The Great Miami Hammock

From HistoryMiami


Brickell Hammock, 1896. J. N Chamberlain, photographer. HistoryMiami, 1962-024-64.

Before Brickell, there was the forest. The Miami Hammock, or Brickell Hammock, as it was also called, stretched south from the Miami River to north Coconut Grove and inland about half a mile. It was one of the largest and most biologically diverse coastal hardwood hammocks in South Florida.

Miami tourists and residents of the 1900s and 1910s walked and drove through the picturesque woodland on their way to and from Coconut Grove. These postcards and views provide a glimpse of what they saw.

It was a fleeting glimpse, for the hammock soon gave way to a growing city. By 1920, naturalist Charles Torrey Simpson mourned [Brickell Hammock’s] passing: “On account of the encroachment of this flourishing settlement [Miami] much of it has been destroyed and only a remnant of its former beauty and stateliness remains.”

A century later, Brickell residents and visitors can see and admire remnants of the great Miami Hammock at Simpson Park, Alice Wainwright Park, and Vizcaya. In fact, 60 Brickell neighbors did just that on the first Brickell Area Eco-Tour featuring Simpson Park, Alice Wainwright Park and Virginia Key Park in November.

Photo at top: Drive to Coconut Grove, circa 1904. J. N. Chamberlain, photographer. HistoryMiami, x-2897-1

Special thanks to HistoryMiami for this contribution and use of these photographic images. To order a copy of these or other historic Miami images, contact Archives Manager Dawn Hugh at 305-375-1623. For exhibits and special programs, visit www.historymiami.org.

Brickell neighbors take Eco-Tour of what remains of Simpson’s beloved Hammock…read story.

From BHA News Vol. XXIV No. 1, Winter/Spring 2014