These are some of my memories of Hialeah in the late 1950's, 60's and 70's. Please feel free to leave yours in the comments since I can't remember everything due to Heineken-damaged memory cells. There is a theory, that I saw in a film in a Coast Guard training session back at Yorktown, Virginia in the 70's, that what you are now is significantly dependent on what you were when, that you are affected by who you grew up with and that you have a lifetime bond with those people whether you like them or not because you all went through the same life-learning experiences together. No wonder we are all messed up! I'm joking, because most of us turned out just fine despite growing up in Hialeah.
You know you grew up in old Hialeah if you remember:
(1957-58 time frame) The farm fields west of W. 12th Avenue (between 53rd and 60th Streets) where farm hands would mow the hay which would get shot into large tall hay wagons with chicken-wire sides, pulled in a train of several wagons by a farm hand on a tractor. We would hide in the unmowed hay and hop aboard the tail end of the hay wagons and ride around for a long time bumping through the farm fields. I painfully learned never to jump off the hay wagon when the farm hand was driving south on W. 12th Avenue to the Roselawn Dairy that was located on the west side of W.12th Avenue, about a quarter mile south of W. 49th Street. The tractor and hay wagon train was moving about 20mph and I didn't want to walk that far home so I lowered myself from the last wagon in the train and ran as fast as I could while holding onto the wagon. I let go of the wagon and immediately fell forward onto the rough pavement for a few feet causing a serious case of road rash and ripping my shirt and pants. The road was old rock road south of 53rd Street and unpaved north of 53rd Street. Most of the Palm Springs area was once part of the expansive White Belt Dairy owned by Dr. John G. DuPuis.
There was a tall roofless silo west of 12th Avenue and 54th Street - you weren't a man if you couldn't climb all around the top of the silo's perimeter without falling to your death. We discovered some guy's hidden partially buried smut collection in a box one time near that silo and we all turned into big fans of women. We put the box back because we didn't dare take that stuff home and we revisited it a few times later until some other scoundrel took it.
Ludlam Road/W. 12 Avenue being a dirt road north of 53rd Street with deep ruts and huge potholes that would swallow a Volkswagen Beetle. It was barely more than an old paved rock road south of 53rd Street running south to the farm house south of 49th Street.
The Palmetto Expressway being built on the western edge of Hialeah, with grade level crossings at numerous intersections such as W. 49th Street, W. 60th Street, W. 68th Street, W. 84th Street, etc. There were 2 lanes in each direction, it had a speed limit of 70mph and had a grass median with no dividers in the middle to avoid head-on collisions.
The WAMI 1260AM "Whammy in Miami" radio station transmitter and tower located in the wilderness at about where W. 19th Avenue and W. 54th Street would be now. They were only allowed to broadcast during daylight hours and I got to turn the station off at sunset a couple of times because I delivered The Miami News to the station engineers for a while.
The horse ranches along the east side of the Palmetto south of W. 68 Street where you could rent horses to ride by the hour. SENGRA added a Miami Lakes Riding Academy in Miami Lakes in the mid/late 60's where people could board their horses and you could rent a horse for riding by the hour. Windmill Gate Shopping Center is now located where that riding academy was once located. People used to ride their horses around west Hialeah and Miami Lakes until both became more congested.
The "government property" east of Red Road and north of West and East 65th Street (NW 119th Street in county talk) and west of LeJeune Road. There was a chain link fence around it, with barbed wire on top, and signs mounted on the fence saying "U. S. Government Property - No Trespassing!" It was part of the former Naval Air Station Miami at what is now Opa-locka Airport. It became Marine Corps Air Station Miami in February 1952 and the Marines pulled out in 1959. The military never developed the land south of NW 138th/135th Street and they probably used the land for bombing exercises or something during World War II. Fortunately a big section of the land was donated to Dade County for use as a regional park and that park opened in the 1990's as Amelia Earhart Regional Park because she took off on her ill-fated flight around the world from the old Miami Municipal Airport which was located to the south and east of the park. Other land south of NW 135th Street, west of Amelia Earhart Park and east of Red Road was auctioned off to the highest bidders (developers).
The U-pic strawberry fields along the east side of the Palmetto where you picked your own strawberries from the fields and paid dirt-cheap prices when you took your filled-up baskets back to the front shack. Klaus and Katie Sjogren, http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/mem_sjogren , future neighbors of mine in Miami Lakes, owned the fields and they sold some of their land to the state so the Palmetto Expressway could be built, along with the acreage now occupied by the Palmetto General Hospital complex.
Red Road/W. 4th Avenue being a barely paved dangerous two lane bumpy curvy road with a canal right next to it with minimum or no guard rails to keep cars from going in it.
There was a home on a couple of acres or more on the east side of Red Road around W. 58th Street that had horses and horse stalls but it was secluded. The property was later sold in the 1980's or 90's and redeveloped with a group of very large "McMansion" homes.
W. 68th Street west of W. 12th Avenue was known as "Rat Road" and thousands of rats could be seen running across it back and forth to the canal because of all the garbage that people dumped alongside of the roadway in the dense brush. In the mid-60's, W. 68th Street on the west side of the Palmetto was still completely undeveloped out in the wilderness, and a great place to park at night and make out with your girlfriends. I have great memories of making out with a young lady out there in the early morning hours in the weeks before I went into the Coast Guard in June 1966. She snuck out of her home at W. 8th Court and 64th Street on week nights and I ran into her again after Christmas Eve Mass at Immaculate Conception in December 1968 and she was gorgeous. We almost dated and I flew home from Tampa on a weekend but she had to babysit her next door neighbor's kids because the lady was having another kid in the hospital. I was so torqued over spending so much money for nothing that I told her it was over, which I regret to this day but I guess it wasn't meant to be.
There was an old crooked chain link fence across unpaved W. 12th Avenue just north of 68th Street because it was private property until developed a few years later.
There wasn't a W. 8th Avenue bridge across the canal between W. 51st Place and W. 53rd Street until the early 1960's. You either had to go east to Red Road or west to 12th Avenue to get around the canal. We used to cross the canal by shimmying across a large water pipe just east of where the bridge went in but it was slow going and slipping into the canal wasn't an attractive idea. The same canal ended at W. 12th Avenue so there wasn't a bridge there until they dug and dynamited a canal extension in the early 1960's west to the Palmetto. They went through hell digging around the high pressure jet fuel pipeline that runs from Port Everglades to Miami International Airport and Homestead Air Force Base (now Homestead Joint Air Reserve Base) under the FP&L high tension power lines around W. 14th Lane.
The oddball county section of homes that was surrounded by incorporated Hialeah. Apparently they voted against annexation by Hialeah so they retained county police service, county garbage pickup and county addresses. It ran from W. 4th Court to W. 9th Court between W. 56th Place (now W. 56 Street) and W. 60th Street and a section north of W. 60th Street up to W. 68th Street west from W. 4th Court to about W. 6th Avenue. W. 4th Court equated to NW 57th Court, W. 9th Court was NW 63rd Court on the east side, W. 56th Place was NW 110th Street on the north side, W. 60th Street was NW 114th Street on the south side, W. 8th Avenue was NW 62nd Avenue through the county section.
The Hialeah City Dump located between 12th and 14th Avenues from 53rd Street north a block or two - the city sold the land to a developer and they built apartment houses on top of the old dump.
The three lakes running from about W. 6th Avenue to W. 12th Avenue between W. 60th and 64th Streets. The easternmost lake was Lake Tahoe and triangular in shape, and rectangular Lake Laurence East and Lake Laurence West. There were no homes built on the lakes for a couple of years and the public came out to swim and boat on the lakes, especially on weekends when it would get crowded on the strip of land (now W. 10th Avenue) between Lake Laurence East and Lake Laurence West. That strip of land had humongous dirt and rock hills from dredging the lakes and we enjoyed many hours of driving our bikes down the steep sides of the hills, trying to avoid boulders and death. I remember Eddie Sullivan being physically forced by his older brothers to go down a really bad area on his big thick tank-like bike with big springs on the front wheel, and he hit a log near the bottom which caused him to catapult over the front of his bike to land on rocks below. We thought he was dead but he survived. The lakes were nice to swim in though the water didn't taste too good when swallowed. Eventually homes on large lakefront lots were built and public access was eliminated. It's too bad the City of Hialeah leaders didn't have the foresight to purchase some of the lakefront land at dirt-cheap prices for a public park and beach for residents to enjoy for eternity.
Brand new Palm Springs Junior High and adjacent Dr. John G. DuPuis Elementary opening in September 1957 (50-year anniversary in 2007, believe it or not) to throngs of kids from the Palm Springs section of Hialeah. The schools had a large open grass field between them and basketball courts and monkey bars that could be used by kids after school hours and during the summer. I didn't transfer from Immaculate to Palm Springs until 8th grade in September 1960 so it was three years old at that time. They held a vote to pick a nickname for Palm Springs Junior and the students allegedly pick "Pacers" as in the "Palm Springs Pacers" but I've read where the student council president or someone involved in the election picked that name over another name in a close vote tally.
The church on W. 12th Avenue west of Palm Springs Junior High where there were fights between guys who couldn't get along. Word of upcoming fights would spread throughout the school so there was always a crowd to witness the gladiators duking it out. The school was full of bully boys, some who were older, larger and who had failed a number of times and they were driving cars and motorcycles to school. The real hoodlums in Hialeah went to Filer Junior High on W. 29th Street or so we thought at the time.
Home delivery of milk, notably McArthur Dairies and Velda Farms who had fleets of trucks and drivers who made early morning deliveries of milk, eggs, and other dairy products to your front or carport doors. You left your future orders in the returnable empty milk bottles that you placed back outside by the door. The thought of your milk getting warm outside before you got it into your refrigerator doesn't sound appealing now but it was great back then and I loved McArthur's milk and ice cream.
Ice cream vendors, mostly independent operators but notably the Good Humor truck, who peddled ice cream treats in neighborhoods daily and who would park on swale areas a block from area schools. We had a vendor or two park on our street one block east of Palm Springs Junior High and they always did a good business after school, sometimes on credit.
The "tomato boys" who would swarm into neighborhoods peddling fresh farmed tomatoes in brown baskets. They were young black guys who were hired and transported to neighborhoods to peddle door to door. We often bought from them because the quality was good and the prices were cheap. However, when you heard a knock on the door and yelled out "Who's there?" and they would reply "Tomato Boy!" it was pretty funny stuff and we often called our buddies "tomato boy" as an insult.
The Charles Chips home delivery drivers and trucks. We didn't buy from them but some neighbors did for a while and they delivered fresh potato chips and pretzels on home delivery routes. You can still buy Charles Chips at an independent reseller at http://www.charleschips.com/home.htm or from http://www.taquitos.net/snacks.php?manuf_code=144
Hialeah Municipal Auditorium, bought by the city from Food Fair, was home to weekend dances sponsored by WQAM, the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) and other organizations. It was a great place to meet buddies and ladies on weekends. The CYO dances were chaperoned more than the public dances and there was no dirty dancing that I can remember. The air raid siren mounted on top of Municipal Auditorium tall concrete sign, that went off for testing every Saturday at 1pm and could be heard all over Hialeah.
The Essex Theatre on E. 4th Avenue and Hialeah Drive (NW 54th Street). We quit going there after Wometco's Palm Springs Theatre opened up on December 20, 1962, on the east end of Palm Springs Shopping Center after the center had been open for a few years. See http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/92675326
The Hialeah Roller Rink on the south side of W. 29th Street opposite Filer Junior High.
The Rustic Roller Rink near SE 11 Avenue, not far from Okeechobee Road, and close to the Dixie Lilly grit factory.
Hialeah Speedway off Okeechobee Road which held weekend stock car races from 1954 until 2004. Photos from one of the last races are located at http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/memories_hialeahspeedway . You couldn't go there without running into people you knew from either school or the neighborhood. On race nights you could hear the roar of the cars all over Hialeah and into Miami Lakes if the wind direction was from the south.
Amelia Earhart Field (former Miami Municipal Airport) located just east of LeJeune Road between the canal at E. 53rd Street and E. 65th Street (Gratigny Road). Old historical photos of this airfield are located at http://www.pbase.com/airlinerphotos/airports_oldmiami .
Hialeah Park, a world famous horse racing track with the prime winter racing dates for decades. Thousands of race fans, mostly snowbirds from up North, descended on Hialeah to attend the races every day of their season, clogging every road around the race track with traffic. The race track first opened in 1925 and was the premier race track in the country in the winter. The Florida Legislature took away Hialeah's thoroughbred license in 2003 under a law that a track must have run live racing in 2000-01 and 2001-02 race years. Hialeah Park started winter quarter horse racing in December 2009 and a new casino is being built in the northern part of the grandstands. 250 flamingos still live on infield course lake.
The "Juvies", Hialeah cops assigned mostly to juvenile crimes and prevention of juvenile crimes. They were famous for enforcing the nightly curfew Hialeah had imposed on kids under 16 or 17, yet the city sponsored dances at Municipal Auditorium that lasted after the curfew. The "juvies" would stop and question you while walking home from the dances and threaten you with a curfew violation citation requiring a court appearance.
Hialeah Police officers seemed to be everywhere, especially if you were driving and committed an infraction - some were nice, some were total a-holes and when I find my old traffic tickets I'll name some more. Sgt. Baldwin lived at W. 8th Court and 51st Place and he was a great guy. I thought John Lake was a jerk and he lived on my Herald route at W. 8th Lane and 56th Place. Bill Samardak was a great guy and I used him as a real estate agent to buy two townhouses and to sell a house in Miami Lakes. Sgt. Harry Wilson was a good guy, especially since we hung out with his son Duncan and he knew we weren't bad kids. Unfortunately Sgt. Wilson lost his wife when she was going to church, crossing the Palmetto at the grade level W. 60th Street crossing, when she was hit by a tanker truck that caught fire.
Hialeah's long-time mayor Henry Milander who was re-elected so many times, including a time or two after being indicted for something. He had his butcher shop Milander's Meats on Palm Avenue, a block or so away from City Hall.
The Home News, a great little weekly Hialeah/Miami Springs newspaper chock full of stories about crimes and criminals, including our city councilmen not to mention the Mayor, in Hialeah and Miami Springs, along with great engagement and wedding photos and stories of all the Hialeah and Miami Springs sweeties getting married off. It also had photos and stories of Hialeah and Miami Springs servicemen during the Vietnam War, where they were, etc.
The Hialeah City Council in 1964 consisted of William H. Lockward, Council President, Vernon J. Ashley, VP of Council, Francis "Tony" A. Benedetto (a barber), Jack M. Cherry (a Cities Service gas station owner on Palm Avenue across from the Catalina Shopping Center), J. Hosea Smith, Charles A. Whiteacre, and Lewis B. Whitworth Jr. who later went on to become a state supreme court justice as I recall.
The total lack of environmental sensitivity by the City of Hialeah and Dade County for decades, not to mention their horrible zoning practices that have led to much visual blight all over the city. There used to be significant densely wooded areas west of 12th Avenue, north of W. 58th Street and south of W. 68th Street with massive ancient trees that we used to explore and play in. None of the giant old trees were preserved and everything was flattened in order to dig lakes and build Adler-built homes and townhouses. I remember thinking that this is really screwed up when I saw those forests flattened and replaced by treeless concrete and asphalt. The city and/or county could have bought some of the land for a lushly shaded park (like Greynolds Park in NE Dade) instead of giving us the puny ugly skinny treeless Sparks Park on W. 60th Street between W. 12th and 14th Avenues where they later planted young ficus trees. It's no wonder that I despise virtually all politicians these days.
Plantation Pit Barbecue on East 49th Street and 9th Avenue, owned by "Big" Jim Bazemore.
Julius Caeser's Broasted Chicken on the NE corner of E. 49th and E. 4th Avenue - a favorite lunch spot for kids from Hialeah High and owned by Marc Lusardi's parents who lived near me on W. 60th Street and 9th Court.
Boyer's Meat Market on the west side of Palm around 47th Street, the road that leads to Immaculate Conception Church and school.
Jon's Steak House on the NE corner of Okeechobee Road and Red Road/W. 4th Avenue - they had a great sweet key lime bisque dessert similar to Tyler's Restaurants that makes 99% of key lime desserts taste like bitter mush.
The Hideaway Lounge on East 49th Street just west of the railroad overpass.
Mae and Dave's, an open-air bar with a canopy over bar stools along the sidewalk on the east side of Palm Avenue at E. 13th Street with great pizza - my dad patronized them from time to time over the years. My HHS senior year sweetie lived in a new one-story apartment row on the lot behind Mae and Dave's and I got to see a lot of Mae and Dave's when picking her up or dropping her off.
Betty's Barber Shop in a strip shopping center on the west side of W. 12th Avenue around 51st Street. She was the first barber in the area, to our knowledge, of using a long razor to cut hair instead of scissors. A lot of guys liked to go there because she was amply endowed and looked pretty good for an older woman.
Catalina Shopping Center on the west side of Palm Avenue south of E. 55 Street. It had a cheap off-brand (Direct?) gas station in front where you earned points for dinnerware, glasses, cups, etc that were on display above the pumps, a Food Fair grocery store with Merchants Green Stamps, a great Schell's Toy and Hobby Shop with the latest in aircraft models from Revell and Monogram, a Rexall Drugs and other stores. Across the street was Jack Cherry's Cities Service gas station and he later became a city councilman.
The shopping center at the southeast corner of W. 68th Street and W. 12th Avenue which had a 7-11 facing 68th Street and a Standard gas station in the corner. It also had a bike repair shop, Fusaro's Pizza, the infamous Diamond Inn (a long-time neighborhood bar that my dad patronized a few evenings every week - it closed a years ago and I need to find the article about it), Ed's Hardware where you paid list price for everything, Dr. Robert M. Wolf, a long-time West Hialeah dentist (in the early 1960's he had a beautiful dental assistant named Wanda Wesson and I believe she married a Hialeah police motorman) and a Moo Cow, a drive-up dairy product convenience store similar to a Farm Store.
Di Giorgios Italian Restaurant in Miami Lakes after the development opened in 1962.
Jerry and Joe's Pizzeria on E. 4th Avenue and 40th Street, loved by many. Thank you to Pete Migli and Terry for correcting the actual location of this fine establishment.
Jano's Sandwich Sub Shop (70's/80's) on W. 84th Street just south of the Big Daddy's/Flanigan's in the Palm Lakes Shopping Center. Great subs, salads, and catering. A photo of Jano's is at http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/144150343 along with two other photo of Pete Janowitz in the same gallery.
Palm Springs Mile and West 49th Street.
Photos of the new Palm Springs Village Shopping Center are located at http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/141558439 and http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/141558440/original . The Mile was built by R&R (Russell & Raulerson) who also built most of the homes in the Palm Springs sections of Hialeah. They built quality homes but they skimped on the landscaping by giving homeowners small plugs of St. Augustine grass that eventually grew into each other to form a complete yard of grass. Every homeowner had to manually pick up a couple hundred pounds of rocks in between the grass plugs that they failed to remove. Plus R&R planted two or three Melalueca paper trees in every yard that are now environmental public enemy #1 (now #2 after the African Pythons that have invaded the Everglades)
W. 49th Street with nothing on it west of W. 4th Avenue (Red Road) until it was developed into Palm Springs Mile from Red Road to Ludlam Road.
Cow pastures on both sides of W. 49th Street west of W. 12th Avenue out to the Palmetto Expressway.
Royal Castle being the first business to open on Palm Springs Mile, at the NW corner of W. 6 Avenue, with 5 cent birch beers, 7 cent jelly donuts, 10 cent glazed honey buns, and 15 cent hamburgers with grilled onions, cooked by guys with tattoos while they smoked cigarettes. Yum!
The construction and opening of the Palm Springs Village Shopping Center, with Grand Union supermarket, Western Auto, Grables Bakery, Ruffy's Restaurant (owned by John Ruffino's father), Neisner's 5&10 cent store, G. C. Murphy's, Jackson Byrons department store and numerous smaller stores including a Mayor's Jewelers, a Zenith TV store and a music equipment store where guys bought their guitars and drums.
The Zenith TV dealer where I saw my first color TV on display in the front window. People would crowd the sidewalk to watch it and one of my educated adult neighbors told me that it was all phony colors and that nothing was real - it sure looked real to me.
The great lunch counter at G. C. Murphy's with shakes, malts and cheap sub sandwiches.
The separate water fountains for "whites" and "coloreds" at Neisner's and G. C. Murphy's.
The Wometco Palm Springs Theatre opening on December 20, 1962, on the east end of the Palm Springs Village Shopping Center years after the center was built. It had a separate smoking section on the upper right side but the air-conditioning blew the smoke all over everyone else in the theatre. You could usually make out with your girlfriend while watching the movie but only until one of the ushers came by to chew you out and make you stop. The theatre had two doors down front, one on each side of the screen, and you could pop them open during dim scenes so your buddies could sneak in for free after the lights were dimmed and the movie started.
The Shell's Liquor Store built next to the Palm Springs Theatre facing Red Road with a large selection of intoxicants.
The Citizens Federal Savings & Loan Association building on the corner of W. 49th Street and 4th Court. It had a short tower with a huge clock facing the intersection. Their main branch was on the southeast corner of Hialeah Drive and E. 4th Avenue in an identical building.
The Jackie Gleason's Restaurant built out in the parking lot at the Palm Springs Village Shopping Center west of Citizens Federal. The chain disappeared after a couple of years despite good food and service.
The Stevens Supermarket on the south side of W. 49th Street to the south of the cafeteria and to the east of Richards Department Store.
The St. Clairs Cafeteria on the south side of W. 49th Street just west of Red Road.
The Richards Department Store (later Jefferson's discount store) built on the south side of W. 49th Street across from the Palm Springs Village Shopping Center.
The tall plastic slides that temporarily occupied the area between Richard's Department Store and the Super X Drug Store - Publix - Zayre line of stores to the west.
The Publix Supermarket (Store #86) that opened in 1962 and lasted 44 years until it was closed in July 2006 in a lease dispute with the Palm Springs Mile developers - it was the first Publix that many of us ever shopped in. Thanks to Terrence M. Duffy, a photo of the store in 1976 is at: http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/144707484
The Zayre Department Store just west of the Publix, one of the first discount stores in Hialeah - they had some mean but dumb store detectives who thought we were shoplifting every time we went in there. They always nabbed another guy or me for a partial strip search while our buddies walked out with half the store stashed in their pants.
Lake Bambi, a large lake behind Zayre and Publix, that was good for cane-pole fishing with worms.
The 24-hour Mr. Donut that was on the end of a strip of stores built on the western edge of the Zayre parking lot just east of Palm Springs Lanes. Mr. Donut baked the donuts in the early morning hours. The manager liked us Herald carriers and gave us each a dozen fresh baked donuts of our choice every morning either for free or some ridiculously low price like a quarter. They made one hell of a great chocolate glazed donut that went well with milk or coffee. My family and neighbors missed the free daily donuts after I quit the Herald route after high school graduation. Next to the Mr. Donut to the south was Bennett's Optical Supply, owned by the father of Dale Bennett who went on to become mayor of Hialeah after long-time mayor Henry Milander died.
The Palm Springs Lanes bowling alley, owned by Jim Facente, on the south side of 49th and around 7th Avenue. They kept the bowling alley open all night on the night of our senior prom in 1965 and many couples went there after the prom and a fancy dinner after the prom.
The Texaco gas station to the west of the bowling alley on the southeast corner of W. 8th Avenue and 49th Street. Their prices were always a penny or two higher than most other stations in the area.
The Eagle Army-Navy store next door to Royal Castle just west of 6th Avenue - a great supplier of cheap motor oil by the case for those with cars that burned or leaked oil like crazy, and cheap cigarettes at $2 a carton.
The U. S. Post Office next to Eagle Army-Navy. They couldn't name it the Palm Springs Station because of a community with the same name in Palm Beach County so they named it "Palm Village Station." My aunt, Norma Boyd, worked there as a window clerk in the 1970's after she had been with the USPS for a few years, along some of the other USPS offices in Hialeah.
The Lums restaurant chain (one existed until 2010 on Davie Road south of the BCC Central Campus) with the hot dogs steamed in beer and served with sauerkraut or chili if desired. There was the small narrow Lums at 681 W. 49th Street on the north side of W. 49th Street a few doors east of the U-Totem and the newer larger Lums on the south side of W. 49th Street west of 12th Avenue.
The U-Totem convenience store between W. 6th and 8th Avenues, west of Lums in the same strip of stores. They carried Playboy and other gents magazines that were scandalous at the time. They also had a free TV tube testing machine to determine which tubes were bad so you could replace them.
The A&P grocery store west of the U-Totem strip center and east of the Thom McAn.
The large Thom McAn's shoe store with huge glass windows on the NE corner of W. 49th Street and W. 8th Avenue. The manager's name was Mr. Finkelstein, he looked like Kojak but he was a really nice guy. Thom McAn sold Beatle Boots that were popular when the Beatles were the rage but I don't remember buying them. They also had the weekly WQAM top 56 music surveys available for pickup and a group of us Miami Herald carriers used to fold our newspapers there every morning prior to delivering them on our paper routes. Chuck Brooks from 1 Bentley Drive in Miami Springs was our Herald area delivery manager; he still lives there as far as I know and he was a good guy who demanded excellence.
Going west from there we had a Kentucky Fried Chicken on the north side of 49th Street just west of 8th Avenue and the professional building and drug store that were on the northwest corner. I used to slip out from a class in my senior year and take Ray Kyse's MG-A there to the KFC to pick up huge order of french fries to pass around in class.
The Gatsby's Restaurant further west of 8th Avenue. When Gatsby's closed it was replaced by My Friends Restaurant, owned by the Richman family, in the late 1970's that had really great food. The Richmans then opened the first Beverly Hills Cafe in the Cypress Village Shopping Center in Miami Lakes that took a lot of business from My Friends and My Friends eventually shut down.
The New England Oyster House west of Gatsby's. It was part of a national chain that somehow disappeared over time, probably due to Red Lobster growing nationally in the 1970's after they were bought out by General Mills at the time.
The Black Angus Restaurant (885 W. 49th Street) had a lingerie show in the bar area at lunch on weekdays in the early 70's. Beautiful models paraded around in negligees and panties trying to entice customers to buy their company's bedtime apparel. The Black Angus (the nickname was "Black Anus") shut down sometime in the 80's.
There was a Shell gas station on the northwest corner of W. 10th Avenue and 49th Street and as I recall their prices were usually the same as other gas stations in the area.
The McDonald's between W. 10th and 12th Avenues that instantly became a great teen hangout with open air seating outside - it opened around 1965 and it is still popular with the younger Hialeah crowd these days.
Switching back to the south side of the street, the Hialeah Fire Department had a nice fire station at the southwest corner of W. 49th Street and 8th Avenue. My buddy Bob Zimmerman and I would visit our buddy Artie Borreca when he was on duty there after he got on with the HFD in the 1970's. The first high-rise apartment or condo building in Hialeah was built just to the west of the fire station and you could see all of Hialeah from the top floor. We thought it was pretty ugly at the time but it was only seven or eight stories tall.
There was a Pizza Palace on the southwest corner of W. 49th Street at W. 10th Avenue and all the bad kids hung out there. There was an Arnold Palmer Putting Park next to the Pizza Palace where you could play miniature golf (see aerial photos in the photo gallery). The WQAM disc jockeys often had promotional events there. The military put Pizza Palaces on their "off-limits" list for military personnel in the late 1960's so there must have been some pretty bad stuff going on at them.
The intersection of W. 49th Street and 12th Avenue had 3 gas stations in the southeast, northeast and northwest corners. The Standard station was on the southeast corner and I believe there was a Phillips 66 on the NE corner and a Cities Service (later Citgo) station owned by Ike in the northwest corner (thanks Al Penfield). Behind the Cities Service station was a small liquor store just west of 12th Avenue where phony ID's worked well at the drive-thru window or you could just get an adult to drive up and get the liquor while we sat in the back seat.
The Gulf Oil station on the north side of W. 49th Street around 13th/14th Avenue. Mr. Gibson the owner had a son around our age named Perry Gibson. They had a slimy mechanic, and also their nephew/cousin, several years older than me working there who ripped me off on an air-conditioner for my Volvo in late 1965 - he never installed all the parts as promised and I blew big bucks for nothing. I distinctly remember paying 25.9 cents a gallon at this station, which was higher than the off-brand cheap station by the 103rd Street overpass on the east side of town, but it wasn't worth driving miles to the east.
The Lindsey Lumber on the north side of W. 49th Street around 13th/14th Avenue. A group of us Miami Herald carriers used to fold papers there every morning prior to delivering them until they ran us out and we moved to the Thom McAn at W. 8th Avenue. There was nothing but cow pastures on the south side of W. 49th Street between W. 12th Avenue and the Palmetto and the cow herds would stand along the fence looking at us folding our papers. The cow bells and mooing were a little unsettling in the quiet early morning hours. There was a Cypress Gardens Florist next door to the Lindsey Lumber.
The Palm Springs General Hospital was built a block or two north of 49th Street at W. 14th Avenue while we were in high school and some buddies almost fell down an empty elevator shaft while exploring it in pitch darkness one night while under construction. They had a nicely landscaped entrance off of 49th Street for a while but then a Big Daddy's Liquor Store was built on the corner to uglify the entrance.
The K-Mart Plaza on the south side of 49th Street. Figaro's Pizza was in the plaza, offering old time black and white movies on large screens while patrons dined.
The Gold Triangle store on the south side of 49th Street, west of 16th Avenue. When they closed it became one of the earliest Home Depot stores in the area. Home Depot later built a new store on the southeast corner of 49th Street and 16th Avenue.
Burdines opened a stand-alone store at the Palmetto and 49th Street in 1969, later to become the west anchor store for Westland Mall that was constructed a couple of years later. The east anchor store was Sears and the middle anchor store was J. C. Penney. All are still there except Burdines turned into Macy's. Burdine's had a second floor restaurant on the east side of the store with a glass wall that overlooked the mall after it opened but eventually it was closed and a solid wall was installed to replace the glass wall.
Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor was a popular place for kids and people of all ages at Westland Mall.
The Farmer's Market built on 103rd Street just west of the Palmetto where the water tower stood for many years (we climbed to the top at night once and it scared the hell out of us). It became numerous other things afterwards including The Other Place drinking and dancing hall, a skating rink and a BJ's warehouse.
Personal Recollections of People
Ted Clark, a WQAM-AM disc jockey, lived in the area near W. 9th Avenue and 64/65th Street. He used to drive the Tiger in a Mustang home every so often in the mid-60's, emblazoned with the WQAM call sign and a large tiger painted on the doors.
Girls who lived in the unincorporated section of homes (county addresses) east of W. 9th Court were Regina Harley, Donna Pignotta, Valerie Ciaccio, Sue Bottin, Linda Russell and others I've forgotten over time. Regina had a hell of a slap alongside your head if you got too friendly.
One of my highlights of being a senior in high school was Ray Kyse giving Dottie Leslie a ride to school a few times with me in the right seat. Because he drove a MG-A she had to sit on my lap for the entire trip and I kept praying for red lights to prolong the duration. Dottie was a friendly girl who is remembered fondly by a number of us. :)
There were a group of good looking girls my age or a year younger who moved into Palm Springs Estates, built by Lovell Homes in 1960/61 and later west of 12th Avenue from 59th Street south to 53rd Street. Adler Brothers built the half block from 59th to 60th and probably all of the homes from 60th to 68th Streets. I added this development to my adjacent Miami News route which grew to 200 subscribers at a high point a couple of times before they split my route numerous times. The first one to move in was Judy Bush (brother Rusty), followed by Charlotte Tidwell, Nancy Payne, Karen Hudson, Mary Ellen Cooley, Libby Sciadini, Karon Kell, Dorothy Walling, Kay Summmers, Linda Burge and others I can't remember right now. Guys who lived out there were Ruben and Raul Rivera, Charlie Ferguson, the Moye brothers, Clyde Hughes, Dean Burge and others I can't remember right now.
The mostly great NEIGHBORS I can remember were, with valuable help from Beverly Lavallie Cline, Donna Mehalko and the late Chris Martin:
This extensive list was moved to http://www.pbase.com/image/104362815 in the new Palm Springs Neighbors and Friends Gallery.