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Apr 05th
The Man Behind the Magic PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul George, BT Contributor   
December 2019

A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami

TPix_PictureStory_12-19_1989-011-19372he City of Miami is the quintessential city of change, a place whose story has been told in short paragraphs, a municipality that has greeted and absorbed wave after wave of newcomers in its colorful history. Oddly, its most durable element may be its moniker, the “Magic City,” which was applied to the settlement in its birth year, 1896. Since then, businesses, media news reports, club chapters, neighborhood developments, a tourist camp, and even cat shows have embraced the name. Simply put, the sobriquet “Magic City” is the most enduring element of Miami, the city.

The nickname emanated from the facile pen of Ethan V. Blackman, a minister, biographer, and publicist for the Flagler organization. Before Blackman had set foot in Miami, he was asked to write an article on the new city for the Flagler organization’s Home Seeker, which sought to attract new residents to the fledgling municipality on Biscayne Bay. In that article, he dubbed Miami “the Magic City.”

More than twenty years later, Blackman explained this name selection in an article in the Miami Daily News. “In looking over the material [on Miami],” he said, “I got so enthusiastic over the possibilities of the city that bordered on the Gulf Stream and faced the broad waters of Biscayne Bay that I referred to it as ‘the Magic City.’” Soon after, Blackman moved to Miami, where he found “everything that I had sought.... There was the balmy air, the beauties of the bay and sky, and the wonderful palm trees.”

He went on: “I knew that Miami would remain -- if I could make it the Magic City. So I talked and thought and wrote ‘Miami, the Magic City’ and the name stuck and the city grew as the phrase stirred the curiosity of the outside world and it came to see.” Blackman’s efforts has paid dividends ever since. The city’s moniker remains relevant and is broadly used.


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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Pix_PictureStory_3-20A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami