How Miami became the “Magic City”

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It was an inhospitable and secluded place, not reached by the railway. But suddenly it was transformed into a modern metropolis, which grew to be a global attraction

How did turned Miami into the “Magic City”

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

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

We have to go back to 1894, when Julia Tuttle, Owner of a citrus grove, she had the idea of ​​transforming this ignored piece of South Florida into a city: for this reason it would later be called the Mother of Miami. Industrialist and railroad magnate Henry Flagler had by then completed the expansion of his railroad from New York to 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.

How did turned Miami into the “Magic City”

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

This was the case until the Great Frost of 1894, after Flagler's rejection. Today, the average low for Miami is around 60°F (16°C), but in the winter of 1894–95, South Florida hit 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 proposition.

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 at the time said it was as if a great city had sprung up overnight, as if by magic.

How did Miami become the “Magic City”

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.”

In fact, Blackman was working as a journalist in Daytona, in 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 designed to promote his 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 Biscayne Bay, that I referred to it as 'the City of Biscayne'. Magical'”.

The nickname was short-lived in popularity and still persists, as if by magic.