Carolina Echeverri Valle is a senior pursuing a double degree in International Relations and PRAAC, with a minor in Political Science and a certificate in Human Rights and Political Transition at Florida International University. Being a passionate advocate for human rights, she aspires to work in a non-profit aimed at helping children and/or women. After graduating from her two majors, she plans on attending graduate school. She has had the privilege of working the Spanish Ministry of Education, the German American Business Chamber of Commerce, UNICEF, Hillel at FIU, CARTA in DC at FIU, and Broward County. She’s been a peer advisor at FIU, served in many leadership positions within her sorority of Alpha Omicron PI and created a project for the Millennium Fellowship. As a student who grew up in Colombia, she desires to learn more about the culture and history of one of the most diverse cities in Florida: Miami.
Image taken from Google Maps
The city of Miami Springs is in Miami-Dade County, located in the state of Florida. Miami Springs was established on August 08, 1926 and is located at 25°49’20″N 80°17’22″W (25.8223200, -80.2895000) (Mapsofnet). It has an area of 7.76 km2, an altitude of 7 feet/ 2 meters and a density of 1,769 Pop. per km² as of 2020 (Mapsofnet). This 2.9-square-mile, triangular-shaped city is located “in the heart of it all”, as it’s “bordered by Miami International Airport, the City of Hialeah, the Village of Virginia Gardens and the Town of Medley” (About Miami Springs). It’s an attractive place to live, and visit, as it has a great location and it has amenities that are family-oriented, such as tennis courts, municipal pool, parks, golf course, among others (About Miami Springs).
Miami Springs or “The Springs” as people refer to it nowadays is part of the early history of Miami. It was the 5th city to be incorporated after other major cities: Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, and Hialeah. Its name changed from “Country Club Estates” to “Miami Springs”, because of the natural springs that were once located in the area (History of Miami Springs).
In 1926, the first mayor and council were elected, governing for a population of 1128 residences. The history of Miami Springs heavily impacted the history of aviation in South Florida. Glenn H. Curtiss purchased 17,000 acres of land in 1916 that was intended to be used to start a flying school. That’s why the city is located so close to the Miami International Airport, which is the main large airport serving the Dade County (History of Miami Springs).
Miami Springs no longer has natural springs, because the Miami canal and the massive canal projects altered the landscape and drastically decreased the pressure that would force water up the Biscayne Aquifer (History of Miami Springs). Something that is important to consider is that “In order for the City of Miami to continue to grow a potable water supply was needed. The essential fresh water was found on the Miami Springs Golf Course property” (History of Miami Springs).
The Miami Springs Golf Course played a vital part in the history of the city. It was the first golf course built in the Miami-Dade County. It was even the first golf course in Florida that allowed black individuals to play (History of Miami Springs). It’s hosted many important events, such as the Miami Open, local tournaments and celebrations.
The United States Census Bureau is a crucial website when it comes to finding statistics for all towns, cities, states, and countries with a population over 5,000. The most updated statistics that we have on Miami Springs are of 2021. The 2021 population consisted of 13,859 people. From this, 8.6% are persons under 5 years, 19.0% are persons under 18 years, 20.8% are persons 65 years and over and 55.6% are females. When it comes to race and ethnicity, the highest percentages are white alone (81.3%) and Hispanic or Latino (77.7%). There are 416 veterans, and 52.0% foreign born persons in the city. When looking at education, 83.6% are high school graduates and 38.9% hold bachelor’s degrees or higher. The house prices are high in the state, making the median household income $65,910 (United States Census Bureau).
Interview with Camila Valle (a resident of Miami Springs)
Carolina: “Hi, can you please introduce yourself?”
Camila: “Hi my name is Camila Valle.”
Carolina: “How did you end up in Miami Springs?”
Camila: “I was actually born in Miami Springs, and my house has been in the family since my grandparents moved years ago.”
Carolina: “How would you describe Miami Springs?”
Camila: “I would describe it as a quiet and calm neighborhood. Very safe and family friendly. It is a tight community and you can feel the solidarity between the people and the small businesses.”
Carolina: “Are there any differences that you’ve noticed in your time living here?”
Camila: “I think Miami springs has grown over the years and has been modernized since I’ve been here. For example, they’re currently in the process of building an apartment complex, that would become the tallest buildings in the neighborhood. In addition the local market was just remodeled and it looks almost as a Whole Foods. The latest change I’ve seen is the opening of a Sushi Maki in the circle where there used to be a local restaurant.”
Carolina: “What’s your favorite thing about Miami Springs?”
Camila: “Definitely the feeling of community. Growing up there I met a lot of people and saw how interconnected many of the businesses, schools, churches, clubs and offices were. I’ve been part of the local community theatre, a youth group, taken classes in some of their gyms and yoga studios and have found a close knit community in each of them. Even the Starbucks baristas become your friends in Springs.”
Carolina: “What’s your least favorite thing about Miami Springs?”
Camila: “My least favorite thing would probably be how expensive it’s become. I know realistically I could not afford to live in a house here on my own or even in the new apartments. As much as I love the neighborhood it’s not as realistic to be able to live here right out of college unless of course I stay home.”
Carolina: “Thank you so much for your time!”
Miami Springs is home to some landmarks which include: The Glenn H. Curtiss Mansion and Gardens, The Hotel Country Club (Fairhavens), The Miami Springs Historical Museum and the Clune-Standnik Building.
The Glenn H. Curtiss Mansion
This historic landmark in the City of Miami Springs can’t go unnoticed. It’s located at 500 Deer Run, in the golf course grounds and has a unique architectural style. This Pueblo Revival-style Mansion that was once owned by Glen H. Curtiss and is now part of the National Register of Historic Places (2001) and a Designated Miami Springs Historic Site (1987). It was constructed in the 1920s by Martin Luther Hampton (who also designed the Miami Beach City Hall and the Congress Building in Downtown Miami) and was used for Curtiss to raise his family. Nowadays, it is owned by Curtiss Mansion, Inc. in representation of the city, and it’s used for meetings, private rentals, and a variety of celebrations. In addition, it hosts many local groups and free or low cost admission events open to the general public (Glenn H. Curtiss Mansion and Gardens).
The Clune-Standnik Building
This building was constructed during the “Miami Country Club Estates” time back in the beginning of its history. It’s located at 45 Curtiss parkway or as some know it, “in the circle of the Springs”. It’s part of the National Register of Historic Places (1985), and Designated Miami Springs Historic Site (1989). Since the building is 2 feet above the ground, it’s able to survive floods caused by hurricanes, as well as fires, buy-out attempts and burglaries. When it was first built, it was owned by the Curtiss-Bright Company and used for office spaces and local small business. Nonetheless, today it houses restaurants on the first floor and private offices on the second floor. A fun fact is that after all these years, the exterior has its original looks (Clune – Stadnik Building).
Hotel Country Club (Fairhavens)
This Designated Miami Springs Historic Site (1984) is located on 201 Curtiss Parkway. It was built in the Pueblo Revival architectural style in 1926 by Glenn Curtiss and designed by Bernard E Muller. It was intended to begin the development of the Country Club Estates and attract potential homeowners to the Estates. In 1929, after the economic crash, Curtiss sold it to his friend, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg to be developed as a health spa. At the time, there was a large amount of racial segregation. Yet, this didn’t stop Kellogg from allowing members who weren’t white to stay in the hotel. Kellogg also used this building to treat sick patients and develop soy-based food products. It was turned into a wellness facility by Palms Spa Corporation in 1959, and finally to an elderly home by Fairhavens Realty Corp (Hotel Country Club).
Miami Springs has many green spaces where people enjoy time with nature, which include the Miami Springs Golf and Country Club, Stafford Park, Miami Springs Bark Park, and Prince Field.
The Miami Springs Golf Course and Country Club
The Miami Springs Golf Course and Country Club is the largest green space in the city. Not only this, but it is one of the most visited spots. It’s located right in the center of Miami Springs and is divided up by a street. The 18-hole course was designed by Thomas ‘Tubby’ Martin and has 6,755 yards of golf. Holes 1-9 are located on the East side of the road and holes 10-18 are on the West side. The Golf and Country Club was established in 1923, making it the oldest golf course in Miami-Dade. The idea to construct a golf course was initially brought up by the Miami Coconuts Golf Committee, as they didn’t have a course to play on nor a clubhouse. After the different meetings they had, there was a lack of economic resources to construct the course. Hence, the Miami Springs Golf Course became Dade County’s first municipal golf course in 1923 (Miami Springs Golf & Country Club). The golf course attracts local, as well as traveling players from all different skill levels.
Miami Springs has a dog park, which is known as ‘Bark Park’, located on 599 Quail Avenue. This park allows dogs to roam around freely with no leash and enjoy the outdoors. The park has a variety of amenities for the dog owners and their dogs. It has benches around the park for the owners to sit down while their dogs are enjoying the park. It features a speedball field, a playground for kids, and four tee ball fields. The park is divided in two; one half for smaller dogs and other half for larger dogs. The dogs can enjoy ramps, obstacles and water fountains located around the park. “(…) many people claim that the park is well-maintained, quiet, and in a convenient location” (Miami Springs Bark Park).
This beautiful park is located on the right side of Miami Springs at 501 East Dr., and it has: two soccer fields, one baseball field, one softball field, and a playground for kids. This park is very popular, due to the different sports games that are played here, such as baseball and soccer. The playground also has two gazebos and a tent for shade.
Miami Springs is a central city within Dade County, making it easy and quick to get there from most places in South Florida. To get to the Springs, you can also use the bus or the subway, and arrive at any of these stops: “…Westward Dr & Albatross St; N. Royal Poinciana & Oriole Ave; W 3 St & Palm Ave Hialeah; Okeechobee; Hialeah Market Station” (Moovit).The city is also located nearby a boat ramp off of NW 27th Avenue, which allows easy access to the city. People drive to the Springs too, as its close to two main highways: the Palmetto Expressway and State Road 112.
Many people within the city drive to their destinations. However, there are a lot of lanes for bicycles, skating, and walking. It also has its own transportation system: City Bus. It’s a free MS/VG shuttle bus which stops in Hialeah, and also offers a complimentary service to the Miami International Airport from the E.B. Hotel (Free MS/VG Shuttle).
Miami Springs has multiple restaurants that attract locals, as well as visitors. The plates they offer are varied and can adapt to any palate.
Harvest Moon Gourmet Bistro
Harvest Moon Gourmet Bistro is a classic Miami Springs restaurant that you don’t want to miss. It has been open since the 90’s and it is part of “The Circle”. It’s known for its healthy and fresh ingredients. Their menu includes juices, smoothies, sandwiches, salads, melts and gyros. It’s also very affordable! The seating is on the outside patio (which has a roof for shade) in a café style. I recommend trying it!
Crackers Casual Dining
Crackers Casual Dining is a family-owned restaurant close to “The Circle” of Miami Springs. It serves Southern dishes with a Florida twist at affordable prices. The “vibe” of the place feels very Southern, allowing its customers to sit indoors, under their chicken hut surrounded by trees, or in their unique back garden. They serve lunch, dinner, and brunch, with products such as” burgers, soups, fish, and some mind-blowing sides (like the sweet potato casserole)” (Crackers Casual Dining).
Cozy Corner was founded over 20 years ago and is a staple restaurant in Miami Springs. It’s a Retro-Style mom-and-pop diner offering breakfast favorites and homestyle comfort food. It’s a classic American diner, with an authentic atmosphere. They offer breakfast and lunch specials, and they have different menus for different times of the day! Some of their plates include sandwiches, soups, chili, melts, wraps, salads, among others (Cozy Corner).
This shop is located at 46 Westward Drive. They offer custom streetwear and vintage clothing. They often drop new merchandise. Some of their products are tees, bottoms, hats, vintage, décor, and accessories. The shop is very trendy looking, with a backdrop for customers to be able to take pictures (Empire Boutique).
Starlight Dance Studio
Starlight Studios is a company that offers a variety of classes, such as ballet, jazz, acrobatics, and ballroom, and they also have competition classes for children (Starlight Dance Studio). The competitions happen 4-5 times a year, and the regular classes choreograph a dance routine for their end of year recital. It’s located on 181 Westward Drive, on one of the main roads in the city.
Springs Dental is a dental clinic run by Dr. Hansel Navarrete and Dr, Enrique A. Legon. They are known for their high oral care practice and their helpful staff. They offer all kinds of oral services, ranging from simple regular check-ups up to implant placements (Springs Dental). They are known for their affordable prices, friendly staff and “(…) providing and offering the latest technology in a state-of-the-art facility.” (Springs Dental)
Even though Miami Springs has many pros as a city, it’s not perfect. The location is a plus, as it’s such a central city, filled with locally owned businesses, historical landmarks, green spaces, and beautiful homes. The environment is very tranquil and picturesque, with a rich history, as well as many amenities that cater to different ages. Hence, it’s a very well-rounded city. Conversely, the ethnic majority in the city is mostly Hispanics and Whites, with not much diversity. Minority groups, such as Asian or African American, aren’t very prevalent. In addition, it is a very small city so sometimes residents are forced to leave the borders to find other businesses or shops that they may need on their day-to-day.
Some may think there are some cons in the city, but in general, the city offers many exceptional parts to it. Many local events are hosted here, such as the 4th of July, car shows, fairs, etc, that maintain the community together. The gazebo in “The Circle” is a main place to host these events that are oftentimes sponsored by a variety of organizations like churches, schools and even the city itself. The city has such a homey ambiance that is hard to find in other cities around Miami. Since it’s so close to Hialeah, this does cause congestion of cars, especially in rush hour.
Whether you’re visiting the golf course or stopping by for dinner, Miami Springs doesn’t disappoint. It’s location and proximity to the airport makes it a convenient place to pass by. All of its businesses are close by, it’s green spaces are beautiful and its streets have space for walking or biking around, making it a family-friendly place to visit!
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Clune – Stadnik Building | City of Miami Springs Florida Official Website. Retrieved 19 April 2022, from https://www.miamisprings-fl.gov/community/clune-stadnik-building
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