In the 1990s and early 2000s, the American Legion Harvey W. Seeds Post 29, right off Biscayne Boulevard and 64th Street — known informally as "the Legion" — was one of the few places in Miami where punks, oddballs, hippies, and veterans mingled regularly. Though there was a bar in the back where vets downed beers, the Legion also played host to a series of punk shows and indie-dance events.
But the Legion's building, which has stood since the 1960s, has fallen into disrepair. And now, New Times has confirmed the building is being demolished.
"It's an active demolition site," says Sharie Blanton, the City of Miami's Upper Eastside Neighborhood Enhancement Team administrator. "It's definitely going down."
Global City Investments, the contractor handling the demolition, says it's razing the building to build a new facility for Miami's vets.
"We're building something new for the veterans," Global City Investments Principal Brian Pearl said via phone. Pearl said he couldn't immediately explain what the new facilities would look like, and referred us to Global City's public-relations department. A spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for more information.
Update: But, this being Miami, it turns out the construction deal also includes bay-front apartments. A Global City spokesperson says the demolition paves way for a 237-unit apartment complex first reported by the Real Deal South Florida in June.
There's also a public dock situated right behind the building — it's unclear if the construction will affect boaters.
Facebook user Mario Giancarlo Garibaldi first posted images of the Legion's demolition earlier today.
According to a New Times post from 2009, the original Harvey W. Seeds Legion post was founded in 1926. In February 1933, when Italian architect Giuseppe Zangara killed then-Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak at Bayfront Park (while likely trying to kill Franklin Delano Roosevelt), the Harvey W. Seeds Legion band happened to be playing at the event. The Legion has occupied its current building since 1967.
Oddly, the Legion later morphed into one of the few places in Miami where you could watch local punk acts perform for free.
Per the aforementioned New Times story:
There are a lot of ghosts walking those halls, but every time the dead veterans hear the racket the stupid, jobless, longhaired, hippy-scumbags play there some nights, they all die again.
As late as 2009, the Legion outpost — located inside Legion Park on Biscayne Boulevard — hosted events such as Nightdrive, the sort of cheap, no-frills indie dance event that's difficult to find in glitz-prone Miami. The next year, the building hosted "Legion Fest," a 14-act crust-punk showcase for just $5 at the door.
In 2011, the area hosted the On the Bay Food Truck Roundup, which included popular trucks such as Ms. Cheezious, MonTaco, and Miso Hungry. That
Because we don't yet know how long the demolition is set to last, now is the perfect time to head to Legion Park and pour out some cheap malt liquor to commemorate all the years of debauchery.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.