The Stories Behind the Names of 25 Miami-Dade Cities and Neighborhoods
Compared to many American cities, Miami has a relatively short history. Much of that history involves real-estate development booms and busts. The result is that many of the area's city and neighborhood names are either shockingly obvious, highly descriptive, or simply pretty and marketable. (Buena Vista, for example, doesn't have a view any more beautiful than many other neighborhoods, but it sure sounds good.)
Some others, however, have a more interesting backstory. Here are a few:
Though some locals have tried to rebrand the area as Little Santo Domingo, the Miami neighborhood wedged between Little Havana and Liberty City takes its name from the Seminole word for "alligator." Which is appropriate considering that in 2013 a man in the neighborhood made headlines for trying to trade a live alligator for beer.
Some people oddly assume the city's name comes from the mall, but that's not the case. Don Soffer, one of the original developers of the area, says he chose the name "Aventura" in 1968, 15 years before the mall opened. One version of the story goes that the name was inspired when one developer involved in the project remarked to another: "What an adventure this will be." The word "
Oh, Soffer also once said the correct pronunciation is "Aven-TOUR-a," although many people pronounce it "Aven-CHUR-a."
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This village was originally called Bay Harbour, but the city wanted to let everyone know the town wasn't on just a bay; it was on an ocean too. So they came up with the word "Bal" as something of a combination of the words "bay" and "Atlantic."
This is Miami History 101 here: The neighborhood is named for William and Mary Brickell, who, along with Julia Tuttle, played a major part in founding Miami.
Coral Gables owes its name to its founder's childhood home.
Coral Gables founder George Merrick came to the area as a boy when his father moved the family here at the turn of the century. The home the family lived in had
Alfred and Doris Kaskel developed the area and simply decided to combine their first names. Sounds slightly better than Kaskel, Florida.
This is Spanish for "the gate," because there used to be a large wooden gate at the entrance to the village.
Florida City's seemingly unoriginal name is actually a big middle finger to Detroit. In the 1910s, much of the area was bought up by a Michigan-based company that advertised the new area heavily in Detroit. A bunch of people in Detroit moved down, and they decided to call the new area Detroit too.
According to the city's official website, longtime residents soon came into conflict with the Detroiters, and many of the Detroiters moved back home. Shortly afterward, the area was renamed "Florida City." Take that, Michigan! This is a Florida city!
Photo by Kristin Bjornsen
Yes, the mainland neighborhood takes its name from the famed Miami Beach resort. In 1970, Ben Novack, the Fontainebleau's original owner, grew jealous of Doris and Alfred Kaskel's plans in Doral and wanted to create his own planned golf course, resort, and community. It was to be known as Fontainebleau Park. Novack, however, soon fell into financial problems (and the Fontainebleau Park
The Fontainebleau hotel, by the way, takes its name from a castle in France.
This community is simply named after Lyman Gould, who operated the Florida East Coast Railway depot in the area.