How Miami became the “Magic City”

Miami was a small community of nine people in 1895 and thus grew its center eight years later, in 1903. (Public Domain)

Thus, suddenly, as if by magic, was born among the mangroves and mosquitoes, in a swamp, the Magic City. It would be easy to think that from its improbable and sudden origin, from wild forest to modern metropolis, the nickname was born. magic city. But in truth, the nickname of Miami it has a more mundane provenance.

More content about life in Miami

We have to go back to 1894, when Julia Tuttleowner of a citrus grove, had the idea of ​​transforming this ignored piece of the south florida in a city: that is why it would later be called the Mother of Miami. The industrialist and railway magnate henry flagler had finished by then the expansion of his railroad of New York a Palm Beach, north of Miami. Tuttle understood that to make his dream come true he had to convince Flagler to expand his railroad south. The millionaire dismissed the idea instantly. It was an inhospitable place with pine trees and some plantations. There was no prospect of earnings.

miami beach miami news
In the origins of Miami, the names of Julia Tuttle and Henry Flagler stand out. (Israel Loreto / Infobae)

It may interest you: Miami: 7 options to enjoy the city like a Cuban

That’s how it was until Great Freeze of 1894, after Flagler’s rejection. Today, the average minimum temperature for Miami is around 60 °F (16 °C), but in the winter of 1894–95, South Florida reached a record low of 18 °F (-8 °C). The state’s agriculture collapsed. All plantations lost their crops. All but one: Julia Tuttle’s citrus grove in that inhospitable wasteland.

Legend has it that the citrus grower sent Henry Flagler a perfect orange. Suddenly, the businessman saw the value of the proposal.

Miami’s registration as a city occurred immediately after the entry of the Florida East Coast Railroad, by Henry Flagler, in April 1896. A small community, with only nine people living along the mouth of the Miami River in 1895, positioned itself, with the arrival of the train and its consequent connection to points north, to become in one of the most important cities in Florida. Weeks later he acquired his nickname. Soon came an influx of northerners fleeing the previous frost and others looking for opportunity. The territory saw a sudden population increase. Witnesses of the time said that it was as if a great city had sprung up overnightas if by magic.

It may interest you: The fever of the World Cup figurines invaded Miami

miami beach miami news
Miami, a Magic City by day and by night. (Israel Loreto / Infobae)

The person responsible for the nickname was Ethan V Blackman. Thirty years later, in an interview for the miami daily news, the city’s first newspaper, Blackman recounted: “What inspired me to call Miami the Magic City was Mr. Flagler’s enthusiasm plus a map of the city. You see, when I wrote that sentence I hadn’t even seen Miami.”

More content about life in Miami

In fact, Blackman worked as a journalist at Daytonain central Florida, when he received a letter from Flagler with a request, at the end of 1896. The magnate asked him to write an article about the new city for The Home Seeker, a magazine intended to promote its properties. The plan that accompanied the letter made Blackman see the magic of Miami. “In reviewing the material, I became so excited about the possibilities of the city bordering the Gulf Stream and facing the wide waters of the biscayne baythat I referred to it as ‘the Magic City’”.

The name did not last long in gaining popularity and still persists, as if by magic.


Miami: 7 options to enjoy the city like a Cuban

The fever of the World Cup figurines invaded Miami

Frank Sinatra’s Miami: stories and places from the golden age