Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hialeah...the birth of a city

Glenn Curtiss.
TIME, Oct. 13, 1924.

Poor Glenn Curtiss. The aviation pioneer rivaled, perhaps exceeded, the Wright Brothers in accomplishment. He held the first U.S. pilot's license and the world land-speed record, 136 mph, set on the sands of Ormond Beach on a motorcycle of his design and manufacture. He practically invented and built U.S. naval aviation.

Along the way, Curtiss also found time to develop Hialeah, Opa-locka and Miami Springs.

But he had the misfortune of dying young, at 52 in 1930, and his once-electrifying fame faded.
Curtiss and a business partner, James Bright, had purchased a 12,000-acre ranch in 1916 where they established an airfield. But they built Hialeah on the land to cash in on the 1920s real estate boom.

Appalled by Hialeah's monotonous sprawl, however, Curtiss undertook careful planning for his next two developments, Opa-locka and the Springs, which he envisioned as a country-club residential paradise. For Miami Springs he fancifully chose the architectural style of southwestern adobe houses; for Opa-locka the theme was Arabian Nights.

His vision, interrupted by the subsequent land crash, never panned out beyond a clutch of surviving signature buildings in each.

Miami Daily Metropolis, Feb. 1, 1921.
(Click all images to enlarge.)

Prospective buyers tour Hialeah in 1921.

Home under construction in Hialeah, 1922.

Bridge from Hialeah to Miami Springs, 1926.

Hialeah, 1927.

Miami Daily News: Glenn Curtiss dies, July 23, 1930.

Miami Daily News: Airman Founded Miami Springs, June 26, 1950.

Orlando Sentinel: Miami Springs mansion home of aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss rises from the ashes

Miami Springs website: Glenn H. Curtiss Mansion and Gardens

Curtiss Mansion blog: About Glenn Curtiss

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