History of Miami Springs

The history of Miami Springs is intertwined with the history of aviation in South Florida.

Glenn H. Curtiss thought the area desirable for starting a flying school in 1916 with his partner, James Bright. Together they purchased 17,000 acres of scrub and pasture land that years later would become Miami Springs, Hialeah, and Opa-Locka.

The Springs was always intended to be a low density, residential community, originally known as Country Club Estates. In 1926, when the first mayor and council were elected, there were a total of 128 residences. Many pioneers were employed by the Seaboard and Florida Coast Railroads whose yards were adjacent to the city.

Glenn Curtiss was instrumental in developing the airport to the south and as the airport grew, so did Miami Springs. Pan Am’s famous overseas “Clipper” flights originated southeast of the city until moving later to Coconut Grove’s Dinner Key.

In the midst of the remarkable growth of the aviation industry, much of Curtiss’ careful planning constraints are visible today and continue to influence the Springs character and commitment to green areas and orderly growth.

MIAMI SPRINGS HISTORICAL FACTS

Miami Springs is part of the greater early history of Miami.  It was the 5th municipality to incorporate after the City of Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, and Hialeah.

Originally known as “Country Club Estates,” the area was often referred to as Miami’s Springs because of the natural springs located in the area. The name “Miami Springs” caught on and was officially changed.

Today, we no longer have natural springs.  The expansion of the Miami canal along with the massive canal projects dramatically changed the landscape and reduced the water pressure that used to force water up from the Biscayne Aquifer.

Nevertheless, the plentiful access to clean fresh water was a draw to the rapidly expanding City of Miami.  Again, because of the draining of the everglades and reduction in pressure from the freshwater from the west, saltwater from the east began intruding into some of the water wells in use by the City of Miami that were too close to Biscayne Bay.

According to the Miami Springs Preservation Board, “In order for the City of Miami to continue to grow a potable water supply was needed. The essential fresh water was found on the Miami Springs Golf Course property.

On February 25, 1925 Curtiss-Bright Company deeded the water rights on the golf course to the City of Miami. The Curtiss-Bright Company also deeded the easements to lay wooden aqueducts (still under golf course) down Curtiss Parkway to the Hialeah, “Preston Water Treatment Plant”. The freshwater wells found on the golf course provided the first organized water supply system for the City of Miami.  Before that residents relied on individual wells.”

HISTORICAL GOLF COURSE

The Miami Springs Golf Course was the first golf course to be built in Miami-Dade County and pre-dates the incorporation of the city.  The course was an instant hit, hosting dozens of PGA events including 30 Miami Opens from 1925 through 1955.

Miami Springs Golf and Country Club picture from January 4, 1927
Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165451 Fishbaugh, W. A.(William A.), 1873-1950

View looking toward the Glenn H. Curtiss home from the Country Club Estates golf course in Miami Springs, Florida.
Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165671
Fishbaugh, W. A.(William A.), 1873-1950

Today, the golf course hosts a variety of local tournaments and continues the tradition of serving the community with a beautiful 18 hole golf course.

Sunset over the Miami Springs Golf Course

A little known fact today is that the Miami Springs Golf and Country Club is the oldest municipal golf course in South Florida and the first golf course in the state to allow blacks to play.

According to the City of Miami Springs, some of the legendary people who have played at the golf course include:  Glenn Curtiss, James Bright, Walter Hagen, Tommy Armour, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Don Drysdale, Whitey Ford, Jackie Robinson, Althea Gibson, Charlie Sifford, Dinah Washington, Nat “King” Cole, Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis and Arnold Palmer.

Today, residents love the beautiful, wide open green space, that sprawls across acres of green landscape. The bike trails along the golf course make it extremely accessible to pedestrians and cyclists alike.

Some of the most luxurious homes in Miami Springs are found along the perimeter of the Miami Springs Golf Course.  Included on the list of homes is the beautiful Curtiss Mansion.  The mansion was built by Miami Springs founder, aviator, inventor, daredevil, and successful businessman, Glenn H. Curtiss.  Today, the property is used for weddings and corporate events.

More and more, developers are trying to gobble up golf courses to build homes, commercial areas, or even a new soccer stadium.  Miami Springs residents have fought for decades to ensure the Miami Springs Golf Course remains a wide open green golf course for the enjoyment of future generations and for the benefit of the entire community.

Take a trip down memory lane with a historical look at photos of Miami Springs. These photos were made possible thanks to the Florida State Library and Archives of Florida.

1947 Miami Springs Flood

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/30869
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Aerial view of Pinecrest from the 1930s

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/154892

Hotel Country Club of Miami Springs taken during the 1920s before it became Fair Havens

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165253

Country Club Estate Home circa 1926

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165576

Country Club Estate Home circa 1926

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165578 Photographer/Personal Author Fishbaugh, W. A.(William A.)

Country Club Estates Apartment Building circa 1926

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165585 Fishbaugh, W. A.(William A.), 1873-1950

Curtiss Mansion and pond circa 1927 and after the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926


Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165448 Fishbaugh, W. A.(William A.), 1873-1950

Badminton court and sun bathing solarium at the Hotel Country Club circa 1920s

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165256

Curtiss Mansion Photographed on January 4, 1927

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165447
Fishbaugh, W. A.(William A.), 1873-1950

Miami Springs Golf and Country Club picture from January 4, 1927

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165451 Fishbaugh, W. A.(William A.), 1873-1950

View looking toward the Glenn H. Curtiss home from the Country Club Estates golf course in Miami Springs, Florida.

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165671
Fishbaugh, W. A.(William A.), 1873-1950

Gates of the Curtiss Mansion circa 1926

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165446 Fishbaugh, W. A.(William A.), 1873-1950

Cars crossing the Miami Canal to and from Hialeah and Miami Springs in 1926

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165449 Fishbaugh, W. A.(William A.), 1873-1950

Hotel Country Club – Miami Springs, Florida 1920s

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165254

View of the Hotel Country Club – Miami Springs, Florida 1920s

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165255

Lua Curtiss House #1 in Country Club Estates – Miami Springs, Florida circa 1926

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/165577 Fishbaugh, W. A.(William A.), 1873-1950

Architect`s drawing of Hotel Pueblo – Miami Springs, Florida

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/25801 Fishbaugh, W. A.(William A.), 1873-1950

Hialeah Miami Springs Bank circa 1950

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/141045

https://www.floridamemory.com/fpc/fishbaugh/phf140.jpg