Brickell is a popular and dynamic neighborhood in downtown Miami known for its title as the business district and its abundance of luxury condominium spaces. It has a long, fascinating history of turbulence and growth that goes back centuries.
Before explorers first settled in Miami, the Tequesta Indian tribe took up the region. They are thought to have lived there for over 2,000 years. The first Spanish pioneers claimed the region during the early 16th century.
US land expansion and the Spanish-American War both contributed to colonial settlers continuing to relocate to the Miami area. The US won Florida from the Spanish during the war, putting the region under US rule. By the mid-19th century, the ‘Village of Miami’ was officially established. From there, development continued to accelerate.
The Brickell District was officially named after Will and Mary Brickell, one of the earliest families to settle in the area. They built a home and a trading post in 1871, located in central Brickell. Their property included the entire Brickell neighborhood. Julia Tuttle, who purchased a citrus farm in the area, is considered a joint founder of the city.
By 1896, a railway had been built that extended all the way to Miami, funded by millionaire Henry Flagler. This connected Miami to the rest of the country, making it much easier for people to move back and forth. It was thought by many that Miami would become a hub of international business. Flager also financed the building of infrastructure in the city, including streets, power systems, and a hotel. Miami very quickly became a destination for rich Americans to visit on vacation.
Many of the nation’s wealthiest families built houses along Brickell Avenue. This soon came to be known as ‘Millionaire’s Row’. Expansion continued throughout the 20th century, as more wealthy families moved to the area to buy property and develop their own businesses. Two prominent businessmen, Carl Fisher and John Collins, created a very popular tourist destination out of the Miami Beach area. They built a highway, multiple nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, and shops.
The next few decades would take the US through the Great Depression, World War 2, and the Cold War. Each of these events contributed in its own way to the development of the city. While growth stagnated during the Great Depression, it stabilized during World War 2. Fidel Castro’s reign during the Cold War pushed many Cubans to seek refuge in Miami. You can still see the Cuban influence on the city to this day.
By the 1980s, the mansions in Brickell were replaced by hotels, apartment buildings, and office towers. Modern development took over the neighborhood, launching it into its new phase as the central business district of Miami.
In recent years, Brickell has become a very popular neighbor to reside in. Multiple condominiums and apartment buildings were built in the area, sparking many urban professionals to move there. Now, over 30,000 residents call Brickell their home. Large shopping plazas, such as the Brickell City Center, have been built to attract more and more tourists to the area for luxury shopping. Some of Miami’s best dining experiences and nightclubs have also been built in the neighborhood, giving it a lively and dynamic city feel.
As Brickell continues to grow, so does everything it has to offer.