Andro Bailly: Coral Gables 2021

Student Bio

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

My name is Andro Bailly, and I am a junior at FIU. I am an Honors college student majoring in International Business. My interests are cycling, rock climbing, investing, and having a good time with friends and family. I was born and raised in Miami and have spent many of my summers exploring the European nation. Upon graduation I will seek to further my education and pursue an MBA.


Photos by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0 and Google Maps

The neighborhood I have selected is Coral Gables. Coral Gables is one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in the Miami area. It has gorgeous houses, top tier restaurants, some of the greatest parks in Miami, Universities, and the beautiful Old Cutler road. The northern region is more urban and has a wide array of landmarks, galleries, businesses, restaurants, and museums. The urban area is heavily integrated with the public transportation system, making it easy to navigate around the northern half of Coral Gables.            

The southern half of Coral Gables is mostly composed of residential areas and high-class green areas such as Matheson Hammock park, Chapman Field, and Fairchild. There is limited presence of transportation, a few bus stops are present on the south western zone. Old Cutler is a magical road covered by a strong canopy of trees. On both sides of Old Cutler are high end houses that represent the upper income of Miami citizens. On the east side of Old Cutler are the coastal neighborhoods and the green areas that will be further described in the green section.


The origins of Coral Gables start with a man named George E. Merrick. In the year 1899 he purchased the land that is now Coral Gables and developed it with a Mediterranean style. The creation of the congressional church and the charter of the University of Miami occurred in the year 1925 ( Coral Gables has experienced exceptional growth and is a magnificent area but there are harsh truths that lay beneath its creation. Segregation is an innate feature of the US; it has been here since the beginning and is still present to this day. The US itself was built by people of all races and cultures yet these people were not treated equally. Coral Gables is no exception, it was largely built by the Bahamians ( The demographics section below will give a deep dive into just how segregated our society is currently, specifically Coral Gables.


Photo by Alec Lau / CC by 4.0

Coral Gables has a population of approximately 50,000 people. Of these 50,000 people, 92% of them are White individuals. Of this 92% of White people, 60% of them are Hispanic or Latino. The Coral Gables population is also well educated with 96.2% of the population graduating from high school and 66.7% having earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. The median value of household value is $846,000 which is significantly higher than the median value of a Dade County household which is $289,000. The median income in Coral Gables is $100,000 which is two-fold of the median income in Dade County. Black or African American account for 3.1% of Coral Gables while in Dade County they represent 17.7% of the population (

Above is a portrait of Alec Lau. Alec Lau is a resident of Coral Gables and was an ideal candidate for my interview. He is a close friend that I have known for over 7 years. He is a student at USC and loves to fish.

Question 1: Where do you live in coral gables and how long have you lived there for?

Answer: I live in Gables by the Sea and have lived here since 2005.

Question 2: Do you have any knowledge regarding the history of Coral Gables?

Answer: I do not have much knowledge about the history of Coral Gables, if any.

Question 3: What are your favorite aspects of Coral Gables?

Answer: My favorite aspects of Coral Gables are the amount of greenery, its proximity to the coast, the designs of the houses and buildings, and the restaurants/shops.

Question 4: What are your least favorite aspects of Coral Gables?

Answer: My least favorite parts of Coral Gables are the roads and traffic, costs of living, the number of regulations by the city, and the lack of public transportation.

Question 5: Where would you recommend a good place to eat in Coral Gables?

Answer: There’s a good variety of restaurants in Coral Gables. Personally, I would recommend going to somewhere like Bachour, Mamey Miami, or Havana Harry’s.


Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

This is a bunker that was built during the early 1960s because of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This bunker is located directly south of Matheson Hammock. When walking towards the ocean you can find a path that veers off into the forest and leads to this bunker. It is completely covered in graffiti and is a cool hangout spot that only some of the youth know about. The Cuban Missile Crisis directly involved South Florida because of its proximity to Cuba. This bunker was most likely used as an outpost that provided information regarding any threats that it could detect (

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

During the 1930s the US was enduring the Great Depression, as a result, President Franklin Roosevelt created an organization called the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Coral Gables needed assistance and needed a new municipal building that would house both firefighters, police officers, and a court room. In 1938 a deal between the WPA and Coral Gables had been formed ( As time went on, upgrades were required and this buildings usage as a court room and fire department were no longer suitable for the growth of Coral Gables. This building is now known as the Coral Gables Museum and most of the inside and outside of the Coral Gables museum has been preserved and is open to the public.

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

The picture above is of the luxurious Biltmore hotel. It was constructed in 1926 and was a glamorous hotspot that hosted all sorts of celebrations. During WWII, the Biltmore’s new purpose became that of a hospital. It was a VA hospital up until the year 1968, when it was abandoned. For many years it became a place for the youth to sneak into and spread stories of ghosts. It was later purchased by the City of Coral Gables and experienced a grand reopening in the year of 1973. It has a total of 350 rooms, has an expansive golf course, and once bragged of having the biggest pool in all the US (


Photos by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

Matheson Hammock park opened in the 1930’s and was the first Dade County park ( It is a common sight to see weddings, birthday parties, photo shoots, and relaxing picnics here. The picture on the left depicts the area of Matheson Hammock that is free and hugs Old Cutler Road. The coastal section of Matheson requires a small parking fee (you can also park in the free area and walk to the coastal spot free of charge) but is well worth it if you are interested in spending the day at a beach or enjoying some food at the highly rated Redfish by Chef Adrianne. A stunning view of downtown Miami as depicted on the picture on the right is another reason to visit the coastal part of Matheson.

Photos by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

This is Fairchild Botanical Gardens and was first opened in the year 1983. It is 83 acres of land containing plants that have been collected from all over the world ( There is also a magical butterfly exhibit that is a must see and hopefully visitors are lucky enough to spot the few hummingbirds in the exhibit. Fairchild is named after David Fairchild who is a world renown plant scientist and explorer. A visit to Fairchild on a Sunday will be rewarded with a high-level farmers market. Just be careful when walking around Fairchild’s body of water because there are alligators present. Rare plants and alien looking trees can be seen throughout the Fairchild layout. You can choose to walk and explore Fairchild yourself or hop on a trolley for a guided tour.

Photos by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

Once an airfield during WWI and WWII, Chapman Field is now a Miami Dade County park with over 850 acres of marshlands, mangroves, pineland, seashore, and a dog park ( It is a top location for those interested in hikes through nature, walking their dogs, canoe rides, and relaxation on the bay. Chapman field is named after an Airforce soldier that was the first casualty in WWI in France. The picture on the left is the first sights when exiting off the canoe/kayak ramp. The picture on the right is of the shoreline along Chapman. If you hike to the shoreline during low tide, you will be able to enjoy miles of shallow water, white sand, and sand bars perfect for relaxation or sports.


Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

The Coral Gables Trolley in the picture above is unique to the Coral Gables neighborhood. It is a free service provided by the City of Coral Gables and effectively eases traffic congestion (a serious problem in Coral Gables as mention by the resident Alec Lau). The metro station behind the trolley in the picture above is the Douglas Road Metrorail station and serves as a hub for the Metrorail line, Coral Gables Trolleys, and Metro Buses. Since the trolley is special to Coral Gables, its route is rather limited and extends in a circle surrounding the Douglas Road station. These trollies operate Monday through Friday from 6:30am to 8:00pm and arrive at stops on a 15-minute basis (

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

The Metrorail is speedy way to move north and south bound along US1. There are two stations that are accessible from the Coral Gables neighborhood. The Douglas Road station and the University station are roughly 1 mile apart from each other and are both along the same route. This route can take you all the way to Dadeland south and up to Downtown Miami. The Metrorail operates 7 days a week from 5am to 10pm ( There is a small fee to pay but the service is currently free because of the COVID pandemic.

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

The Metrobus on the left side of the picture operates in the Coral Gables neighborhood and has a far more complex and expansive route then the Coral Gables Trolley. These Metrobuses run 7 days a week and 24 hours a day, providing a cost-effective option for people to travel around Miami ( There are many routes and stops that pass through Coral Gables. This picture was taken at the Douglas Road station (one of the many Metrobus stops). Coral Gables residents and visitors are very lucky to have a public trifecta of transportation available to them. This greatly affects the ability of the lower wealth class to move around and perform necessary tasks.


Photos by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

El Taquito is a small Mexican grill located near Coco Walk and the coastal Peacock Park. This place offers authentic Mexican food at an affordable price. The picture on the right, is their menu which consist of common Mexican cuisine. This restaurant is special to me because when I was working in the area it was a common choice for lunch. The people who work at the restaurant reflect this authentic Mexican culture. This is not a chain so be sure to take advantage when you are walking down Main Hwy. I recommend the Tacos.

Photos by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

This is a pricier selection, Cracked by Chef Adrianne. Cracked was opened in 2018 by the popular Chef Adrianne. Their goal is to provide simple food from organic and free-range ingredients. They have a vegan friendly restaurant, and all items are locally sourced. The picture on the right is of the filet mignon steak sandwich with a side of truffled fries that I highly recommend if you are a meat lover. Chef Adrianne also has a restaurant located in Matheson Hammock park called the Redfish.

Photos by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

If you love Tacos and you love to eat Tacos on a Tuesday, then Taco Craft is the choice for you. Prices of Tacos are slashed by nearly 50% on Tuesdays. The ultimate way to take advantage of very high-quality tacos that are rather expensive compared to other Tacos. Their cheese dip which can be seen in the picture on the right is a must have side for a large group of people. Taco Craft gets busy after 8pm so make sure to show up earlier if you want to avoid a wait time above 20 minutes. My top 3 taco recommendations would be the Korean Short Rib, Key Lime Grouper, and the classic Carne Asada.


Photos by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

The business depicted above is the Deering Bay & Yacht and Country Club. This location is a haven for rich people that are retired or want a place to keep their large boats. They have a world class golf course and boats have direct access to the Atlantic Ocean. The Deering Bay & Yacht and Country Club is directly south of Chapman Field and was once a part of the airfield in WWI and WWII ( This club also offers top of the line cuisine and tennis lessons.

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

The Miracle Theater/Actors Playhouse was built in the years of 1947-48 ( It has 900 seats and is host to the performing arts. In the picture above you can see that The Jungle Book is going to be performed live on stage and the Wizard of Oz is going to be streamed. The main attraction now is for people who appreciate live performance. If you prefer to see live action talent performed in an Art Modern style building as opposed to your regular films then the Miracle Theater is the right way to go.

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

This funky looking building is the Home Financing Center, it was built in 1984 ( This business focuses on providing loans for people in the Coral Gables area that do not have enough money to purchase a house on their own. This spaceship building has around 70 employees and has an annual revenue of roughly 30 million dollars. If you are interested in buying your dream home but do not quite have the funds, then the Home Financing Center may be able to provide you with some aide.


Coral Gables is a one-of-a-kind neighborhood with a small yet telling history, epic green areas, great restaurants, special landmarks/monuments, and powerful businesses. Segregation and unfairness are a common tale in the US and Coral Gables is not exempt from this. It was built by Bahamians hired by George Merrick. Yet 92% of the Coral Gables population is white. Only 3% of Coral Gables is African American while 17% of Dade County is African American. These numbers alone show that the residents of Coral Gables are not a diverse population, and this can be attributed to Miami’s racist zoning laws. Non surprisingly Coral Gables is also a neighborhood with house values and annual incomes that are more than 2-fold the median in Dade County.

Coral Gables also has possibly one of the best public transportation ecosystems in Miami. The Douglas Road station serves as a hub for the Metrorail, Metrobus, and Coral Gables trolley. This allows for the lower income population to traverse throughout the Coral Gables neighborhood without a car and in a timely manner. This also eases the traffic congestion which is a problem that Alec Lau stated as his least favorite aspect of Coral Gables. Strong public transportation support allows for nonresidents to access the Coral Gables neighborhood which is beneficial for the businesses located there.

Chapman Field, Matheson Hammock, and Fairchild are some of the greatest green areas in all South Miami. In a concrete jungle it is not common to find heavens of natural Miami wildlife. Finding great restaurants, unique businesses, landmarks, museums, monuments, and the public transportation to take you there is an easy task in Coral Gables. Hopefully, this guide will give you some ideas as to what to visit when in Coral Gables.



Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Historic Timeline, Coral Gables Walking Tour, Stephanie Sepulveda & John W. Bailly, 11        March 2021

United States Census, Quick Facts, Miami-Dade County, Florida, Coral Gables City,miamicityflorida,coralgablescityflorida/PST045219

Abandoned Florida, Coral Gables Bunker

Coral Gables Museum, The Journey from Municipal Building to Museum by John Allen


WLRN, A History Of The Biltmore, Miami’s Best Known Creepy Hotel, 30 October 2014


The Living New Deal, Matheson Hammock Park – Coral Gables FL

              fl/#:~:text=The%20city%20got%20its%20first,Surfside%2C%20was%20added%20in%2      01932.

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, Mission & History

Agricultural Research Service, Chapman Field – The Evolution of a South Dade Army   Airdrome by Raymond G. McGuire, 1 January 2001

              research/docs/chapman-field-the-evolution-of-a-south- dade-army-airdrome/

Coral Gables – The City Beautiful, Coral Gables Trolley

Miami-Dade County, Metrorail

Deering Bay Yacht & Country Club, Club History

Zippia – The Career Expert, Home Financing Center Overview

Andro Bailly: Miami Service Project 2021

I am Andro Bailly, and I am a junior at FIU. My major is international business, and I am also an Honors college student. For this Miami service project, I volunteered with the Deering Estate. I selected this specific volunteering opportunity because of my extensive past with the Deering Estate. I care deeply for the environment and in this modern day there is crisis that does not seem to be getting any better. Pollution and global warming are permanently changing life on earth and without any change 99% of life is at risk of permanently perishing.

I have spent lots of time working with the Deering Estate and have been interacting with this institution for many years. My relationship began in 2013 when I was part of a homeschool educational program that revolved around science. During the summer of 2016 I completed over 120 hours of community service as Junior Naturalist at the Deering Estate. Since then, I have hosted multiple ocean/land clean ups with the Deering Estate to help the environment and raise awareness. I appreciate the experience the Deering Estate has provided and look forward to coordinating more cleanups. I have embarked on the Chicken Key clean up adventure multiple times. These experiences have allowed me to connect with this opportunity along with my “Finding Miami” class dedicating a session to this event.            

Although my major is international business, sustainability and the health of the earth are strong interests of mine. It is only common sense that people should care for the earth that makes life possible. The truth is that our current trend is not sustainable and deadly consequences will need to be faced. Specifically, my generation will have to take on this problem head on, letting the future generations take care of this problem is not an option. The facts are that population sizes of animals have decreased by at least over 50% in the past few decades. Everyday species are going extinct, and the rate of this decline is not expected to become better any time soon.

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Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

For this service project that occurred on April 17th I showed up to the Deering Estate at 10:30 am. The plan for the day is to have the group load up into canoes and then begin our journey to Chicken Key island which is roughly 5 miles away from the Deering Estate. I arrived slightly late because of a previous class that I was attending. Upon reaching the ocean I could see that the group had departed and was about halfway to the island. A fellow clean up member that had car troubles showed up at the same time as me. My new friend and I hopped in the canoe that was left for us and began our trip to the island. Fortunately, he was in shape and experienced with how canoes worked so we quickly gained on the group and managed to show up just 10 minutes after the main group arrived at the island. We were welcomed by the group that was enjoying an ocean swim to cool off before the hard day of work ahead.

After joining the group for a swim and conversing about life it was time to get to work. Everyone dried off and began equipping themselves with supplies required to walk through wild mangroves and pick up trash. I took a leadership role and motivated a group of 6 people to follow me south because of my experience I know that there tends to be more trash down there. To my surprise there was an unusually small amount of trash because of the frequency of clean ups that were occurring on the island. My group talked and had fun while we slowly but surely filled up our personal trash bags. We reached about 90% of the way to the most southern point of the island until my group members began to complain and stated they wanted to start heading back.

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Photo by John Bailly / CC by 4.0

I gave into the complaining of the group and we decided to start migrating back to main camp. Once we arrived at our destination it was time for everyone to start eating lunch. The sun was extremely hot and lots of students started gravitating towards the ocean once they had finished eating. I was conversing with a friend of mine and he asked if I wanted to go back conquer the southern point of the island. I was encouraged by his enthusiasm and gathered two other students that were nearby. With our stomachs full and sweat dripping down our backs we began our march back to the southern point of the island.            

Upon reaching the southern part that we had not made it to before we encountered a large amount of trash that I had originally expected to find. Our team quietly got to work and started filling our bags. There was so much trash that an entire other clean up could be done exactly in that southern perimeter. After working for a while, we had gathered a very large amount and I decided that we had reached the limit that the canoes could carry so we began our hike back to the canoes. Professor was ecstatic with the very large haul that the four of us had brought back. We began distributing the weight between the canoes. We hauled the canoes filled with trash back to the main group of students. We then relaxed in the ocean for 20 mins before embarking back to the Deering Estate.

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Photo by Annette Cruz / CC by 4.0

The journey back is where people tend to struggle because they are tired from picking up trash and the weight of the trash makes it difficult to control the canoes. I was able to canoe back with the same new friend I made. Our quick pace allowed us to reach the Deering Estate before everyone else. Once we reached land, we dropped off our supplies and upon request we went back out into the ocean so that we could provide support to people struggling. Eventually everyone had returned to land and gathered our trash for an epic victory picture.

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Photo by Deering Employee / CC by 4.0

This experience was a success. Having individuals that are in shape is the key to hauling back the maximum amount of trash. Working in groups makes the cleanup process enjoyable and helps pass the time. There really were not many problems that occurred besides the fact that some people in the group tended to complain or slack when it came to working. Overall, this service project was a success and we helped make a difference for the ecosystem of Chicken Key island.

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Andro Bailly: Miami as Text 2021

Photo of Andro Bailly in 2020. Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

Andro Bailly is a Junior at Florida International University majoring in International Business and part of the Honors College. He loves studying finance and actively investing in his future. After Graduating in 2022, Andro will pursue an MBA degree. Some of his favorite activities include cycling, rock climbing, enjoying the ocean, and tasting delicious foods. As Andro embarks on his journey through the Finding Miami class, he hopes to broaden his understanding of the land he was born and raised on.

Downtown Miami as Text

The Miami River. Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

“The Power of Time” by Andro Bailly of FIU at the Miami River

Modern Miami is a diverse and rapidly changing city. A bustling epicenter has attracted millions of people to visit this concrete jungle. Its population and attractiveness have grown drastically in the past serval decades. When people visit Downtown Miami they expect to see the expensive cars, dazzling boats, and the pristine beach ambiance. People who have lived in Miami are all too familiar with its bad drivers, wealth disparity, and its mouth-watering food options. One thing that is similar when comparing the majority of these two groups is that they probably don’t know about the Tequestas. As they enjoy the luxuries of the modern world, they take the same steps as the people who once inhabited these lands.

If you follow the coast of the Miami River in the picture above, you will end up at the original location of the Tequesta civilization. The Tequestas is the Native American Tribe that lived in Miami before the Europeans began migrating to the Americas. This location was stable when compared to surrounding areas because of the porous environment of South Florida. Hundreds of years ago the Taquestas enjoyed access to the ocean, which increases their ability to collect a diversity of resources. Their population eventually disappeared because of the weakness of their immune system to European sicknesses and discriminations from European settlers. Humanity has rapidly changed, leaving the story of the Taquestas to be carried on through time. This class has successfully passed on the story of the Taquestas to a new generation of scholars.

Everglades as Text

Photo by J.W. Bailly, CC by 4.0

“Silence” by Andro Bailly of FIU at the Everglades

Miami is one of many epicenters in the United States. Tall buildings and bustling streets define downtown. Whether you are an inhabitant or simply visiting Miami, you are engulfed into the hectic environment. Large businesses are in the process of migrating to Miami because of its attractive tax laws. The liveliness of Miami will continue to grow at a steady pace. Along with it will come an increase in people, traffic, construction, and noise pollution. The city never sleeps. The noise levels always reflect that of a living ecosystem of working humans.

Approximately 50 miles southwest of the center of Miami you will find the true heart of Miami. The entrance into the Everglades. An epic and vast ecosystem that harbors a large biodiversity of wildlife. The Everglades is a one of kind and rich with history. Yet there are tourists and inhabitants of Miami who have never stepped foot into this glorious landscape. Our FIU class was fortunate enough to be able to go slogging through a special part of the Everglades. At one point, the class gathered, and the Park Ranger instructed us to have a moment of silence. This moment of silence is a luxury that not many people can enjoy, especially when you are in downtown Miami.

This silence is filled with life. You can hear the wind, birds, and the trees bumping into each other. It creates a calming sensation when you solely focus on this silence. As humanity continues to rapidly expand and evolve, experiences such as this Everglades adventure become more valuable. Preservation of these magical areas is a priority that has often been overlooked. Once class concluded, there was a post-class discussion led by a historian named Cesar. Cesar demonstrated how the integrity of the Everglades has been in jeopardy multiple times and till this day is fighting against the side effects of an ever-growing society. It is important to appreciate this silence while you still can, our class has allowed people to enjoy this experience.

South Beach as Text

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

“Preservation and Progression” by Andro Bailly of FIU at South Beach

Humans have been living on Miami Beach for thousands of years. Fast forwarding to the 20th century, Miami Beach was a small town inhabited by both blacks and whites. It was until Carl Fisher discovered it in 1910 that Miami Beach would change at a rapid pace. Carl Fisher was a visionary who saw Miami Beach as a pristine opportunity. He began purchasing land and developing the land to make it suitable for a large influx of wealthy white people. The connection of the railroad to Miami Beach would mark a turning point for the prevalence of segregation based off skin color in Miami Beach. Blacks helped build Fisher’s dream and when he didn’t need their help, he turned his back on them.

In response to the Blacks no longer being allowed access to Miami Beach they began going to an Island directly south of Miami Beach. Which they were also eventually kicked out of. This is now ironically called Fisher Island and the inhabitants are among the wealthiest in the world. Racism and segregation are present in the roots of Miami beach history. Earthly devastation of mangroves and an array of species was another factor in Fishers equation for a paradise. To prepare the land for mass construction, destruction of natural wildlife was needed. The beauty of Miami Beach is built on destruction, segregation, and greed.

Although Miami Beaches growth from Fisher may have a lot of negative aspects, it has given birth to beautiful architecture. In the present day, you will find 3 prominent architectural styles along Miami Beaches Ocean Drive. Mediterranean revival is a style of building that relates to the Earth. You can expect tiled roofs and earth type colors. Art Deco style is the most famous style and most common when strolling down Ocean Drive. Art Deco buildings appear as if they were a boat or spaceship that landed on a street. Dominated by pastel colors and building eyebrows that are present in the picture above. The third style that stands out the most would be Memo. A style of tall modern buildings with large amounts of glass and features adopted from Art Deco buildings.

It is important for our generation to understand and learn from how the Miami Beach as we know today was created. It is even more important if the history is filled with injustices, so that we can help prevent similar events from occurring.

Deering Estate as Text

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

“Diversified Luxury” by Andro Bailly of FIU at Deering Estate

The Deering Estate is a valuable historical site in the Miami area. The Deering Estate was one of the homes of Charles Deering. Charles was a well-off individual that had strong interests in art and nature. His financial position allowed him to indulge in endeavors such as the creation of this estate and the art which it held. There is Miami and European influence present in the architectural style. There is a ceiling mosaic created entirely by local marine objects. The marine objects included sea sponges, sand dollars, and an assortment of all different types of shells.

In the past, the Estate was filled with famous artwork the Charles had decided to transport directly from Europe. This action created friction because the people from Europe felt that he was taking part of their history away from them. Eventually the government decided that these art works would need to be returned to their original location. Now the rooms in the stone household are filled with modern art, old books, and some awfully small sized beds. The wooden cottage is filled entirely with props and technically the entire building is a replica because of hurricane Andrew.

A personal favorite location on the estate would be the hidden alcohol cellar located beneath the stone household. As Charles aged, he was known as an alcoholic that may have been losing his grip. During this time in the US there was prohibition. Charles securely held his prized alcohol in a underground vault that seems it was built to store gold. The hidden door was more than 1 foot thick!

The location of the Deering Estate is also significant because the Tequestas resided there. On the sprawling 444 acres, there are diverse biomes that hold hidden treasures from the past. In our class we took the time to find some of these treasures and connect with the history. The main prize was an untouched Tequesta burial mound. We also trekked through the mangroves to visit an abandoned airplane that crashed in the mangroves. The class also enjoyed a hike through the pine rocklands. Finally, we interacted with real tools that the Tequestas themselves used to perform daily tasks.

A day at the Deering Estate demonstrated how a location that is not widely known can be a so intertwined with not only the history of Miami but with countries across the Atlantic as well.

Vizcaya as Text

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

“True Miami” by Andro Bailly of FIU at Vizcaya

The Villa Vizcaya is a 50-acre mansion property that has a mix and mash of different cultures and historical influences. Vizcaya was one of the homes of James Deering. James Deering was the half-brother Charles Deering. When comparing the Deering Estate and Vizcaya, it is obvious that James was far more flamboyant. If James Deering took interest in arcs meant for military victories, stained glass, or special marble, he would purchase it. James Deering doesn’t care if it wasn’t part of his culture or if people think his purchases are not being used appropriately. This type of mentality is present in Miami residents to this day and embodies what attracts tourists to Miami.

As a real Miamian I know that residents of Miami love to buy the newest products and flash it to as many people as possible. It doesn’t matter which country the product is from or how the product was created. Much like James Deering, the modern-day people of Miami concern themselves with a materialist façade. This façade in most cases hides an individual who isn’t educated on the history of their material objects. James Deering also purchased the newest technology. He had a room solely dedicated to making phone calls. Just like James, people in Miami always need the newest iPhone and the newest cars or they won’t fit in.

While walking through his villa you can observe that all his rooms have different themes. Ranging from mute and calm rooms into architecturally rich French style rooms. With floral walls and rich chandeliers to organs being covered up by paintings that split in half. This diversity demonstrates James willingness to purchase whatever he wants because he likes it. The rest of the property is filled with Italian renaissance styled gardens and calm fountains of Islamic origin.

Surrounding the outskirts of the well-tended gardens are the mangroves. Mangroves are the roots which hold Miami together. This luxurious property has all the elements of Miami and James Deering has the mentality of the Miami rat. For students who are new to Miami, this visit to Vizcaya gave unique insight into further understanding the Miami culture. For students who are well versed with the Miami life, they may take pride in the beautiful origination of their culture.

Marguiles as Text

Photo by Andro Bailly / CC by 4.0

“Diversity and Purpose” by Andro Bailly of FIU at the Marguiles Collection

The Marguiles Collection is a 45,000 square foot warehouse in Wynwood that holds a large variety of artworks. Unlike an art gallery, a collection is composed of works that are not for sale and in most cases is an owner courteously showing his collected works to the public. In this instance the Marguiles collection is owned by Martin Z. Marguiles, a top tier collector known globally. He made his wealth by developing real estate in the Miami area. Once you reach a certain upper level of wealth then the question of “What do I spend all this money on?” arises. Marguiles decided art was the perfect answer.

Our Finding Miami class was fortunate enough to have a personal tour of the Marguiles collection from Mr. Marguiles himself! He was able to give us an in-depth review of nearly every artwork in his collection in and provide insight on how he ended up with it. He was passionate and welcoming especially because we are students, which is why students are granted free admission. The fact that Marguiles took time out of his day to give a tour to college students demonstrates his care for the youth. Regardless of your major, appreciating art is an act that does not discriminate and the Marguiles collection is the perfect place to start. There are also complimentary drinks located in the back of the collection, another plus furthering Marguiles generosity towards art appreciators.

Once a year Marguiles decides to swap out the art works in the current collection for ones that are hiding in storage. Marguiles has collected over 4,000 works and personally decides which works will displayed in the next season. This upcoming winter there will be an entirely new array of works in the warehouse minus a few that Marguiles designates as permanents. Marguiles contributes to society with more than just his expansive and world class art collection. There have been some instances where he has sold art works and utilized the funds to support his Lotus House. The Lotus House is a homeless shelter designated for women and children.

The Marguiles collection has a deeper connection with my Finding Miami class because of the generosity demonstrated my Martin Z. Marguiles. With an impending circulation of art works displayed in the Marguiles collection there is a large incentive to visit this upcoming winter. Hopefully more people walking down the streets of Wynwood or driving on the expressway find their way to the Marguiles collection.

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