Ashley Sanchez is a Cuban American fourth-year student at Florida International University who was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She graduated with an Associates in Arts degree from Miami Dade College in 2018. After receiving her AA degree, she transferred to FIU in pursuit of a Bachelor of Science degree in Rehabilitation and Recreational Therapy. She is currently in the FIU Honors College and is part of the Pre-Therapy Students Association. She has also competed in several intramural sports at FIU including human foosball, volleyball, and kickball. She will begin applying to different graduate programs in the upcoming year to further her education in pursuit of becoming an Occupational Therapist. Ashley has a passion for adventure, sports, dancing and loves to spend quality time with her family and friends.
The city of Miami Springs was created 95 years ago in 1926 and it is located in Miami-Dade County on the east coast of Florida. “Miami Springs is located at 25°49’20″N 80°17’22″W (25.8223200, -80.2895000)” (Mapsofnet). The city lies at 7 feet/2 meters altitude and its density is 1,769 Pop. per km² as of 2020. The city is in a very central area, “Located ‘in the heart of it all,’ Miami Springs is bordered by Miami International Airport, the City of Hialeah, the Village of Virginia Gardens and the Town of Medley (About Miami Springs). The 2.9-square-mile, triangular-shaped city has an intriguing history and has flourished over the years without losing its “small-town” feel. The city offers its community a large array of “…family-oriented civic amenities, including parks, racquetball and tennis courts, golf course, municipal pool and new community center and theater” (About Miami Springs).
Miami Springs was originally known as the “Country Club Estates” and started with a population of only 128 residents. The city’s name was changed to Miami Springs because of the natural springs that were once located in the area. Miami Springs was the 5th municipality to incorporate after the City of Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, and Hialeah. The city played a role in the history of aviation in South Florida since it served as the location for Glenn H. Curtiss and James Bright’s flying school. It is no coincidence that today the city of Miami Springs is located near the Miami International Airport which is the primary airport serving the Miami area (History of Miami Springs).
Access to plentiful fresh water that could be found on the Miami Springs Golf Course property was a draw to City of Miami. As a matter of fact, “The freshwater wells found on the golf course provided the first organized water supply system for the City of Miami. Before that, residents relied on individual wells.” Understandably, the Miami Springs Golf Course plays an integral role in the history of the city—especially since it was the first one built in all of Miami-Dade County. The golf course is still in use today and has hosted many renowned events like the Miami Open and even community events like local tournaments and its annual fireworks show in celebration of the Fourth of July. An interesting fact about the golf course is that it was the first golf course in Florida to allow Black individuals to play (History of Miami Springs).
According to the United States Census Bureau, Miami Spring’s 2021 current population consists of 13,859 people (United States Census Bureau). Much of the population consists of women (53.7%) and persons 65 years and over (19.4%). The predominant races in the city are White (94.7%) and Hispanic or Latino (76.7%). Being that Miami Springs house prices are amongst the most expensive in all of Florida, the median household income is $61,795. There are 308 veterans living in the city and 52.8% of residents are foreign born persons (United States Census Bureau).
INTERVIEW WITH GABRIELLA PEREZ (A MIAMI SPRINGS RESIDENT)
Ashley: “Hello, please introduce yourself.”
Gabriella: “Hi, my name is Gaby Perez. I’m from Miami Springs, Florida. I study Business Analytics at the University of Norte Dame. I was born in Miami Beach, Florida but I went to school at Blessed Trinity Catholic School from the time I started Pre-K until I was 5 years old when my parents decided to move to Miami Springs.”
Ashley: “How would you describe Miami Springs?”
Gabriella: “I would describe Miami Springs as a family-friendly city. From my experience, families will move to Miami Springs when they are starting to have kids and stay there until they’re old. And this happens for multiple generations. Some of my best childhood memories are events I would go to with my family hosted by the city of Miami Springs. For example, every year they have a Fourth of July parade where they have a lot of fun events and free food. I took swimming lessons as a kid in the Miami Springs Recreation Center and played soccer in the local soccer league.”
Ashley: “Have you noticed any differences throughout the years you have lived in Miami Springs?”
Gabriella: “I live in front of the Miami Springs Golf Course and every year they host a Fourth of July fireworks show. Ever since my family and I moved to Miami Springs, we have made it a tradition to invite family and friends to watch fireworks in our front lawn. Something I’ve noticed as I’ve grown older is that every year, this event has become more and more popular which, in turn, has demanded for more security personnel and regulations regarding parking. I think that this is a trend that speaks for Miami Springs as a whole because I know that home prices have gone up throughout the years which is a resemblance of the fact that the city is no longer a ‘hidden treasure’ and people are now starting to discover it.”
Ashley: “Name something you don’t necessarily like about the city.”
Gabriella: “I think that Miami Springs is located in somewhat of a weird spot in the city, given that it’s a family-friendly town. It is located near the airport and 36th street which are both very hectic. Not to mention, the crime rate especially on 36th street is decently high and Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center is located minutes from Miami Spring’s town center. I remember having to go on lockdown when I went to school at Blessed Trinity Catholic School because someone escaped from that prison. I think all this is ironic since the city is known for its family-friendly atmosphere.”
Miami Springs is home to its very own Miami Springs Historical Museum which just recently had its grand opening on the first weekend of November. “The MSHMuseum focuses on the life of Glenn Curtiss, the Curtiss/Bright communities, and the commercial aviation industry of Miami” (Miami Springs Historical Society and Museum). The museum hosts three special exhibits called Wings/Memories of Eastern Airlines, Country Club Estates Becomes Miami Springs, and Battlecreek. The new museum is open every Saturday in the month of November for just a few hours in the middle of the day and limited timed entry tickets are required due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Glenn H. Curtiss Mansion and Gardens is another important historic landmark in the city of Miami Springs that cannot go unspoken. It’s hard to miss this prestigious landmark that is located in the golf course grounds. The Pueblo Revival-style Mansion is part of the National Register of Historic Places and was once owned by Glen H. Curtiss. Glen H. Curtiss was known as a great aviation pioneer. “Now managed by Curtiss Mansion, Inc. on behalf of the City, this architecturally unique venue is available for private rentals for meetings and celebrations of life’s milestones. The mansion has also become a central and welcoming gathering place for many local community groups and a variety of free or reduced admission events that are open to the general public” (Glenn H. Curtiss Mansion and Gardens).
Lastly, another historical landmark worth mentioning is the Clune-Stadnik Building that is also part of the National Register of Historic Places. This building is “The only surviving structure from the original ‘civic center’ envisioned by Glenn Curtiss” and “…has survived hurricanes, floods, fires, burglaries and buy-out attempts” (Clune – Stadnik Building). In the beginning years of the establishment, it was owned by the Curtiss-Bright Company and used for office spaces of the company’s chief engineer Daniel Clune and local small businesses. Today, it is known as the Miami Springs Pharmacy and it still houses private offices on the second floor. Interestingly enough, although the property was converted into a drug store, the exterior retains its original appearance (Clune – Stadnik Building).
Miami Springs has its very own dog park called the Bark Park located on 599 Quail Avenue. This is an “off-leash” dog park that welcomes all dogs to roam around freely and enjoy the outdoors. The park has many amenities to offer for both the dogs and their owners. There are benches situated around the park for owners to relax while they let their dogs enjoy themselves in either the small dog area or the large dog area. “This dog park is a favorite spot within the Miami Springs community, and many people claim that the park is well-maintained, quiet, and in a convenient location” (Miami Springs Bark Park).
Prince Field is one of the 3 beautiful parks the city of Miami Springs is home to. Located on 343 Payne Drive, the park has several amenities to offer to the community. It is home to the Miami Springs Golden Hawks Tackle Football team as well as the Miami Springs Area Little League. Three of the park’s amenities include a football field, two baseball fields, and a playground (Prince Field 343 Payne Dr.).
The Miami Springs Golf Course and Country Club is one of the city’s most visited spots. This golf course attracts both local and traveling players of all skill levels. The 18-hole course features 6,755 yards of golf and was designed by Thomas ‘Tubby’ Martin. As previously mentioned, this golf course has a rich history that plays a distinctive role in the city’s development (Miami Springs Golf & Country Club). The idea to construct a golf course was brought up by members of the Miami Coconuts Golf Committee because they did not have a clubhouse nor course to play on. “At the meeting in the spring of 1922 the Miami Coconuts decided that if Miami was to continue to grow as a resort center, facilities should be provided for the entertainment of thousands of guests who come to Miami” (Miami Springs Golf & Country Club). After many meetings and shortcomings because of the lack of money in the budget to construct the course, the Miami Springs Golf Course became Dade County’s first municipal golf course in 1923 (Miami Springs Golf & Country Club).
It is fairly easy and quick to get to Miami Springs from almost anywhere in South Florida since it is centrally located. The city itself even has its own transportation system called the City Bus which is a free MS/VG shuttle bus. The shuttle bus has stops in Hialeah and even offers a complimentary service to the airport from the E.B. Hotel (Free MS/VG Shuttle). If you want to use public transportation to get to Miami Springs, you can either use the bus or the subway. Stops closest to the city include; “…Westward Dr & Albatross St; N. Royal Poinciana@Oriole Av; W 3 St & Palm Av Hialeah; Okeechobee; Hialeah Market Station” (Moovit). The city, however, is easily accessible through car and even offers many parking options that do not require any sort of payment.
Crackers Casual Dining is a family-owned restaurant in the heart of the city that serves Southern dishes with a Florida twist. This restaurant is unique since it offers its guests the option of sitting indoors, outside under the Chicken hut, or even in their beautiful back garden. The garden is especially worth mentioning since it “…offers an al fresco feel with wild flowers and garden knick knacks for the eclectic touch” (Crackers Casual Dining). The restaurant offers lunch, dinner and brunch and their menu consists of a variety of options ranging from burgers, sandwiches, tacos, and soups. One of their most popular appetizers is their Fatty Fries which are french fries topped with freshly made gravy, cheese, and bacon (Crackers Casual Dining).
My personal favorite restaurant in Miami Springs located around the Circle is called Harvest Moon Gourmet Bistro. This restaurant serves a variety of healthy food options including natural juices, salads, smoothies, melts, gyros and sandwiches. The restaurant takes pride in “…providing the healthiest, fresh and delicious food since 1997” (Harvest Moon Bistro). Their Caesar Chicken Melt is especially worth mentioning because, in my opinion, it is their best menu item. It comes with chicken and Caesar dressing on top of melted mozzarella on a piece of flat pita bread.
Airport Cafe & Liquors is a full liquor store and restaurant located right behind the Miami International Airport. The family-owned place is unique to Miami Springs and is recognized as one of Miami’s best hidden gems. It has been open since 2007 and its known for its “…friendly atmosphere, ambiance, and quality service” (Airport Cafe & Liquors). The restaurant opens early to attract early bird customers and has a unique blend of menu items from a Central American Breakfast plate to a typical all-American breakfast plate.
The Glam Cult is “An intimate and chic aesthetic studio space, that creates a comfortable atmosphere for the client who wants the ultimate private experience. We offer a unique personal beauty experience where services are never double booked and the client receives the individual attention they deserve” (The Glam Cult). Located in a very secluded spot on the second floor of the Clune-Stadnik Building, the Glam Cult offers waxing, eyelash lifts, and skincare services.
Springs Dental is a dental clinic run by two dentists by the names of Dr. Legon and Dr. Navarrete. This dental clinic is known for providing optimal oral care for the community of Miami Springs and offering many different services “…from simple regular check-ups to cosmetic dental veneers, to complex full-mouth implant placements” (Springs Dental).
Animal General Hospital offers many pet services to its local community to ensure pet owners are satisfied with the hospital’s job in caring for their pets and keeping them healthy. It is a locally owned practice and provides extensive services that include, “General medicine, vaccinations, laser surgery, EKGs, radiology, endoscopy, and dentistry” (Animal General Hospital). Dr. Tom Campbell was the founder of the hospital and Dr. Kelly Murray is now the main veterinarian.
The city of Miami Springs is home to many locally owned businesses, outdoor spaces, and historical landmarks. The ambiance of the quaint and tranquil community make it a great place to raise a family considering its many family-friendly amenities. The history behind the city make it an integral part of the overall history of Miami-Dade county.
The city does a good job in maintaining a small-town feel by hosting a variety of local events that keep their community united. The Circle Theater at 33 Curtiss Parkway in Miami Springs plays a large role in bringing the community together. The Circle Theater hosts events sponsored by different organizations, churches, schools, and businesses that bring individuals from all over the city to gather in community.
Whether you’re stopping at the Miami Springs Golf Course & Country Club for a chance to get a hole-in one or trying out Cracker’s Casual Dining’s Fatty Fries, Miami Springs does not disappoint. Its central location attracts individuals from all over South Florida and its close proximity to the airport makes it a convenient location to visit if you are not a local.