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Miami Beach 411
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Miami Beach Journal
The Farming Period

Farming Period
    1868 - 1911
The Farming Period

1911 - 1920
The Early Development Years

1920 - 1925
The Boom Years

1925 - 1930
Post Boom Years

1930 - 1941
The Post Depression Years

1942 - 1945
The War Years

1945 - 1965
The Post War Boom
In 1868 Pennsylvania farmer, Henry B. Lum, sailed up the coast from Key West to Miami to explore the beach wilderness area on the east side of Biscayne Bay. He saw three palm trees growing on the beach and they gave him the idea to try his hand at Coconut farming.

With the help of his son, Charles, the Lum's convinced a group of investors to purchase 165 acres on South Beach for 75 cents and acre for the purpose of harvesting coconuts.

In 1870 the Beach was little more than a collection of small islands with sand beaches on the ocean side, dense Palmetto growth in the middle and mangrove swamps on the bay side.

In 1886, Charles Lum built the first home on Miami Beach; a two-story house at the site of the present Tides Hotel at 12th Street and Ocean Drive.

The dense mangroves made farming difficult. The mosquitos they attracted were too much for the laborers to bear and the men were driven away. By 1894, the coconut venture proved unprofitable for the Lums, so they left the Beach, leaving their plantation in the control of John Stiles Collins, a wealthy Quaker farmer from New Jersey.

When Henry Flagler extended his railroad south to Miami, John Collins took the train from his home in Morristown New Jersey, to inspect his investment. The coconut plantation had been carved out of beach sand and mangrove swaps which were not ideal for farming. However, to the west and north of this area, Collins discovered a ridge on which Pine trees were growing out of black sand. This indicted there was fresh water on the island. Collins bought an additional five-mile strip of land between 14th and 67th Streets and planted bananas, mangoes, avocados, corn peppers and tomatoes.

At this time, John and James Lummus, each president of a different Miami bank, began acquiring bay and beachfront land on the Southern end of Miami Beach. They established The Ocean Beach Reality Company. Their vision was to build a city fronting the ocean made up of modest single family residences. The Lummus Brothers also recognized the need for a good beach for the tourists which were now pouring into Miami thanks to the railroad.

The "barrier beach' became a popular recreational spot for Miami's mainland residents. A ferry operated between Miami and the Beach. A bathing pavilion called Tatum Pavilion was connected to the ferry by a wooden boardwalk, which cut through the mangroves. The Tatum Pavilion represents the first permanent facilities built to accommodate recreational activities on Miami Beach.

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