Hugo Marin: Miami Springs 2021


Hello! My name is Hugo Marin, I am a junior finance major at Florida International University Honors College. Some of my hobbies include traveling, wakeboarding, and paintball. I love to explore, try new things, and am constantly on the lookout for cool restaurants.  I am a Miami native, being born in Baptist Hospital and have lived in Kendall for all 21 years of my life. Being able to drive for the past five years I would say I know most of Miami like the back of my hand.  I don’t know to much about the cities above the airport, which is why I was excited to do this project on Miami Springs.


Miami Springs is located directly North of Miami International Airport, West of Hialeah, East of Virginia Gardens, and South of Medley. While the city only has a total area of 3 square miles it truly makes the most with what it has. This city is packed with all types of business, restaurants, houses, 15 schools, 11 churches, 3 parks, and a golf course. The main roundabout known as the circle is where you can find most Miami Springs restaurants and businesses. The city features multiple runner and bike paths that go all around and throughout the city. The city is very clean and features lots of greenery.

Pictures taken of Miami Springs by Hugo Marin


Before Miami springs was developed land, it was bought by Glenn H. Curtiss and James Bright to start an aviation school.  Miami Springs was originally known as “Country Club Estates”. When the residents of the estates voted and elected a mayor in 1926 it became the fifth municipality to be incorporated in Miami. The name Miami Springs came from the natural springs that used to be in that area, but due to construction of the canal the water pressure dropped and drained out the springs. The history of Springs is also tied to the history of the Miami Springs Golf and Country Club which predates the city. The biggest mansions can be found along the perimeter of the golf course including the home of Glenn Curtiss. His historic house is built in the Pueblo Revival architecture style which can be seen in other homes across the city. Another example of this style can be seen in the Country Club Hotel which later became Fair Havens Retirement Center. Miami Springs has been certified as a Tree City USA since 1993 and was recently named a “Preserve America City” in 2008 by first lady Laura Bush.


According to the United States Census there is 13,809 people and 4,988 households in Miami Springs. The racial makeup of the city was 93.4% White, 1.6% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 1.9% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 71.2% of the population. The city has a spread-out age range with 23.2% under the age of 19, 5.6% from 20 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 29.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. 84.3% of the population has obtained their high school degree and 35.4 has obtained a bachelors degree. The median income for households were $61,636, and the median income for a family was $75,575. Around 5.4% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.7% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over (

The photograph above is of Maria Pino, a resident I interviewed. Maria has been a resident of Miami Springs since May 1977. She recently moved to a new house in Springs because her old home was too big. Along with her husband she raised her five kids in her old house and lived in that home for 44 years. Her favorite thing about Springs is the small-town atmosphere the city has, how clean the city is, and the abundance of nature there is in the city. Her least favorite thing about Miami Springs is that the city has some extreme regulations and the how the real estate is being overpriced. During the interview she explained that there is a strong sense of community in the city and that practically everyone knows one another. Some of the big community events are parades for the holidays, children activities, festivals, fairs, and seasonal farmer markets.  She very much loves her city which is why she chose to move just a couple streets down from her old home.


Glenn H. Curtiss Mansion and Gardens

Located at 500 Deer run the Curtis Mansion was home to the, “Father of Naval Aviation”, Glenn H Curtiss. Glenn raised his family in this home from its construction in 1925 until his death in 1930. The mansion was designed by Martin Luther Hampton, in the 1920s. He also designed the Miami Beach City Hall and the Congress Building in downtown Miami.  The mansion was designed in the Pueblo Revival-style which set the tone for other homes and buildings across early Miami Springs. The mansion is now owned by the city and was revitalized to its original condition by a volunteer group that raised $4.5 million. This Mansion has been designated a National Register of Historic Places in (2001), and Designated Miami Springs Historic Site (1987). The mansion is now used for community events, tourism, and can be rented out for different occasions.

Clune – Stadnik Building

This building was constructed during the early days when Miami Springs was called Miami Country Club Estates. This building is in the Circle at 45 Curtiss Parkway. Since this building is 2 feet above the ground it was able to survive a flood caused by a hurricane that wiped out other building in that area. The building has also survived through fires, burglaries, and buy out attempt. The Clune building has gone from a civic center to a pharmacy to a diner and now it’s a Spanish restaurant.  The building was designated a National Register of Historic Places (1985), and Designated Miami Springs Historic Site (1989).

Hotel Country Club (Fairhavens)

The Hotel Country Club is located on 201 Curtiss Parkway. This Country club was built in the Pueblo Revival-style and was built to attract potential homeowners to the Estates. During the financial crash Curtiss sold it to his friend Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. During his time owning the building Kellogg allowed members who weren’t white to stay in the hotel, this was very uncommon for the time because most hotels were segregated. In this building Kellogg also, raised his adoptive family, treated sick patients, and developed soy based food products. The building was turned into an elderly people home in 1959. It was designated Miami Springs Historic Site (1984).


Miami Springs Golf and Country Club

Looking at any map you can see the golf course is easily the biggest green space in Springs.  It Is located right in the center of Miami springs and is divided up by a street.  This golf course features 18 holes and over 6775 yards of golf. Holes 1-9 are located on the east side of the road and holes 10-18 are located on the west. On the west side there is also a range where golfers can practice their drives. Miami Springs Golf and Country Club is known for being the only practice facility with nighttime access. The Golf and Country club was established in 1923 making it the oldest in golf course in Miami. This golf course hosts the Miami Open and is known to be the home course of legends like Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen.

Stafford Park

This park is located on the right side of Miami Springs. This park has two soccer fields, one baseball field, a softball field, and a playground for kids. This park was really packed when I went and seemed to be very popular because of all the sports games they had going on. The playground for the kids has a tent for shade as well as two gazebos they had for seating.

Miami Springs Dog Park

The dog park also featured 1 speedball field, 4 tee ball fields, and a playground for kids. The dog park had two sections one for large dogs and one for smaller dogs. There were plenty of ramps and obstacles for the dogs to play on as well as a fountain for them to drink from. There was also plenty of seating for the owners to watch their dogs while they play.


For the most part everyone in Miami Springs drives around in cars. Since the city is so small though there are always plenty of pedestrians and bikers traveling from place to place. The city does a great job at providing bike and runner lanes. The city also provides a free shuttle that has 14 stops in Miami Springs and 3 stops outside the city in Hialeah. This shuttle operates from 7am- 6 pm and completes its trips every hour on the hour with a 15-minute variance.  


Harvest Moon Gourmet Bistro

Harvest Moon has been open since the 90s and is in The Circle. This family owned restaurant has an array of sandwiches, smoothies, soups, and salads. Harvest moon is known for being healthy and gets all their ingredients fresh every morning. The seating is like a café style and is outside in their garden patio. I tried their pita melt and its unlike any pita melt I have tried before; the pita melt looks like a pizza. I ordered their strawberry smoothie and Harvest Moon Melt (8.75) which has Chicken breast mixed with mayo, cinnamon, raisins, almonds apples on a piece of flat pita bread with melted cheddar cheese and comes with a garden salad. Overall, I would rate this restaurant an 8.5/10 because I loved their scenery, food was delicious, and it was very affordable.

JR’S Burger Gourmet Burgers

JR’s Burger was founded in 2010 and is in the Miami Springs Circle. The restaurant is very small with limited indoor seating and has very few employees. Don’t let that fool you though because this hole in the wall burger joint is now easily one of my favorite burger places in Miami. They have won seven national awards for their burgers. I ordered their award-winning Mac and Cheese balls that comes with Pico de Gallo and Chipotle Mayo. I also ordered their award-winning Burger and The Beast which is their hand pressed Angus Beef, cooked medium well, on a toasted corn dusted bun, with their pink sauce, grilled onions, and American cheese. The food was impeccable and so savory I’m rating this restaurant a 9/10.

Cozy Corner

Cozy Corner is a staple restaurant of the Miami Springs circle and has been there for over 20 years for years. Cozy Corner is a Retro-style mom-and-pop diner dishing up breakfast favorites, plus homestyle comfort food. Although I wasn’t able to eat here the atmosphere felt very comforting and authentic, truly a blast to the past. My tour guide of Springs rated this restaurant an 8.5/10. She described this place as your classic American diner and recommends over any of the chains like IHOP, Dennys, or waffle house


Springs Athletics

Located in 60 Westward Dr, Miami Springs, FL 33166 Springs Athletics is a small affordable gym for the local people. This gym features lots of catechistic equipment and weights. They primarily focus on group workouts and describe themselves as more of a fitness club. You can see them do group runs around Springs or group workouts in their gym. The team routinely trains at the beach and other outdoors locations. They have the spartan as their mascot on their logo.

Manny’s Cigars

Located in 261 westward drive suite 111 Miami Springs, FL Mannys cigars is a small shop that offers premium cigars. They describe themselves as a premium cigar shop and smokers lounge dedicated to excellent customer service and the best products in the industry at their best quality! This small shop is very popular with the Cubans in springs. They have moderate prices on their cigars.


Empire boutique is in 46 Westward Drive, Miami Springs Florida 33166. This small shop offers custom streetwear and vintage clothing. They routinely do new drops of clothing and accessories. One of their most popular tees is Miami runs on Cafecito. Some of the accessories they have are air pod cases, umbrellas, and candles. They moderately price their clothing with vintage clothing running up to $150.


Overall Miami Springs is a small city with lots of rich history. The small size of the city gives the city character though because it strengthens the community bond. Almost everyone in Miami Springs knows one another. My guide for this also showed me that Springs has everything you possibly need like doctor, dentist, gym, auto repair, etc. You technically don’t need to leave the 3-mile square area. In the city’s Circle you truly feel like you’re in an old time American city. The only thing that I would say doesn’t work is that since they are so focused on preserving the city, I don’t think any new development is going to happen here especially since there isn’t any more space.

Work Cited

“History of Miami Springs – Miami Springs News and Events.”, 22 Jan. 2020,

“History.” Miami Springs Golf & Country Club,

“Hotel Country Club (Fairhavens).” City of Miami Springs Florida Official Website,

Hugo Marin: Miami as Text

Hi everyone, My name is Hugo Marin and I am a Finance major attending FIU Honors College. I am a Miami local and have lived here for all 21 years of my life. I grew up in an Ecuadorian household because both sets of grandparent came from Ecuador, during my parents high school years, in search of a better life. I feel very blessed to grow up both as an American and as an Ecuadorian. These dual cultures were extremely easy to integrate into Miami because of the strong hispanic presence in our city. I love to wakeboard, surf, travel, and explore. Having seen most of Miami all my life, I am excited to take a different approach and see my city in a new light.

DOwntown miami as text

“More Than Meets the Eye” By Hugo Marin of FIU at Downtown

Downtown Miami, the heart of my city, my home. Coming into this guided tour I was not expecting much. I thought that I could learn little Easter eggs here and there about downtown. However, I was blown away by how much I did not know about areas that I have passed by a million times before. The city has such a rich and diverse history that was never really taught to me in schools. The only way to learn this information is to be an active learner and go out into the world.

Going out into the world is something that has been taking away from us because of the pandemic. So, it was great that I got the opportunity to get to do so with FIU. I thought it was funny that my first in person class in almost a year wasn’t even in an actual classroom. We first met up at the government center at the “Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels”. I had not been inside the government center since the 2013 Miami Heat Parade. Although, I have passed by that street plenty of times, I’m embarrassed to say that I always thought that was just an abstract art piece. This was the start of a trend of things that I’ve seen but never taken the time to appreciate and learn what they actually are. From there we made our way towards the underpart of the highway by the new skate park. From prior knowledge, I already knew how the highway devastated the African American community in OverTown. When the highway was being built the community was forced to split causing many business and people to leave the area. What I didn’t know was, what that devastation meant in reality. To actually be there to experience the constant noise of cars, the smell of CO2, and the homeless crisis that’s happening there opens your eyes to the extent of damage that the highway has caused.

One of the things that stood out to me on this tour, was the history of the Tequesta or the lack there of. It was very sad to find out how little we know about Miami’s true native population. We learned about how most were killed by disease and then forced out of the strip of livable land. What made this worse was how their history was erased time and time again. For example, Flagler instructed his railroad workers to build over and discard a Tequesta burial site. Then later on, a building was constructed over a center of their civilization. This center, known now as the Miami circle, is located next to where the fresh water from the Miami river meets the salt water of the ocean. Most recently the Whole Foods in downtown was built over a Tequesta site and the archeologist were given barely any time to conduct research.

The most memorable part of the tour was when we gathered at a Miami’s Lummus Park and discussed the history of plantations in the south. The buildup of that discussion, to the final reveal of there being a fully intact slave quarters right behind us, was unlike anything I ever experienced in school. It was amazing to see a building with such a rich history just sitting in a random park in downtown. This is when I realized the importance of this type of learning that cannot be replicated in a classroom. Even if I read the info sign about Fort Dallas on my own, it would have not sparked this type of invested curiosity. I have never been so excited to pass on the things I learned in class to my family and friends.


“How it Was Supposed to be” By Hugo Marin of FIU at Everglades

Miami is renowned for its beaches and sunny blue skies. You would think that this city is very in touch with nature, but unfortunately that is not the case. Many people from Miami live the “salt life” because of how close we are to the ocean but Miami’s true nature has been lost. Other than the occasional park, Miami is mostly streets, houses, and buildings. If you want to see how Miami was supposed to be without human intervention you have to go out west to one of the largest national parks known as the Everglades.

I have visited the Everglades numerous times before with family and friends. Usually when I have come we go to the main visitor centers like the Anhinga trail. Sometimes we come at night to get the best view of meteor showers. I have never visited the park like this though. To be able to go of trail and actually go into the everglades was an experience I will never forget. The activity we did was know as Slough Slogging. We parked our cars of the main road and proceed to enter what is called the Double Dome. A dome is made up a bunch of cypress trees that concentrate at the to give it a dome shape. As the cypress trees age there roots dig up more of the soil creating very deep spots at the center of the dome. These spots can have water all the way up to your shoulders. It was exciting and scary to be shoulder deep in the same water as alligators. Although, our ranger assured us that we had nothing to worry about as they were more scared of our big group and were probably long gone before we got anywhere near them. I still had the chance to see other wildlife like birds, lizards, spiders and a Florida Gar.

The whole Slough Slogging experience was easily my favorite part of the whole day but what I enjoyed the most about the slough slogging were three instances where I felt like I was truly connected to the land. The first instance was when the ranger told us to have a moment of silence and just listen. Since we were in a big group the silence was a huge change to the noise we were making before. Once we all quieted down I was able to hear the wind swaying the trees, the birds calling one another, and the splashes of water. Not only was I able to hear more clearly but I was also able to feel more clearly as well. I could feel the slow rush of the water around me and the sunlight making its way through the trees. The next instance where I felt connected to the land was when we made it all the way to the other side of the the Double Dome. Being on the other side of it you could truly appreciate its scale and beauty. It felt like an accomplishment to be out in the wilderness having successfully gone through the Double Dome. The final instance was on our way back where we were encourage to go of on our own. This instance felt like the moment of silence tenfold. The water was crystal clear when you went of on your own. This was when I was able to see more wildlife as well and could appreciate everything more. Although when I noticed all the wildlife I was seeing I got worried about seeing an alligator and quickly made my was back closer to everyone else.

There was a point when we talked about how other places have such rich history and culture because of the land that they live on. Miami isn’t as old as other places, but since we have this shared land and experience culture can be cultivated from this. Like how a poet that comes to do Slough Slogging by herself, creates poems from her experiences here. This experience is Miami.


“The Most Diverse 450 Acres In Miami” By Hugo Marin Of FIU at Deering Estate

This trip to the Deering Estate has been the one that has surprised me the most so far. This is because this trip was was not what I expected to see at all. I was expecting to go to an Estate. In my mind an estate is when a rich person has a mansion with a lot of land that’s usually well taken care. In the entrance of the estate this preconceived notion of mine was true. It was a beautiful mansion with a Mediterranean type of architecture. The landscape was very well groomed and taken care of. Behind the mansion was a picture perfect set up of palm trees on either side of a man made canal, overlooking the ocean. This estate was so beautiful its a no brainer why there was a wedding being set up there on our visit. The mansion itself was also very well kept and was like a blast into the past with its interior design style and preserved kitchen, bedrooms, and prohibition era alcohol vault. Although this was all super cool and the history of this place was fascinating, none of this was completely un expected. What I didn’t expect was our 7 mile hike into various ecosystems that are also on the estate.

At the start of our trip here, we left the well groomed land up to a gate that normal visitors usually aren’t allowed to go past. Here we were instructed to put on our bug spray as we waited for one of the workers to come open the gate for us. This gate gave me Narnia or Bridge to Terabithia vibes as it felt like we were fully transported into a new world. On our hike we came across six different type of ecosystems that were being conserved on the property. The six ecosystems we came across were the Hardwood Hammock, Salt Marsh, Pine Rocklands, Mangrove Forest, Sea Grass Beds, and Slough Creek Habitat. I was amazed how every mile or so we were in a completely new and unique ecosystem that was very different from the previous one. What amazed me the most was the rock ridges, caves, and cliffs that we saw because I didn’t expect that to be found in South Florida. Its crazy to think that all of these ecosystems can be found just a couple miles of US one .

Vizcaya as text

“Money, Party, Art” By Hugo Marin of FIU at Vizcaya

Even though I have lived in Miami all my life I have never been to Vizcaya. My parents have always told me to go there which is why I was very excited for this trip. Upon arriving there I was greeted by lost of Greek statues in the entrance and a roman archway. These are the type of things you would find in a museum in Europe but they were just chilling here in Vizcaya. At the entrance of the mansion we are greeted by the Greek God of wine and pleasure. This theme of pleasure and luxury is one that is constantly thrown at your face while going around the property. This property reminded me of the Great Gatsby and the extravagance of that mansion and party life in the early 1920s. Although I think Vizcaya might have the Great Gatsby beat.

The house itself was uniquely designed in that the rooms all flowed into each other and the “outside” seamlessly connected to the “inside”. Each room was just filled with so much art it all looked like it was supposed to be in a museum. My favorite room was the courtyard in the center of the house that connected all the rooms together. Unfortunately, when we went there was a lot of construction happening outside so we couldn’t really appreciate the fake boat that was built in the water that’s purposes was to break the waves from hitting the yachts that would park there. The Vizcaya Gardens were beautiful it had mazes, fountains, statues, and a canal were guest would come on their boats. This whole place looks like someone wanted to create the greatest party house ever. I can only imagined what it would be like to have gone to one of the parties hosted here.


“One of Wynwood’s First” By Hugo Marin at The Margulies

It was really cool that the final trip we took was to an art collection. Last time i went to an art museum was at PAM over three years ago. I’m not really a huge art person but it was very cool to have this experience. What I found most fascinating was Martin Z Margulies the owner of this private collection. The story of him goes that he wasn’t very much into art, he mostly enjoyed sports and only bought an art piece for his girlfriend. Years later his girlfriend is a sports reporter and he is ne of the largest private art collections. The reason that he does this is not to horde art but rather to share it with the public and to meet new and interesting people. I was very jealous when I found out he was there early in the day for the other classes I would have very much liked the opportunity to get to meet him. He was one of the first to open an art collection in Wynwood before Wynwood became what it is today. I’m glad that has given back to the community with the center for women and children because one of the main things against Wynwood is that the area has become gentrified and is hurting the locals that used to live there.

This type of collection had one of my favorite types of art which is contemporary art. I like contemporary art because its not conventional art and really makes you think. At the same time though contemporary art can mean nothing and just be fun to look at. The four pieces that stood out to me were the T.Vs with the animals playing, the Last Supper, the sacks, and the elevator on the wall. The T.Vs with the animals playing was super fun to look at because of how it humanize the animals and you can see all different types of animals just having fun. The last supper one was interesting to me because it shocked me, being a catholic I found it slightly offensive and the shock value that it provided me was something that I found interesting. The sacks were fun because I have never experience an art piece that’s main focus was the use of scent. Finally the elevator one was one of my favorites because of how random it was and I could only imagine how awkward it must have been to film. I will definitely return to this collection with friends and family because of how affordable this collection is to see, everyone in Miami should go check it out.

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