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Mother of Miami, Julia Tuttle With Father of Miami, Henry Flagler

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The history of Florida from the Seminole Wars to the gilded age vacationing, the land boom, the depression, and prosperity.

1904 Miami River

1904 Miami River

Miami River Today

Miami River Today

Birth of Miami

Imagine a swamp full of alligators, mosquitoes, no roads, no bridges, no motels, few neighbors, no air conditioning, and a smattering of Native Americans. From this, the City of Miami grew to a metropolis with over 400,000 people worldwide.

Miami got its name from the Mayaimi Indians who lived around Lake Mayaimi (now Lake Okeechobee). The Indians called it 'Big Water.' But soon, a widow with her two children would arrive with a vision for taming the wilderness into a metropolis.

Julia Tuttle and Henry Flagler made Florida what it is today. Florida has seen the Seminole Wars, the land boom, the depression and unparelled growth.

Mayaimi Maiden

Mayaimi Maiden

Julia Tuttle Arrives at Fort Dallas, Florida

Julia was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1849 to Ephraim Sturtevant and his wife. She married Frederick L. Tuttle 1867-1886), and they had two children, Frances Emeline 1868 and Henry 1870. After her husband died, Julia and her children returned to Ft. Dallas and purchased 640 acres on the north shore of the Miami River. She purchased the Ft. Dallas abandoned property along with the slave quarters. She was convinced the area was to become one of a kind. She is quoted as saying, "it is my dream in life to see this wilderness turn prosperous and to see growth." Imagine if Julia could see the Miami River today.

Julia realized that a railroad was needed to entice settlers and tourists to the new city of Miami. She pleaded with Henry Flager to bring his East Coast Railroad past West Palm Beach to Miami. Flagler rebuffed Julia until the Great Freeze hit Florida in 1895. Julia was clever and mailed fresh citrus and Orange Blossoms to him in West Palm, proving Miami was below the freeze line. Henry was no fool and saw the potential for even more tourists and the wealthy in Florida. To cement the deal, Julia gave Flagler 100 acres of her land for his railroad and hotel to be built.

Henry had already built magnificent resort hotels all along Florida's east coast. Now with his railroad in Miami, his newest hotel, The Royal Palm opened 1/1/1896 with all of society's best, the Astors, Vanderbilts, and senators and politicians galore. And Miami was born.


Julia Tuttle, her mother, and daughter

Julia Tuttle, her mother, and daughter

Henry Flagler

Henry Flagler

Royal Palm Hotel 1896

Royal Palm Hotel 1896

First Railroad in Miami

First Railroad in Miami

Tuttle and Flagler, Parents of Miami

There is no question that the railroad was the biggest factor for settlement in Florida. And, Julia Tuttle's determination and foresight to convert a swamp to a city was welcomed.

Julia's name was almost forgotten until the I-95 Causeway was built in 1961. Then her name became synonymous with the City of Miami. A ten-foot bronze statue was erected in Bayfront Park, Miami. In Lummus Park, 404 3rd St., Miami stands the William Wagner house built in 1835 and a slave barracks of Ft. Dallas used by Julia and houses artifacts of the era.

Julia died 14 September 1898 and is buried in the Miami City Cemetery, Block 55, in a place of honor. When she died, she left a lot of debt which her children had to sell the rest of her land to pay the debts. It is believed her debt was due to the fact she gave so much land to Flager.

Note that air conditioning didn't arrive in Florida until the 1950s, and even then, it was window units. Central air began to be in use in the 1960s. Before air conditioning, people used ceiling fans or swam, and if close to the ocean, breezes fanned the air. Imagine being in Florida in the 1900s dressed in long dresses or suits and ties.



I-95 Tuttle Causeway

I-95 Tuttle Causeway

Tuttle Marker Miami City Cemetery

Tuttle Marker Miami City Cemetery

Julia Tuttle Homesite

Julia Tuttle Homesite

Facts About The Sunshine State

Florida:

  • has the most golf courses of any state in America
  • 1000 move into Florida every day
  • no dinosaur bones ever found in Florida
  • has the longest coastline, 1,197 miles
  • more toll roads and bridges than any other state
  • Florida has only one main river, St. John's River
  • the largest producer of watermelons, tomatoes, and sugar
  • Disney World of Florida has over 17 million visitors per year

Comments

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on July 04, 2021:

Peg, thanks for your visit. I agree everyone knows the name Flagler but few knew Tuttle. Yet because of her, Miami became famous. I'm sure you witnessed the growth of Miami. Thanks again.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on July 04, 2021:

This fascinating story reveals the true vision of Julia Tuttle and her innovative ways of getting things done. Having lived in Miami on and off over the 60s, 70s and 80s, I never knew this bit of history. Flagler was well known for the railroad. I once lived on Flagler Avenue in the Keys. Thanks for sharing this insight into the women of history. Sad that her fortune was misplaced by her generosity.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on July 02, 2021:

Rery, thank you so much for your visit. I truly appreciate it.

Rawan Osama from Egypt on July 02, 2021:

It is an informative article about Miami. Thanks for sharing it

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on July 02, 2021:

Rosina, thanks for your visit. I agree she was a remarkable woman.

Rosina S Khan on July 01, 2021:

I am glad to know about the parents and founders of Miami. Julia Tuttle's determination and foresight to convert a swamp into a city was indeed intriguing. Thanks for sharing, Fran.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on July 01, 2021:

Thank you, Alicia, I so appreciate your visit and comments.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 30, 2021:

This is an interesting article about the history of Miami. I always learn something new from your articles.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on June 29, 2021:

Liz, thanks for reading. Guess you can tell I love history. One has to give pioneers credit for settling our country.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on June 29, 2021:

Pamela, thanks for your visit. Always nice to get your comments. I love all history and I too am from Ohio but lived in Fla for over 30 years. Thanks again.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 29, 2021:

This is another interesting article, Fran. I was born in Cleveland and I live in the largest county in the U.S. now, which is Duval County. It is just north of Flagler County. I didn't know these facts about Miami.

I didn't think there were that many toll roads here as I only know of one, but it is a long state. The other facts are so interesting. I enjoyed reading this article, Fran.

Liz Westwood from UK on June 29, 2021:

This is a fascinating article about Miami. The background history is very interesting.

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