|Real Estate Boom, Congested Streets, and Electric Traffic Light|
|Written by Paul George - Special to the BT|
A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami
Miami was roaring toward the climax of the great real estate boom when this mid-1920s photograph was taken at the county’s busiest intersection: Miami Avenue and Flagler Street.
The police “tower” on the left side of the photograph was a recent addition to traffic control, as electronic lights, manually operated by a policeman seated in the compartment at the top of the pole, regulated the flow of traffic coming from the south along Miami Avenue as well as automobiles proceeding east on Flagler Street.
The signature red-brick building on the right side of the picture housed Budge’s Hardware store, one of the city’s oldest businesses. Partially visible on the left side of the photograph is the ornate Bank of Bay Biscayne building, which housed the city’s first bank.
One street behind, or north, of Budge’s Hardware is the Cromer-Cassell department store still undergoing its finishing touches.
While the buildings holding Budge’s Hardware and the Bay Biscayne Bank are long gone, the old Cromer-Cassel building later became Richard’s Department store. Today it hosts jewelry businesses in a bustling jewelry area anchored by the Seybold Building.
The men in suits, knickers, or slacks, with or without hats or golf caps, could have been part of a large cadre of real estate speculators known as the Binder Boys. The boom was over by 1926, leaving Miami and its residents to cope with a lingering economic downturn.
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