The City of Hialeah’s name is most commonly attributed to the Seminole word meaning "Upland Prairie". The name evokes a picture of the grassy plains used by the native Indians coming from the everglades to dock their canoes and display their wares for the newcomers of Miami. This "high prairie" caught the eye of pioneer aviator Glenn Curtiss and Missouri cattleman James H. Bright in 1921. Together, they developed not only the town of Hialeah but also Hialeah Park Race Track.
On Thursday February 4th the Miami Springs Historical Society enjoyed the fascinating history of Hialeah persented by Dick Roetz and Yvonne Shonberger. The event took place at the Miami Springs Senior Center.
Society's Fall Kickoff Party
Saturday September 26 was the 2015-16 Fall Kickoff Party for the Miami Springs Historical Society. It was a great time to see friends, share good food and hear updates on the Society and The Museum. The event was free and open to members and everyone interested in our local history.
Bingo Mania in the Springs!
The Miami Springs Historical Society celebrated the end of summer with Bingo Night! On Saturday July 25th, friends and members gathered at the Miami Spring Senior CenterFor A Fun Evening of Fun For All The Family. Free Admission was free, and the night was full of winner - everyone left with smile and a Bingo prize.
Thursday April 2
Historical Society Spekers Series
From Flagler to Curtiss
Dr. Juan Riera presented an engaging presentation titled “The Gang is all here; the famous and not so famous builders of south Florida" It took place at the Curtiss Mansion, 500 Deer Run, Miami Springs, at 7:30 pm.
Thursday March 5th 2015
Historical Society Speakers Series
Miami's Early History as a Military Aviation Center
On Thursday, March 5 the Historical Society welcomed Anthony Atwood, Ph.D., CWO3, US Navy (Ret) Desert Storm/OEF. He is a historian and Navy veteran, who earned a Ph.D. in history from FIU in 2012 writing his dissertation on the history of World War II in Florida. Dr. Atwood is the Executive Director of the South Florida Military Museum & Veterans Memorial.
The South Florida Military Museum is located on the grounds of Zoo Miami, next to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum. It is the largest historic preservation project ongoing in the state of Florida. The restoration effort of this historic local WWII US Navy Headquarters building began over ten years ago. The Richmond Naval Air Station began its career in WWII. Afterwards it served as the local US Army and the US Marine Corps Reserve Center for 50 years, as well as being used as the training base for clandestine activities of anti-Castro freedom fighters during the Cold War. It encapsulates Florida’s modern military heritage. The restoration of this significant building is halfway complete. When it opens later this year it will be a world-class educational center for K-12 and higher education, as well as a beacon for Florida tourism.
Dr. Atwood’s presentation highlighted the contributions of the US Military in WWII to South Florida’s emergence as a global aviation center. It is a part of the Miami Springs Historical Society’s Speakers Series.
Thursday February 5th 2015
Historical Society Speakers Series
Saving the Everglades – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Lt. Col. Thomas Greco, Deputy Commander for South Florida for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District, was the guest speaker at the Miami Springs Historical Society’s Feb. 5 meeting. Greco was commissioned with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1995 and has been serving as the Jacksonville District’s Deputy District Commander for South Florida since May 2012. He gave a historic overview of the Corps’ mission and responsibilities in south Florida and the Corps’ ongoing efforts to restore historic flows in the Everglades.
Sunday January 11th 2015
A Day At the Races
The Miami Springs Historical Society enjoyed a salute to yesteryear. A time when a day at the track was on everyone’s Miami event schedule.
We traveled back in time to those January days in the 4o’s when the only place to be was at the races. Everyone from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Frank Sinatra passed through the doors.
On January 11 we relived those times by enjoying a luncheon with friends.
Many dressed in 30’ to 50’ attire with their favorite period hats!
Did You Know . . . . . . .
The Hialeah Park Race Track is one of the oldest existing recreational facilities in southern Florida. Originally opened in 1922 by aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss and his partner, Missouri cattleman James H. Bright, as part of their development of the town of Hialeah, Florida, Hialeah Park opened as a greyhound racing track operated by the Miami Kennel Club.
The Miami Jockey Club launched Hialeah's thoroughbred horse racing track on January 25, 1925. The facility was severely damaged by the 1926 hurricane and in 1930 was sold to Philadelphia horseman Joseph E. Widener. With Kentucky horseman Col. Edward R. Bradley as an investor, Widener hired architect Lester W. Geisler to design a complete new grandstand and Renaissance Revival clubhouse facilities along with landscaped gardens of native flora and fauna and a lake in the infield that Widener stocked with flamingos. Hailed as one of the most beautiful racetracks in the world, Hialeah Park officially opened on January 14, 1932. An Australian totalisator for accepting pari-mutuel betting was the first in America to be installed. The park became so famous for its flamingo flocks that it has been officially designated a sanctuary for the American Flamingo by the Audubon Society. Hialeah Park Racetrack was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 2, 1979. On January 12, 1988, the property was determined eligible for designation as a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior.
Thrusday December 4th 2014
About The D.A.R.
Jennifer Williams gave an informative and entertainig presentation about the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution. Did you know . . .
The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children. DAR members volunteer millions of service hours annually in their local communities including supporting active duty military personnel and assisting veteran patients, awarding thousands of dollars in scholarships and financial aid each year to students, and supporting schools for underserved children with annual donations exceeding one million dollars. As one of the most inclusive genealogical societies in the country, DAR boasts 177,000 members in 3,000 chapters across the United States and internationally. Any woman 18 years or older-regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background-who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership. Encompassing an entire downtown city block, DAR National Headquarters houses one of the nation's premier genealogical libraries, one of the foremost collections of pre-industrial American decorative arts, Washington's largest concert hall, and an extensive collection of early American manuscripts and imprints.
Miami Springs Historical Society holds fall kick-off party
By RITA MAYER
As Reported in the River Cities Gazatte09/28/2014
Any visitor to the Miami Springs Historical Society 2014 fall kick-off party last Saturday probably would have expected to hear a lot of discussion of the past while milling about the crowd.
It was, after all, a gathering of history lovers.
But on this night, the buzz was about the future. And for the Historical Society, that future appears to be bright.
The nearly 200 guests who made their way through “The Alamo,” the historic Miami Springs home of Frank and Yvonne Shonberger got to hear the news first-hand: The Historical Society is on its way to new ground, with a museum in a dedicated building in its sights.
The Miami Springs Historical Museum, which is operated by the Society, moved out of its previous storefront location on Westward Drive about a year ago to make way for its next setting. The new site, at 501 E. Dr., is currently closed with its museum artifacts in storage, but improvements and upgrades are in the works so that it may be developed to welcome the public in the near future.
“We are moving forward with the support of the city,” Jim Watson, communications coordinator for the Historical Society, told the crowd. “The city has given us a building, but we have to rebuild it for public access. Thank you to the city of Miami Springs.”
Indeed, local government representatives were there: Miami Springs council members Mike Windrem and Jaime Petralanda attended, and from the Village of Virginia Gardens were council members Richard Block and Steven Petterson. State Rep. Eddy Gonzalez was also present to show his support for the organization and its efforts.
Watson explained that the Society is working with the architectural firm Perkins + Will, through a program from the American Institute of Architects 1% Program. Another partnership with the American Alliance of Museums has allowed the Society to move the Museum toward accreditation, such as with a self-study, which will help the organization align itself with national standards. This will put it on par with institutions such as the Smithsonian and other highly rated museums.
“We will be working in the next few weeks with drawings — permitting, code matching, and leveraging support with engineering companies to defer costs,” said Watson. “Everything’s moving ahead, but good things take a while.”
That’s not all that’s new on the horizon for the Historical Society. Those who wish to support the Society now have another way to do so.
“You all probably know Amazon.com,” said Lili Martinez, Historical Society treasurer. “Now you can take part in their AmazonSmile program, and help out the Society every time you shop there. Half a percent of every purchase will go toward the Miami Springs Historical Society.” Anyone interesting in participating should register at www.smile.amazon.com and select the Miami Springs Historical Society as their preferred charity.
Jennifer Graham, society vice president of development, reported yet another opportunity to support the Society and Museum, in a way that gives back to the donor.
“Through the ‘Johnny’s Angel’ program, every $10 donated to the Historical Society will be matched with a $10 gift certificate to Johnny’s Soda Fountain & Luncheonette (at 45 Curtiss Parkway on the Miami Springs circle). For example, if someone donates $50, they will get five $10 gift certificates to Johnny’s.”
The annual kickoff event, which is always open to the public, offered attendees a chance to mingle, enjoy a generous offering of refreshments, share their common interests, and support the Society. Even though the Museum is not open yet, supporters can still gear up to help.
“You can get a head start and be thinking how you can help,” said Society President Beverly Roetz. “We are looking to extend the days of operation of the Museum, and have it open through the early evening for working folks. We have been working with the city manager and council members to get this going. This is an opportunity for volunteers to sign on to help.”
In other Historical Society news, future events were mentioned. The Society will have their annual Tour of Homes, but this year it will be offered in November rather than December, when it is usually held.
“There have been people who could never show their homes in December, so we are trying something new,” said Yvonne Shonberger, vice president of operations.
Something else to look out for is a Historical Society Day at the Hialeah Racetrack; other events are on the horizon as well and will be announced in the near future.
A few ceremonial formalities took place. Watson received an award for Museum Volunteer of the Year 2014, and Yvonne and Frank Shonberger were made lifetime members of the society, but not without a big change.
“As of Oct. 1, Yvonne will no longer be the museum director,” declared Roetz. “We are taking care of all the details, but we want the Shonbergers to feel that they deserve to be lifetime members.” Yvonne was presented with a crystal trophy honoring her service to the Society and Museum.
For anyone interested in getting involved with the Miami Springs Historical Society and the Miami Springs Historical Museum, the Society will hold its first general meeting of the year on Oct. 2 at the Curtiss Mansion at 7:30 p.m. This event is open to everyone. There are plenty of opportunities to help, as volunteers and committee chairs are needed.
Membership dues to the Miami Springs Historical Society are $20 for individuals and $30 for families.
“Even though we don’t have a museum open yet, we’re moving, a day at a time,” said Roetz.