“Why was North Miami given such an unimaginative name? Were other names considered?”
That’s the question from reader Elena Alexander that won the most number of votes, which means we’re answering it for you today.
Basically, the name comes down to some tough luck for the city’s founders and marketing.
North Miami’s lifespan as a city starts with a community called Arch Creek. The area centered around Northeast 125th Street and the Florida East Coast Railway, and in the late 19th century, it was primarily a farming community.
In the early part of the 20th century, the area was formally incorporated as the town of Miami Shores in 1926. But a few years later things got complicated.
The village of Miami Shores incorporated a few years later and it forced the town of Miami Shores to change its name. And instead of reverting to their previous Arch Creek identity, they decided to think about name recognition.
“At that time they said well, if we call it Arch Creek no one’s going to know what we’re talking about,” said historian Seth Bramson, a member of the Greater North Miami Historical Society. “The folks in North Miami decided, let’s capitalize on the Miami name.”
Bramson said they essentially used the same logic that would later lead to Dade County being renamed Miami-Dade County in the 1990s. Miami was gaining recognition in those early decades due to a big push from the local chambers of commerce to start marketing the “Magic City.”
“This was at the height of the great Florida boom thanks to the [Florida East Coast] railway,” said Bramson. “Everybody from Kansas City to the east coast knew the name Miami.”