History of Miami River – Part 1 of 2

Fort Dallas along Miami River in 1858.

Fort Dallas along Miami River in 1858.

The Miami River is the serpentine tributary that separates downtown Miami from today’s Brickell neighborhood. The history of the area has centered around this waterway as the regions earliest inhabitants found refuge, food and security along the banks of the river. Juan Ponce De Leon named the indigenous people found along the river as “Tequesta” during a voyage on Biscayne Bay in 1513.

The river was the location of several Spanish missions, a military fort, a blockade by the navy during the Civil War, and a trading post run by the Brickell family along the south bank. The rapids located near the south fork of the river became a processing plant for Miami’s early cash crop: coontie or also referred to as comptie.

This podcast episode details of the area prior to the incorporation of the City of Miami. The people and events that preceded Flagler’s extension of his railway were true pioneers who made the most of living in the rugged environs along the Miami River.

Tune into this week’s episode to hear more about the Miami River. You can access the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and on the Miami-History website.

Click Here to Subscribe



  • Cover: Miami River in the mid-1800s. Courtesy of Florida Memory.
  • Figure 1: Fort Dallas in 1858. Courtesy of HistoryMiami Museum.