Miami Pioneer Merchant Arrives in 1896

Cohen Family in 1919

Cohen Family in 1919

On February 6th, 1896, Isidor Cohen arrives in Miami, three months ahead of the arrival of the first train. Although the Sewell brothers may have argued differently, Cohen was considered the first merchant to open a store in what would become the City of Miami. He opened a clothing store on the south side of the Miami River.

It wouldn’t take long for Cohen to realize that all of the activity was on the north side of the river, and he promptly closed his south side store and reopened it on the north side near the corner of 12th Street and Avenue D (later called Flagler Street and Miami Avenue).

Cohen was very civic minded and involved in a lot of early Miami organizations. From 1902 to 1906 he was president of the Miami Merchant’s Association. He served as treasurer and trustee of the Miami Board of Trade in 1906-07. He was also president of the Dade County Fair Association in 1908.

There are many more organizations that would provide for a very lengthy resume for Isidor Cohen. He was also considered Miami’s first permanent Jewish settler.

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Read more information at “Jews of Greater Miami” by Marcia Jo Zerivitz, Jewish Museum of Florida (Book)

Also, read more about Isidor Cohen at “Burdines: Sunshine Fashions and the Florida Store”, by Seth Bramson (Book)