Just one month after its incorporation in 1896, the City of Miami adopted its enduring moniker, the Magic City, which is appropriate for a city that has developed almost magically and uniquely in a relatively brief period. Featuring images from the late 1800s through the 1980s, the exhibition before you draws on HistoryMiami Museum’s vast treasure trove of photographs, and peers into the many layers of life and activities that have shaped Miami over time, enabling us to appreciate the sharp changes in its development and direction, and understand its uniqueness among American cities.
These photographs inform us of Miami’s recent pioneer past, of the quickening development following its birth and the natural disasters that slowed, but failed to halt this progress, of its glitz and glamour as a tourist mecca, of transportation modes linking the area to destinations near and far, of an area ideally suited for military training in wartime, of protests across a broad spectrum of causes, of a growing historic preservation movement that has changed the destinies of neighborhoods and even municipalities, of immigrants and refugees who helped catapult Miami and the area into the ranks of international cities, of eye-catching crimes and high drama. Together, these elements represent the ingredients that have made this unique slice of the subtropics the Magic City.
Paul S. George
Resident Historian, HistoryMiami Museum