|The Boom Before the Bust|
|Written by Paul S. George -- Special to the BT|
A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami
Miami was at the height of its first great real estate boom in 1925, when this photograph was taken. The boom drove real estate prices sky high, spawned the development of Coral Gables, Miami Shores, and hundreds of subdivisions. It attracted tens of thousands of speculators and new residents to the area. It was a transformational moment, as Miami moved from the ranks of frontier town to emerging metropolis.
This photograph shows a cavalcade of buses, owned by one of the larger-than-life developers of that era, proceeding east on W. Flagler Street from First Avenue in downtown Miami. Crowds of people bracket the busy thoroughfare, which was the hub of the boom.
Nowhere was the building program more impressive than in downtown’s central business district. Visible in the upper left portion of the picture, behind the Australian pine trees, is the rising Dade County Courthouse, which, upon its opening in October 1928, was 27 stories and staked a claim as the tallest building south of Baltimore.
In the center-top of the photograph is the Biscayne Building, which, upon its completion in 1926, became a major office building. On the right-hand side of the photograph is the lawn in front of Miami City Hall.
The boom collapsed in 1926, the result of a host of factors, sending the area into a severe recession, exacerbated by the killer hurricane of September 1926, which took the lives of more than 100 Dade Countians, and left thousands homeless. It would be two decades before a spreading prosperity would lift the area again.
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