For Memorial Day, Here Are Nine Miami Places That Played A Roll In Defending The Nation

Curbed Miami

by Sean McCaughan

LG0097.jpg[Via University of Miami]

It’s Memorial Day weekend in Miami, which means of course barbecues, babes, boat trips to Beer Can Island, and the general avoidance of South Beach (that is of course unless you go to South Beach), overrun as it is by Urban Beach Weekend. In memory of our fallen countrymen, here are nine interesting Miami locales that have played roles in American wars, from the Seminole Wars up through World War II.

404 NW 3RD STREET, MIAMI, FL 33130
Miami Memorial Day Map
“This native oolitic limestone building was constructed around 1844 as slave quarters on William English’s plantation located near the mouth of the Miami River. The building served as a U .S. Army barracks after Fort Dallas was reestablished here in 1849 and 1855 during the Second and Third Seminole Wars. Moved to Lummus Park in 1925, Fort Dallas is one of only two surviving buildings from Miami’s pioneer era, the other being the William Wagner House, also located in Lummus Park.”—City of Miami History Preservation[Image via Wikipedia]
404 NW 3RD STREET, MIAMI, FL 33130
Glenn Curtiss taught flying aces in World War I, and later established what would become the Coast Guard Air Station Miami and then Opa-Locka Airport. The air station, of which one hangar has been meticulously restored, served during WWII as the headquarters of the U.S. Naval Air Training Command. Now it’s the province of private aviation. Oh, and Amelia Earhart stopped here on her second, ill-fated, attempt to circumnavigate the globe.[Photo by Robin Hill]
15001 NW 42ND AVE, OPA-LOCKA, FL 33054
During WWII hundreds of thousands of members of the armed services trained in Miami and Miami Beach, and other parts of Dade County, using the oceanfront hotels as soldier barracks and golf course and the beach, including Lummus Park, as marching and training grounds.[Photo via Curbed Miami Flickr Pool/ChrisGoldNY]
As many places around Miami converted to war usage during World War II, some of the largest hotels were put into use as hospitals. Mount Sinai, the former site of the Nautilus Hotel, remains a hospital to this day, however the Biltmore, which was a major VA hospital during the war was eventually returned to its original use as a luxury hotel.
(305) 445-1926
The United States Navy operated a submarine chaser school, also known as the “Donald Duck Navy” from the Port of Miami during World War II. It was well known that German U-boats patrolled off the coast of Florida, and you would often see merchant ships burning off on the horizon.[Image via Curbed Miami Flickr Pool/Phillip Pessar]
(305) 347-4800
Enola Gay, the mother of Paul Tibbits Jr., the pilot who bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending WWII, and the namesake of his plan, lived in Miami. In fact, Paul grew up in Miami, and—according to his memoir—the day he decided to become a pilot was the day he helped bomb Hialeah Park Race Track and Miami Beach with Babe Ruth candy bars in a publicity stunt.
2200 E 4TH AVE, HIALEAH, FL 33010
(305) 885-8000
The creation of Miami International Airport resulted from the merging of the Army Air Transport Field with the Pan Am Air Field and the creation of the Dade County Port Authority.[Via Curbed Miami Flickr Pool/Searchlight557]
2100 NW 42ND AVE, MIAMI, FL 33126
(305) 876-7000
Zoo Miami covers part of the site of Miami’s Naval Air Station Richmond, a massive blimp base used to protect Miami from German U-boats during World War II.
12400 SW 152ND ST, MIAMI, FL 33177
(305) 251-0400
In patriotic fervor, the entire village of Bal Harbour, then still in development, was leased to the United States Air Corps by the villages’s founder Robert C. Graham for $1 a year. Bal Harbour became a tent city for soldiers, with a rifle range where the St. Regis is now. The site of Bal Harbour Shops was a German prisoner of war camp.

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