Tomorrow is the birthday of the woman affectionately known as the “Mother of Miami”.
Julia Tuttle was born on January 22 in 1849 and by 1891 she was living along the Biscayne Bay in what was to become the City of Miami. After trying for several years to convince one of the railroad magnates to extend their railroad to Miami, the “great freeze of 1894-1895″ destroyed the orange crops in central and north Florida. Legend says that Julia Tuttle then sent Henry Flagler a bouquet of orange blossoms as proof that Miami didn’t freeze. By April 1896, Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway arrived and the City of Miami was incorporated on July 28, 1896.
“It’s only fitting that the statue honoring the “Mother of Miami” would stand adjacent to a children’s playground, overlooking the world-renowned seaport she envisioned when South Florida was nothing more than a vast swampland with a few patches of orange groves.” ~~ Sun Sentinel, July 29, 2010
The 10-foot-tall bronze statue of the “Mother of Miami” was designed by Eugene Daub and Rob Firmin of Daub & Firmin Sculpture Studios. Tuttle’s skirt is a history of early Miami in bas-relief, including Florida alligators and White Ibis, Seminole Indians, the troops that stayed in Miami during the Spanish American War, Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway train and his Royal Palm Hotel. There is even a scene of Julia Tuttle and Henry Flagler shaking hands. Cradled in the statue’s left arm is a basket of oranges while her right hand holds a handful of the famous orange blossoms that brought the train to Miami.
(Article originally posted on Miami Daily Photo)