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How Miami Got its Name

February 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Phin Upham

When the first meetings to incorporate the city of Miami were held, there was much debate as to what to call the city. Julia Tuttle had worked for several years to get Henry Flagler to bring the Florida East Coast Railway to her orange groves, all that was left was a name. The two had a long history, Tuttle had invited Flagler many times to move his railway to the area. Tuttle had sacrificed much to get to this point as well, willing to offer almost half her land free of charge for the chance to build a city and bring jobs and opportunity to the land.

Though Tuttle is today remembered as the mother of Miami, her name was never considered as part of the founding. Many residents of the town had settled hoping for work that the railroad would bring. It seemed fitting to these people that the town down the name “Flagler,” but Henry Flagler reportedly insisted his name not be used. Instead, Flagler Street has immortalized his name in another way.

The group that incorporated Miami looked at the history of the area when they drew for inspiration. The Miami River had supplied them all with important resources. The natives had thrived on its banks, hunting deer and fishing to sustain their lifestyles. Settlers grew fruit there, all thanks to the water and fertile land. The council thought it fitting to name this region, which had been spared the horrors of the Great Freeze, after the river which supplied so much.

In the end, the city of Miami was incorporated with roughly 500 registered voters in July of 1896.


About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.

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