Miami History Podcast: Orange Bowl

The sixth episode of the Miami History Podcast features the story of the iconic Orange Bowl. Long before it was known as the “Orange Bowl” it was a baseball stadium on land provided by the Tatum Brothers. During the early 1930s, several prominent Miami pioneers, including Roddy Burdine and Earnie Seiler, came up with the idea to have the city host a New Year’s Day football game. In the game’s third year, the same committee of men facilitated the move to what became the Orange Bowl’s permanent home.

The construction of the first incarnation of the stadium was facilitated by federal dollars from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. Once the stadium was complete, it was named for Roddy Burdine who died prior to the completion of the venue.

Through the years the stadium expanded to accommodate growing crowds for high school, college and professional football games. As the stadium grew, the reference to the stadium changed to the “Orange Bowl”. Once Miami was awarded a professional team in 1966, the stadium was packed to watch the city’s beloved Dolphins win two championships and become the only team to go undefeated in the modern era of the NFL. Of course, Miami residents also got to witness and enjoy the dominance of the Hurricanes during the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.

However, the place was known for more than just sporting events. The stadium also hosted concerts, political events and even served as a temporary refugee camp for Cuban arrivals in 1980. It has been more than ten years since the demolition of the Orange Bowl, but it is still fondly remembered as one Miami’s great places. While it may no longer be standing, it will never be forgotten.

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Further Reading:


  • Cover: The Orange Bowl in 1974. Courtesy of Ghosts of the Orange Bowl Facebook page.