Lawhorn 07-Jan-2017 05:56
Sure do and if anyone is interested that was a University Sound B-24 Super Power Speaker. The company claimed it was the loudest speaker in the world back then. It was a brand new design when the county had it placed on top of the court house. Have a close up shot of it taken in 1952 by Bill Kuenzel of the Miami Herald with a maintenance worker standing at the very top next to it, currently working on getting the picture added to this site.
Sure would like to hear from anyone or building workers that know anything about the old siren??
richardlawhorn (at) juno dot com
Adam Pollak 18-Apr-2015 02:32
Richard, you have one of the actual old Dade County sirens or a similar one from elsewhere? I don't know if you'll see this, but you can contact me at wustladam (at) gmail dot com
richard lawhorn 19-Apr-2013 00:09
Does anyone remember what kind of sound the Dade county court house siren made?
Really would like to find out because I have one of these old sirens.
Ana 10-Sep-2012 03:31
My 82 year old mom just informed me that we were processed as refugees at a place she called
Cielito Lindo. In reading the old posts I now know she was talking about the courthouse. She remembers it being a tall building. Thank you all for helping me connect the dots.
Guest 31-Jul-2012 17:11
I also went to the movies on Saturdays back then.I remember the sirens also.And all the pigeons at the courthouse.
Alb 05-Nov-2009 01:47
Isn't the courthouse where the air raid siren was or is? When I was a kid in the 50s and 60s I would go downtown on Saturday mornings to see a movie. The shows used to end about 1 PM. As I walked home past the courthouse the siren would go off for its weekly test and I would jump about 2 feet. I could never remember that Saturday at about 1 PM be ready for the test. I was a really dumb kid.
Jan Williamson 31-May-2008 01:24
I used to have cases in small claims court - about 10 every two weeks-I remember a baliff named Wayne...before he called the calendar, every time he would say."Okay people, listen up, I am going to call the calendar..." it is really funny the things we remember that was 30 years ago...
Guest 03-May-2008 04:44
There was absolutely a jail at the top of the courthouse and my father (who knew the sheriff in the early 50's) took me there as a small child to show me that I better behave. HA Speaking of behaving, my grandmother took me occasionally to church downtown (St. Gesu) and IF I behaved myself, we would go to a movie and lunch at Burdines where I would order the ice cream clown. Someone mentioned the Burdine's rooftop carnival. My brother and I used to save our money to go on rides there. It was a big deal.

My favorite movie theatre downtown was the beautiful "Olympia Theatre." Does anyone else but me recall that they had vaudeville at the Olympia before movies? I was quite small when it ended but my same grandmother took me to a show and told me to "remember this because it is the last of vaudeville," so I did.

PS For decades zoning wouldn't allow buildings to be built any taller than the Dade County Courthouse. Now look at Miami. It does have a beautiful skyline.
K. Blanton 22-Feb-2008 19:09
Hey Judge Fierro:

You must be talking about my Grandfather, Judge W.F. Blanton. he was the county Judge for 50 years. When he died in 1969 Gov. Kirk appointed my father, John R. Blanton. He had been a Civil Court of Record Judge since 1955 when the Gov. appointed him. He served for 25 years till 1980 when he retired to Franklin, N.C. Did you know both of them ? My father worked on the 6th floor & Grandaddy worked on the 3rd floor.
Judge Gene Fierro 31-Jan-2008 20:17
The Turkey Buzzards still show up every year to roost on the ledges- Years after the jail was eliminated--( and sometime in the 50's) the top floor was used to store emergency food provions for years. We were in the middle of the "cold war" at the time. Judge Blanton was one of only a handfull of Judges, now we have in excess of 100.
as a young lawyerI had my first trial here in the 6th floor courtroom never realizing that 30 years later , I'd be a Judge presiding in the same building .
Ray27-Dec-2007 00:01
This morning on MDTV, the TV channel by Miami Dade that you can see on Cable, they had a 'Rewind' program. These are old year-in-review programs produced by WTVJ. Ralph Renick was the host. One of the stories of 1953 was someone had escaped from the jail. They had video, sorry, FILM, of the side of the building. The bad guy had used mattress covers tied end to end to drop down. From where they started, it appears he left the building at a much lower floor than the stepped steeple.

In the 1970s, during High School, my Focus group got a tour of the building. The Jail was long closed, but we did get to see the basement. I remember an odd hump in the center of the building where the access ramps met. The architecture was beautiful. I just wish I had taken photos back then as much as I do now.

One thing I thought odd was the restrooms were very small, and had multiple steps in and out. As I remember, they had old fixtures and black and white tile. I'm sure they're long gone in this world of ADA.

Being a radio type, I see the antennas on the roof in this picture. There were many more. For many years, this was the highest radio site for the County. Coral Gables had the Biltmore as their radio site. When the County Admin building was built, I think the building was abandoned for radio. The antennas are gone.

Juan R. Pollo 25-Nov-2007 23:37
Here's some insider info: the courthouse building is known among Cubans (at least the ones who came in the 60's and 70's) as Cielito Lindo, supposedly because that's all the prisoners could see through the windows (cielito lindo stands for pretty little sky)
Jeff Jenkins 08-Sep-2007 21:50
I've done jury duty at the Dade County Courthouse in the past.
Guest 01-Jul-2007 18:38
Burdine's had a ride carnival on their rooftop during Christmas season (a "must do" for kids). Looking at it now - I wonder how they fit all that stuff, including a large Ferris Wheel that provided a rare elevated view of the area. My Mom was a fan of Richard's, especially their "Bargain Basement". If we kids behaved well, we got Royal Castle Burgers with frosted mug Birch Beers after shopping was done. There were many things about old Miami that I loved.
Don Boyd03-Jun-2007 15:25
You are correct Brenda, good memory. There was a jail section on the top floors for many years. I remember reading about prisoners escaping from there every once in a while by climbing down on bedsheets tied together. Don
Guest 03-Jun-2007 07:05
I worked in the courthouse from 1959-1962. I believe there was a jail in the top part of the building.
Don Boyd28-May-2007 14:09
Good point, I failed to mention that. Don
Paul Bennett 28-May-2007 11:57
looks like the federal building site was cleared for construction start directly across from the courthouse.