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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 >> 1960 to 1969 Miami Area Historical Photos Gallery - click on image to view > 1963 - Palmetto Expressway at Bird Road (SW 40 Street) with Tropical Race Track at the top
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1963 - Palmetto Expressway at Bird Road (SW 40 Street) with Tropical Race Track at the top

1963 - Palmetto Expressway at Bird Road (SW 40 Street) with Tropical Race Track at the top

Dade County, Florida

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R. Sharps 02-Aug-2013 18:34
I was born in 1956 and I grew up on SW 37 Street between 83rd and 84th Avenues. Went to Little Bird Kindergarten, Banyan Elementary School, Rockway Jr. High, Southwest Sr. High, Miami Dade Community College and FIU. I remember when there wasn't anything beyond 97th Avenue on Bird Road. Finally left S. FL after 57 years due to employment. Boy, did I see some changes during those years.
Carol Franklin Frazier 03-Dec-2008 21:36
Jan Dupree, I think I remember you from Emerson. I lived on 83rd and 44th on the other side of 82nd ave. I think we went to each of our houses once. I believe you had blond hair. Thats all I remember, plus you lived at the end of a dirt road with a fence at the end and the race track on the other side of fence. We could hear the horse races and annoucer every weekend "and they're off".... I was born in 1956 also.
lmartin27-Jun-2008 18:10
Send an email to and I will send you some pictures of Circle C from the days at Tropical Park.
Jeff Jenkins 26-Jun-2008 20:24
Larry Martin,

Interesting. I was born in 1959, so I was quite young then. Marvin Gochenour was the Pastor then. I think he has retired now, though he was Pastor of First Baptist Church of Westwood Lake, as well as being in charge of Circle C Youth Ranch and Westwood Christian Schools (Elementary through High Schools---the Elementary School is at the church location, while the High School is at the Ranch location), for many years. When I worked at Circle C, there was roller skating, horseback riding, swimming, boat rides, hay rides, softball, and much more.
lmartin16-Jun-2008 21:13
Jeff Jenkins,
Circle C started at Tropical Park in the mid 60's. It moved to the present location just off Sunset and 120th Ave. in 1968 or 69 as I recall with just 2 buildings. This was way out in those days. The Rev's house was there as well so he could keep a close eye on all of us.
Larry Martin
Jeff Jenkins 09-Jun-2008 23:06
Larry Martin,

No, I never knew Circle C was at Tropical Park, even though I lived only several blocks from Tropical Park. I worked at Circle C in the early and mid 80's.
Larry 07-May-2008 00:14
Just wanted to say that i was not a native but I loved the Bird Road neighborhood
Jan Dupree 25-Dec-2007 03:47
Mary Pent, You said you used to work at the Guaranty Bank on 82 ave. and Bird. Remember when there was a huge strawberry field right next to it. I used to ride my go-cart in the parking lot of the bank in the early 60s. The Shell station that was across the street is now gone. It is just an empty lot the last time I was down there. Bird Road is nothing but shopping centers 2 and 3 rows deep, solid for miles. I lived on 44th. street which was a dead end street at 82nd. ave. 82nd. ave runs all the way to Miller road now for 2 years. The whole neighborhood is ruined. All of this is due to the total corruption and incompetence in the county government of Dade.
Jan Dupree 25-Dec-2007 03:08
I was born in Miami and moved to 44th. street and 82nd. ave. when I was 4 years old in 1956. My parents still have the house which is located at the very top of this picture. I remember walking around Lake Catalina when there were no houses on
it. We used to swim in the Lakes on Miller Rd. which are now part of Tropical Park, and the Twin Island Lake which now has houses on it. There was a Khoury League baseball field to the right of this picture where I played all through elementary school at Emerson. It is now all slum housing and cheap shopping center. Very congested. I later moved to west Kendall which is now even worse. In 2002 I moved to Lakeland Fl. But return to Miami all the time. The standard of living is dropping in Lakeland and all over Florida is going down the tubes fast. I also remember when there was no Palmetto expressway. I think this did more damage to Miami than anything except the people that did not belong here.
lmartin18-Dec-2007 19:04
Jeff Jenkins,
You mentioned Circle C. Did you ever go there when it was located at Tropical Park before moving to the present location off of Sunset and 120th Ave? Few people remember the old days of Circle C but they used Tropical Park facilities during the summer off-season where we stayed in the old worker quarters that were between the stables. These are still there but have been converted to restrooms now.
Larry Martin
Ray26-Oct-2007 01:49
Very possible we worked the same Haunted Houses... I don't remember the exact years, but mid-1970s. I remember the orange Handic CB radios we carried around. Worked great until the special effects guys fired up the sparks. Massive Jacobs ladders meant nothing but static on our radios. I was in Dade County REACT back then, that's why we did communication work for HH, March of Dimes Walk (when it went from the Orange Bowl around UM and back) and the Youth Fair.

I WISH I had taken pics back then. I was taking photography in 7 and 8th grades, so I could have done b&w for free. We went exploring all around tropical park, including the back area that was even more abandoned.

I grew up in Perrine, then moved to the Gables, near Red and Bird at 12. GW Carver, Ponce, St. John Vianney, St. Brendan High.

Bill 24-Oct-2007 02:06
I too worked at the haunted house and absolutely loved exploring the abandoned track. (Ray your story sounds very familiar.) Those are some of my fondest Miami memories. I still have pictures I took in 1976/77 before they razed the clubhouse and renovated the grandstand. Even in its vandalized state, the track had its 1930s charm. The arches in the bottom floor of the clubhouse made quite an impression. Now I understand it is all gone.

Anyway I grew up near 32nd St and 94th Ave. Attended St. Brendan’s, Rockway Jr High & Coral Park. Both brothers went to Columbus. I left Miami in 1979 for UF, then the Navy and I now live outside of Tampa. I can’t believe 30 years has past!
Ray 17-Oct-2007 02:12
Some memories of Tropical Park after its peak... I would help with radio communications during a Haunted House that was held there. The old clubhouse building was scary enough on a good day.

Late one night a few friends of mine and I went exploring. We ended up on the roof of the grandstand, the long building right at the top edge of this picture. At one point I stopped. If I had gone forward another 3 feet I would have fallen through a hole in the roof and would have landed on the the seats at least 50 feet below.

I also remember exploring the building inside the track that faced the grandstands. That's where they showed the race results. This was many years after the track had closed and the building was quite overgrown. I remember seeing what was left of all the light bulbs that made up the electric numbers.

The strip between the back stretch and the Palmetto is used every year for Santa's Enchanted Forest. Some parts of the old track facility are still visible inside Tropical Park if you look around. To me as a kid, it was a lot more fun when it was abandoned.
Juan R. Pollo 11-Oct-2007 08:45
To the old-timers from this area, where was Lost Lake?
Guest 07-Oct-2007 13:41
I you look in the lower right of this picture, you will see a serpentine track. That was a go-kart track whose name escapes me, but there are still remnants of t behind the Texaco station that is there today. I spent my 13th birthday (April 1963) on a day pass on that track.
Jeff Jenkins 08-Sep-2007 22:09
I grew up at 7420 SW 38 St. Went to Emerson Elementary, West Miami Jr. High,
and South Miami Sr. High (about a year or so after it opened, I think). Used
to go to Bird Bowl sometimes. Though I wasn't a member there and never attended
any services there, I would stop by Olympia Heights Methodist Church to pray,
when they had a chapel room that was open 24 hours a day. I taught for 1 year
at Westwood Lake School, and worked 2 summers as a camp counselor at Circle C
Youth Ranch. Went to Venetian Pool a couple times, as well as Matheson Hammock
and Crandon Park. Played tennis at Tropical Park. Used to walk my dog when
Douglas E. Barnes Park used to be called Bird Drive Park. Graduated High School
in 1977. Roberta, you mentioned Dr. Weiss, and I think I went to him once.
I used to love the soda fountain at Bird Drugs, though I only went a couple times.
Now I live in Central Florida.
Jeff Jenkins 08-Sep-2007 21:57
I grew up just 2 blocks from here. Now I've moved away from Miami.
Roberta Perry Hughes 22-Aug-2007 05:19
Just got the most AWESOME linen color postcard, dated 1946, of this racetrack, off of the eBay site called "vintage Florida."
See my earlier posting, below, as to where I lived, & my memories of this particula area.
I have obtained many vintage Florida souvenirs & memorabilia, off of that eBay site, including amazing never-worn silk screened map of Florida souvenir scarves, & silk fringed souvenir pillow cases, vintage City maps of Miami, & Florida maps, from the old service stations that used to give them away, to motorists who asked for one, decades before Disney & Co. invaded our state, & ruined it.
I visit here, everyday, & hope I can find former schoolmates, neighbohood kids, & members of Brownie Scout Troop 580.
Jon Sattler 17-Jul-2007 22:22
Where did you get this one? I used to live about 5 blocks north of here, right on the expressway, 7590 sw 37 st. This is a particularly heart warming shot because before they finished the expressway, the area that looks like a dark oval just east of the expressway and south of bird road, was actually a lake. No idea what it is now. But we used to sneak down under the cloak of night and go skinny dipping in that lake!!!!! What a great memory.
Roberta Perry Hughes 04-Jul-2007 18:47
OOOPS! Forgot to leave my e-mail address! Read my comments below, & if you were in school with me, or you knew my older brother, Willie (aka, Bill), or my older sister, Audrey, who graduated class of 1960 from Southwest High, or, you were in my Brownie Troop 580, please e-mail me, as I would love to hear from you! Thanks!
Several girls in my Brownie Troop took dance lessons from Gwen's School of Dance, which was a small hole-in-the-wall studio, wide open inside, with mirrored walls & the long barre mounted on the wall. I came in there a time or two, just to watch. It was located on, or near...adjacent to the strip of stores?...Bird Road. Seems like it was behind Bird Drugs (?).
Perhaps this mention of Gwen's School of Dance will bring back memories for some, who lived in the S.W. section of 1950's Miami.
Have a terrific & safe 4th, everyone!
Don Boyd26-Jun-2007 04:38
Thanks for your comments and perspective, Gaby. So much history has disappeared from this area due to redevelopment and it's going to get worse as time goes by. Don
Guest 26-Jun-2007 01:04
Don, I am thoroughly enjoying all your pictures. I am 25 years old, and even though none of the pictures can bring back memories, they are very interesting. I have always loved learning about the history of the city I was born in, and call home, but it's always been very difficult to find historic Miami photos. I moved to West Kendall (Lakes of the Meadow) with my family when I was 4 years old, and I remember the first drive to the new house. Bird Road was just a 2-line road with nothing but fields out there. Now, there isn't an empty plot of land anywhere!! Thanks so much for displaying these pictures on your site, and keep up the good work!!
Mary E. Pent 22-Jun-2007 18:54
I lived and worked down the street. Lived 92nd ave. and 36th street, from 1957 to 1972. Worked at Guarenty Bank on Bird Rd. from 1964 to 1972. Before that, I worked at Florida National Bank of Coral Gables. from 1958 to 1964. Therefore I drove down Bird twice a day pass the Race track. In the season, that's traffic, real bumper to bumper. Then I started using Coral Way, much better. What a town.
Roberta (Perry) Hughes 11-Jun-2007 23:36
Lived @ 9985 S.W. 55th St. 1951-1961. Brownie Troop 580. Olympia Heights Elem., Tropical Elem., Blue Lakes Elem., Riviera Jr. High. Only 1 cousin still down there. Sister, Audrey, graduated Southwest High in 1960. We hung out @ Sunland Skating Rink & Bird Bowl, The Venetian Pool.atheson Hammack Beach, Tahiti Beach, & Crandon Park. Shared cheery Cokes @ soda fountain in Bird Drugs. Dr. Burley's office was in that same strip, as was Dr. Denker, dentist, & Dr. Weiss, optometrist.
Tasty Freeze was by itself, on the end, next to Pearl Furniture. Shopped @ Food Fair, Goody's Shoes, & the Five & Dime, & a toy store in the same strip as Bird Drugs.
Rode Schwinn Spitfire bikes & Rollfast roller skates. Drew hopscotches is 55th St. & played marbles & jumprope on the side of the road. Would love to hear from former school chums & Brownie Troop 580 members. Thanks for an awesome & nostalgic site! I visit here everyday. I left my heart in Miami, when we moved away in 1961.
Guest 18-May-2007 18:00
I grew up down the road from here!!! 3824 SW 91st Ave!!!Great looking at the looking at the old pictures!!
Kay Parrish...went Olympia Heights and Rockway Jr High before moving to Georgia. Email