Author and historian Seth Bramson held a postcard from the 1940s depicting a quiet street familiar to many Miami Shores residents — its downtown area.
The post card is a drawing of Northeast Second Avenue between Northeast 95th and 96th streets. The buildings in the picture are modest and colorful, as are the cars in it, models including a yellow convertible coupe and a red Beetle parked on side of the street.
Bramson has mapped the history of Miami Shores, something he has done for other cities in Greater Miami and railroads in Florida in the numerous of books he has written. “When you’re a history lover you have this feeling. It’s like having pheromones,” he said. “The point is that it’s an interesting history.”
In part of a collaboration between Miami Shore’s Fine Arts Commission and Brockway Memorial Library, Bramson was asked to curate Our Past in Pictures, an exhibit to document Miami Shore’s history, which opens 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday Oct. 9, and runs through the end of November.
The exhibit at the Brockway Memorial Library, 10021 NE Second Ave., will showcase memorabilia offered by the library and Bramson’s collection. Some items featured include one of the oldest known privately owned pieces with the name Biscayne on it, two letters from William H. Gleason, one of Florida’s early lieutenant governors, dating back to 1899.
Susan Ackley, Fine Arts Commission chair of Miami Shores, added there will be blown-up photos of past residents and buildings. She is particularly fond of a photo in the exhibit of what she said looks like a cop giving someone a ticket.
“This is the kind of thing that can transcend generations, anyone can get a ticket,” Ackley said. “It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting, it’s just iconic.”
The project took a half-year to complete. Ackley said the FAC wanted to give residents an opportunity to explore the village’s history in order to visualize its future.
“With the new council pushing for downtown redevelopment we thought it would be great to show what downtown has been, while looking forward to what it will be,” Ackley said.
Bramson said it is an honor to be part of a project about his home community. Before moving to Miami Shores 33 years ago, he lived in Miami Beach.
Since moving to Miami Shores, Bramson has been an active member in the community. He said working on the project reminded him of older retail stores such as the Biscayne Cafeteria and A&P Super Market, which used to be on Second Avenue. He also mentioned how former Mayor John Thompson was instrumental in founding Barry University, where Bramson is an adjunct professor teaching history.
“Thompson wasn’t even Catholic. He just believed this will be an ideal location for a Catholic college,” Bramson said.
Little facts of Miami Shores bounce off Bramson like static electricity, especially the names of Ellen Spears Harris and Hugh Anderson of the Shoreland Company, whose vision helped create today’s Northeast Miami-Dade County.
Bramson said it’s important for him to draw on enough history for attendees to understand the incorporation of Miami Shores. This includes telling attendees how the Shores was once part of a fertile pineapple plantation stretching from what is now El Portal to north of 151 Street, and about politicians including Miami Shores Village’s first mayor, Frank O Pruitt, who was voted into office Jan. 22, 1932.
In the last five years, more than 500 new residents have moved into the village, according the U.S. Census Bureau. Ackley hopes to target the young couples and families who may not know much of their new community.
“I’d really like to encourage young children and families to learn more about where they’re living,” Ackley said.
If you go
▪ What: Opening of Our Past in Pictures
▪ Where: Brockway Memorial Library 10021 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores
▪ When: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9
▪ Admission: Free