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Nov 20th
A Jewel of a Park in Morningside PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul S. George, BT Contributor   
July 2018

A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami

FPix_PictureStory_7-18or historic preservationists in the Miami area, one of the most gratifying developments in recent decades has been the renaissance of the neighborhoods flanking Biscayne Boulevard in northeast Miami. Morningside, Palm Grove, Bayside, Shorecrest, Belle Meade, and the MiMo (Miami Modern) Historic District, which is largely commercial and brackets the Boulevard, have led the charge here.

Portions of five of these neighborhoods have been designated as local historic districts. Morningside is also a national historic district.

Conceived and created in the early 1920s, Morningside offers much in terms of a historic neighborhood, specifically its beautifully restored Mediterranean and Streamline Moderne-style homes, as well as a singular park.

Morningside Park opened in June 1953 over portions of an earlier park and playground. Stretching from NE 50th Terrace to NE 55th Terrace, east of NE 7th Avenue to Biscayne Bay, the park contains 42 acres. Its recreational facilities include a swimming pool, boathouse, picnic area, tennis courts, and a community center. A portion of its shoreline is lined with cut rectangular blocks of native oolitic limestone that were once part of the Halcyon Hotel in early Miami.

When Morningside Park opened, it was the second-largest park in the City of Miami, and the municipality’s first landscaped green space since Bayfront Park more than 25 years earlier.

Designed by landscape architect P. Raymond Plumer, Morningside Park contained several unusual features. In addition to its lengthy waterfront, the park had a canal, crossed by two pedestrian bridges leading to a tidal basin with an island in the center. There were also a scenic drive along a loop road, a palm garden, the nation’s largest hibiscus garden (later destroyed by Hurricane Donna), and the above-mentioned swimming pool, measuring 40 by 100 feet, with 32 cabañas, since demolished.

Morningside resident Perrine Palmer, a mid-20th-century City of Miami mayor and commissioner, and scion of the famed Dr. Henry Perrine, who possessed in the 1830s a 36-square-mile township in south Dade County, was instrumental in the creation of the park. He is seen in this photograph speaking at the park’s opening 65 years ago.

While some elements of the park have changed and additions have been made, Morningside Park remains one of the city’s jewels and a space open to Miamians from all other neighborhoods.

 

Paul George is historian at HistoryMiami Museum. To order a copy of this photo, contact HistoryMiami archives manager Ashley Trujillo at 305-375-1623, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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