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We know the story behind some of Miami’s best-known streets, like Flagler Street and Brickell Avenue. Others, we drive on for decades without ever knowing the story.
When reader Rafael Ciordia asked us who Le Jeune Road is named after, we had no clue. So we decided to look into it.
It turns out that the street’s namesake is Charles Le Jeune, a Belgian immigrant who moved to Florida in the early 20th century. Here’s what Miami’s resident historian, Paul George, had to say about him.
WHO WAS HE? A farmer whose main crop was grapefruit (because Florida). He grew more than 100 acres of crops, mostly in southwest Miami-Dade. Other than that, Paul said historians don’t know much more about his personal life or what brought him to Miami all the way from Belgium.
WHAT DID HE DO IN MIAMI? Le Jeune settled into what’s now Coral Gables and owned more than 100 acres of land. He caught the attention of George Merrick, the visionary founder of the Gables, who eventually purchased about 160 acres of land from Le Jeune to develop for his own crops.
WHEN WAS THE NAME ESTABLISHED? Southwest 42nd Avenue has been named after Charles Le Jeune since the 1920s. According to Paul, Merrick was the main person pushing for the designation. In fact, Merrick’s support might have been all about business. “I really think part of the [land] deal was he told Charlie Le Jeune, ‘I’m gonna name this road after you,” Paul told us.
A NOT-SO-FUN FACT: Despite all his success, and his big land sale to Merrick, Charles Le Jeune didn’t really hold onto this wealth.
Paul told us that Le Jeune sent much of his profit back to his family in Belgium and that he actually only ended up with about half the money that Merrick promised to pay him from the land deal. “He lived and eventually died in a hotel on what is now Miracle Mile,” Paul said.
Got other questions about random landmarks in Miami? Is there anything else you’ve always wondered about? Nothing’s too random. Hit reply and let us know or email us at [email protected]
One Community One Goal’s Report to the Community hits it out of the park on July 25th from 7:45am to 11:00am at Marlins Park. Learn More ».
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Suarez’s stadium. City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez may be less than a year into his mayoral term, but he’s already facing a defining moment as the main cheerleader for the David Beckham stadium plan at the Melreese golf course, which got pummeled in last week’s City of Miami commission meeting. The deal is pretty different from Marlins Park, but the fallout from that saga ended with county Mayor Carlos Alvarez being voted out of office and could be a cautionary tale as the contentious plan for soccer moves forward. (Miami Herald, The New Tropic)
In case you’re still curious. Speaking of the stadium, there are still plenty of unknowns headed into tomorrow’s vote, including what it will cost to clean up the toxic soil on site and how much money the City of Miami can truly expect the project to generate. Mayor Suarez and representatives from the Beckham group discussed some of those details with the Miami Herald’s editorial board in a Facebook Live interview. (Miami New Times, Facebook)
The next gator generation. Are rising temps disrupting the gender balance of various Florida creatures? Scientists think so. The impact on sea turtle populations is already pretty well-documented, but a University of North Florida professor has built 20 man-made nests with alligator eggs to see if it’s happening to alligators, too. We’ll find out in mid-August, when the eggs hatch. (Miami Herald)
How to spend $8 billion. County leaders are set to debate the future of bus rapid transit later this week, but they’ve also got their eye on a whole bunch of other innovative transit ideas. With almost $8 billion to spend through 2057 on transit expansion, they’ve invited international companies to town to pitch them on new options for Miami-Dade. That same pot of money could also potentially pay for an expansion of the good old Metrorail, but not necessarily for the costly maintenance if the train system does eventually expand. (The New Tropic, Miami Herald)
Another hurdle for the homeless. Life on the street is difficult enough for Miami’s homeless population, and a very strange, specific law is making it even tougher. Almost 50 people across Miami-Dade have been arrested in the last three years for using a dairy crate improperly or stealing one. Many of the offenders are released after a night in jail, but violators could face a year of prison time. Plus, critics say, it’s a ridiculous waste of police resources. (Miami New Times)
New day for North Miami? It’s been a rocky road for North Miami, which has had its fair share of political corruption, mayoral arrests, and issues with the city’s police force. But officials think they’ve turned a corner and they’re working to develop a vibrant downtown centered on new businesses like Cafe Creme and the city-owned Museum of Contemporary Art, now under new leadership. Longtime businesses and art galleries see the changes but hope they won’t get pushed out by all the new development. (Miami Herald)
SunPass problems. Remember when the SunPass system went down for maintenance about a month ago? If you didn’t load up your account beforehand, you might be dealing with a hefty toll bill, and you’re far from alone. The company that operates SunPass, Conduent State & Local Solutions, is running behind on processing millions of charges from when the system was down, and that’s leading to a whole lot of late fees and other charges. Apparently they’ve been there many times before – and Florida still hired them. (Tampa Bay Times)
👍 Do you know all of Miami’s Advantages? Find out why it is always Advantage Miami at this year’s One Community One Goal’s Annual Report to the Community at Marlins Park.
🎶Tomorrow: Groove to some jazz at the Yard (Wynwood)
🍛Thursday: Try all the healthy, delicious noms at Jackson Hall (Allapattah)
🎥 Friday: Travel to Congo with the Black Lounge Film Series (Overtown)
🎥 Saturday: Catch Krush Groove, based on the origin story of Def Jam Records, with the Black Lounge Film Series (Overtown)
🗣Thursday, July 26: Ask a dietician all your questions about sugar (Allapattah)
🎞 Catch Lucia, a Cuban film classic (Coral Gables)
🎨 Get your fingers dirty at this paint night (Wynwood)
👮 Learn about LGBTQ hate crimes and counterterrorism from a former FBI agent (South Beach)
🐢Watch sea turtle hatchlings be released into the wild (Haulover Beach)
😋Try all the food truck noms (North Bay Village)
🎤Catch an open mic night (Allapattah)
🗳Hear from the D-27 Democratic candidates (Coconut Grove)
💵 Get a District 8 breakdown of the county budget (Cutler Bay)
🌃Jam around a rooftop pool (Downtown)
🌊Talk climate change, Miami, and voting (South Beach)
🇨🇴Celebrate Colombian independence with a massive party (Wynwood)
🌌Explore the galaxy with Frost Science (Downtown)
🎸Celebrate 15 years of PALO! (Little Havana)
☕Talk intention at Creative Mornings with the owner of Loba (Downtown)
🐟Dance to save the fishies (Downtown)
🚴Take a history tour of Coconut Grove by bike (Coconut Grove)
🕺Celebrate the grand opening of the Bodyshop Experience (Wynwood)
🔬Be a scientist for a day (Key Biscayne)
🌅Start your morning off with a rooftop yoga sesh, then dance it out (Mid-Beach)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag @thenewtropic on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with a New Tropic membership.
It’s hot out there. If you’re looking for a way to cool off, check out Eater’s list of the best spots to grab a cold cocktail.
Drink responsibly and we’ll see ya tomorrow 🍸
– The New Tropic