The featured photo is a picture of Avenue B and Twelfth Street in downtown Miami in 1910, which is better described as the intersection of SE Second Avenue and Flagler Street in today’s address parlance. The photograph highlights the simpler times of the Magic City less than fifteen years after incorporation. While Twelfth Street (aka Flagler Street) was becoming the most important commercial thoroughfare in the young city by this time, it was still primarily a residential street.
The photographer would have been standing in the middle of Avenue B (aka SE Second Street) when he snapped the picture. To the west of his vantage are two residences that were part of one of Miami’s earliest subdivisions which featured the Royal Palm Cottages erected by Flagler’s East Coast (FEC) Railway to provide housing for employees of the organization.
The residence on the southwest corner of the intersection was at one time occupied by Dr. James Jackson, the physician of the FEC organization, and his wife. It was from the porch of this home when Ethel, the doctor’s wife, looked across the street (the northeast corner of the intersection), at a vacant lot and suggested to James that they should buy the property and construct their permanent home. In 1899, the couple constructed their residence on that corner, as seen in the feature photo, and lived there until they sold the property in 1916. The corner would become the home of the Olympia Theater during the building boom of the 1920s.
On the northwest corner of the intersection stood the Halcyon Hall Hotel which was designed and financed by hoteliers Salem and Emily Graham. The Grahams opened the Halcyon Hotel on January 20, 1906, just a few years prior to when the featured photo was taken. The hotel stood until 1937 when it was razed to make room for the Alfred I Dupont building which still stands on that corner today.
On the southeast corner of the intersection, one might notice a wooded vacant lot. This corner would become the home of the Woman’s Club clubhouse and Miami’s first public library in 1912. Henry Flagler donated the land on this corner and provided funding to construct the building under the stipulation that it could only be used as a clubhouse and library. Later, the Woman’s Club got James Ingraham to amend this stipulation and sold it to the Tatum Brothers who retrofitted the existing building into their real estate office. Later it became the location of the Walgreen’s building and today has been renovated as a food hall concept called Julia and Henry’s, which was named to honor two of Miami’s founding pioneers: Julia Tuttle and Henry Flagler.
As indicated earlier, the northeast corner of the intersection was the location of Dr. James Jackson’s residence and surgical office. Jackson constructed the family home on this corner in 1899, and then added his office behind, or just north of his residence, in 1905. The residence and office stood on that corner until Dr. Jackson sold the property and moved both buildings from downtown Miami to the Brickell neighborhood. The residence was razed in 2001, but the office building still stands and is the home of the Dade Heritage Trust historic preservation organization. After Jackson moved his home and office, the Hippodrome office building was constructed on the northeast corner, and after several alterations, a form of that original structure still stands today.Click Here to Subscribe
- Flagler’s Royal Palm Cottages in Downtown Miami.
- Olympia Theater Property in 1904.
- Halcyon Hall Hotel.
- Miami Woman’s Clubhouse and First Public Library.
- Dr. Jackson’s Home and Office Moved in 1916.
- Featured: Avenue B looking north toward Twelfth Street in 1910. Courtesy of Library of Congress (Detroit Publishing).
- Figure 1: Looking west on Twelfth (aka Flagler) Street in 1910. Courtesy of Florida State Archives.
- Figure 2: Looking east on Flagler Street from S.E. 2nd Avenue in February of 1924. Courtesy of Florida State Archives.