Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thank You Julia Tuttle

In 1891, a Cleveland woman named Julia Tuttle purchased 640 acres on the north bank in the Miami River, in present-day downtown Miami. Her husband, Frederick Tuttle died in 1886, leaving her with financial difficulties. She decided to move to South Florida to make a new start in her life. Julia tried to persuade railroad magnate Henry Flagler to expand his rail line south to the area. He was not interested. A few years later, however, after citrus crops were wiped out by a freeze, Tuttle managed to remind Flagler of the promise of South Florida. A favorable report and a box of orange blossoms to show that the area had escaped the frost helped change his mind. Flagler followed up with a visit and soon concluded that the area was ripe for expansion. He made the decision to extend his railroad to Miami and build a resort hotel.

On July 28, 1896, City of Miami was incorporated. Even though the earliest settlement in the Miami region came 10,000 years ago and it has a long, rich and colorful history, I always enjoy hearing the story of Julia Tuttle’s determination and persuasiveness. (And I love Miami! Thanks Julia.) 

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