Top 12 Historic Photos Of Downtown Miami

Historic Photos of Downtown Miami

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For years we’ve been posting the best historic and vintage photos of Miami that we could find. We usually do it on random Sundays so its always a surprise. Well, we thought that we’d catch a few of the new readers up with our historian ways and post what we think are the Top 12 Photos Of Downtown Miami that we’ve ever seen and/or posted.

We have everything from the principal Miami courthouse in its construction mode, the Bayfront Park Amphitheater in its early forms, a virgin Miami River and so much more. Click below to look through all the photos.


[SINGLESP thumbnail_number=”” title=”The Freedom Tower & Biscayne Blvd (1930)” image=””]

One of the best photos that William A. Fishbaugh took of his journeys throughout Miami was this epic view of Biscayne Boulevard that shows a young Freedom Tower in the background. The arch and balcony in the foreground of this photo is truly what makes this one a classic.

Looking south on Biscayne Boulevard – Miami, Florida
Date February 13, 1930.
Fishbaugh, W. A.(William A.), b. ca. 1873
1 photoprint – b&w – 10 x 8 in.

Photo by William A. Fishbaugh


[SINGLESP thumbnail_number=”” title=”The Construction Of The Royal Palm Hotel (1896)” image=””]

Along with the extension of Henry Flagler’s rail, the Royal Palm Hotel was truly one of the main reasons why Miami became what it is today. It was the first real deal hotel built in Miami on the mouth of the Miami River. Above you can see the photo from March 15, 1896 of the official ground breaking ceremony for the hotel. Standing in the foreground are (L-R) E. G. Sewell, T. L. Townley, John Sewell, C. T. McCrimmon and J. E. Lummus. And below, you can see the rear of the hotel as its completed a couple years later in 1900; taken from the south and looking north.



[SINGLESP thumbnail_number=”” title=”The Courthouse Building (1927)” image=””]

The infamous Miami-Dade Courthouse building was constructed between the years 1925 and 1928 and officially opened for public use in 1928. Architects for the building were A. Ten Eyck Brown and August Geiger. Today, the building is used for mostly civil suits and hearings.



[SINGLESP thumbnail_number=”” title=”Bayfront Park Bandshell Opening Night (1950)” image=””]

On July 28, 1950, the City Of Miami on its 45th birthday opened up their newly built bandshell in the place of where the current Bayfront Amphitheater is located. About 12,500 people attended the opening, which was more than 3 times the capacity. The first show lasted from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. Click here to see the various transitions of the Amphitheater site through the decades.


[SINGLESP thumbnail_number=”” title=”World War II Over Miami (1941)” image=””]

The above photo shows U.S. Navy dive bombers flying over Downtown Miami during WWII doing training exercises. And below you can see sailors and servicemen celebrating the end of the war in 1945. And below that, you can see a simulated bomb strike with bombers over Miami.

Flagler street in Downtown Miami, sailors celebrate the β€œend” of World War II (1945)

Simulated WWII bomb raid over the skies of Downtown Miami (1946)


[SINGLESP thumbnail_number=”” title=”Bird’s Eye View Of Bayfront Park (1949)” image=””]

A nice view of the pristine park that is Bayfront Park via 1949. Click here to see the large version.


[SINGLESP thumbnail_number=”” title=”Flagler Street and Miami Avenue (1900)” image=””]

A very early photo of the intersection of Flagler Street and Miami Avenue. Click here to see the large version.


[SINGLESP thumbnail_number=”” title=”The Miami Skyline (1939)” image=””]

Our only color photo of the list, here is the Miami skyline circa the year 1939. Showing a very prominent Freedom Tower. A few years after this photo, things really did start to explode for Miami. Click here to see the large version.


[SINGLESP thumbnail_number=”” title=”Mouth Of The Miami River (1883)” image=””]

One of the most fascinating early photos of Miami is this one of a seemingly untouched Miami River. This is from 1883 (more or less) showing the mouth of the river. Its actually a similar angle of one of the photos we included in the Royal Palm Hotel slide, which was also taken from the Brickell side, looking north or so.


[SINGLESP thumbnail_number=”” title=”Miami Avenue Covered In Trenches (1897)” image=””]

This is an early photo of Miami Avenue dug up for the purpose of setting up the early plumbing infrastructure. In the foreground you can also see the Blacksmith Shop and tons of workers surveying the progress and doing what they do.


[SINGLESP thumbnail_number=”” title=”Downtown Miami street after the 1926 Hurricane” image=””]

The images that came in the aftermath of the 1926 Hurricane that Miami and South Florida experienced were quite breathtaking. You can do a quick Google search of “1926 Miami Hurricane” and you’ll run into tons.

And even though this photo doesn’t show nearly as much of what the actual damages were, it just stood out. The photo seems to show a booming young city in route to compete with the density of something like New York City and then all of a sudden, the city gets stopped in its tracks by a great and powerful storm.


[SINGLESP thumbnail_number=”” title=”Flagler & Miami Avenue (1908)” image=””]

One of the most, if not THE most impressive image of Miami’s historic past is this one of Flagler and Miami Ave taken in 1908. It really shows the young city of Miami within its “Main Street USA” period. You see horses, wagons, general stores and everything that encompassed a small town of middle America. All that surely changed soon after as Miami’s beautiful weather, crystal clear waters and heavenly location opened the possibilities for expansion.



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