Community Conversations

If Miami-Dade County had its own Mount Rushmore, whom would you put on it?

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.

We asked the following question on this week: If Miami-Dade County had its own Mount Rushmore, whom would you put on it? Thanks for all of your responses. Below are some of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network at, and check back next week for another conversation.

When we asked our Facebook followers whom they’d like etched on a mountain, among the most popular names mentioned were Henry Flagler, Don Shula, Dwyane Wade, Pepe Billete, Julia Tuttle, Ralph Monroe, William and Mary Brickell, Gloria Estefan, Dan Marino and Don Francisco.

Julia Tuttle, of course, since her recruitment of Flagler’s railroad helped build Miami. Roddy Burdine would be another appropriate individual — the son of the founder of Burdines department store was significant enough that the old Orange Bowl was named after him. George Merrick, who founded Coral Gables and donated UM’s campus, should be there. And let’s put Don Shula there. ... I’m sure enough other people can explain why he deserves a spot.

(I thought about Glenn Curtiss, but Shula’s the more obvious choice). Of course, we could also make a nice list for an anti-Rushmore: Giuseppe Zangara, who tried to assassinate FDR in Bayfront Park, comes to mind.

Rob LaVohn, Miami


Founder: Julia Tuttle

Sports: Don Shula

Media: Neil Rogers

Nature: Ron Magill

Paul Hernandez, Miami Springs


That honor should go to Marjory Stoneman Douglas. She realized the importance of our natural resources long before environmental issues were the topic of the day. She deserves great admiration for her relentless fight to save the environment and the precious resources that are part of Miami-Dade County and our beautiful state of Florida. Proposing “responsible urban planning,’’ sustainable use of resources and fighting for women suffrage and civil rights, she was so far ahead of her time. The Everglades cry for her.

Carmen Schwelm, Miami


Claude Pepper, because he was a tireless champion for the elderly; Alberto Carvalho, because he is a champion of education; Bob Graham, because he was a champion for us of all; Romero Britto, because everyone needs a bit of beauty and joy in their lives.

Michele Stone, Coral Gables


Dwyane Wade

Pat Riley

Gloria Estefan

Pitbull (Armando Perez)

Indira Aguirre, Miami


Merrett Stierheim. He has served two very successful terms as County Manager as well as the Superintendent of Dade County School system. Oversaw the Decade of Progress Bond investments and the construction of Metro Rail. He has always exhibited professional leadership and the utmost integrity. He was and will always be the County’s strongest leader.

Don Allen, Miami


The representation of service men and women like military, police, firefighters, medics and teachers. It’s time to recognize the real heroes and superstars within our community.

Carlos Castillo, Miami


Henry Flagler

Julia Tuttle

Robert King High (Mayor)

Jackie Gleason

Helen Doyle, Miami


If they put a Mount Rushmore on top of Mount Trashmore (our highest peak) I’d ask them to chisel the faces of Osceola, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Gloria Estefan and Thelma Gibson.

Glenn Terry, Coconut Grove


Miami Rushmore, the name I would call it, would reveal four faces of the most prominent people in our nation. These important people have demonstrated great leadership through dedication and perseverance. Francis Scott Key, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, and Muhammad Ali all had a calling to help others.

Some use heroic courage to aid those in need; others used their professions to send a message of hope, shaping our world with redirection. But, they all were as skilled as a sculptor with a jackhammer. They chiseled the sound of hope that resonated with people, moving the masses with compassion to break down the remnants of hate and create a spirit of harmony. The faces of such graceful leaders deserve to be carved on my imaginary Miami Rushmore. I applaud their bravery and strength.

Tanya Chen, Miami