BEST HIDDEN NEIGHBORHOOD

Bayside

Modern condo high-rises may tower over the five-block area just east of Biscayne Boulevard between 68th and 72nd streets, but history still lives there -- in the 208 houses of oolitic limestone, Dade County pine, and keystone that sit on the tree-lined streets of Bayside, designated an historic district by the City of Miami in 1991. Each street was platted individually between 1909 and 1925 by different folks, yielding four separate subdivisions and much later a patch of greenery dubbed Baywood Park. Along 68th Street, settlers from Elmira, New York, came down at the end of the Nineteenth Century and created the Elmira Colony, now one of Miami's oldest intact planned communities. Paving the road with seashells, the pioneers put up frame vernacular houses reminiscent of their northern abodes. One lovely home from 1903 remains. In the 1920s Coral Gables mastermind George Merrick and developer Wykoff & Estes got their hands on 70th Street, calling it Acadia and plunking down a batch of Mediterranean Revival houses. The Krames-Corlett Company's Baywood subdivision laid claim to 69th and 71st streets; and millionaire developer Samuel Prescott named 72nd Street "Washington Place." His stunning mansion at 72nd and Tenth Avenue, which once featured a golf course, has been there since 1923. One of the last bayfront estates in northeast Miami, the dilapidated house has been a sitting duck for years, repeatedly marked for demolition by developers, and even used as shelter by visiting anarchists during last year's FTAA meetings. Majestic Properties' Jeff Morr recently purchased the home, so who knows what its fate may be. Whatever the future holds for Bayside, it's certain the wise residents of this architecturally eclectic district will ensure it survives and thrives as one of the city's most pleasant neighborhoods.

 
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