South Miami's Beginning
Although Native Americans had doubtlessly roamed the area for centuries, the recorded history of South Miami began at the turn of the century when the rich farmlands of South Dade lured pioneers down through Little Hunting Ground (later known as Coconut Grove) to Big Hunting Ground (now known as Cutler).
In 1897, W.A. Larkins, an early pioneer and founder of South Miami, brought his family into the lush wilderness at the southernmost end of the wagon trail that is now the Ingraham Highway. He started a small dairy and a year later established a post office near what is now Cocoplum Circle.
Upon the completion of the Miami to Homestead extension of the Florida East Coast Railroad in 1906, Larkins bought the property west of what is now Red Road and south of Sunset Drive and established the first grocery and general supply store located in the area. Additionally, the US Government moved the post office to that location, and the surrounding community was named Larkins in honor of its Postmaster.
Growing Population & City Development
By 1917, the population of Larkins had swelled to 350. As with much of Florida, the real estate boom of the Roaring 1920s had a large impact on Larkins. Land values reached an all-time high when a 10-acre tract sold for $100,000. The epicenter of the boom was near the original Riviera Theater, which is more commonly referred to today as the Shops at Sunset Place.
Beginning in the mid-1920s, many citizens of Larkins expressed a desire to incorporate their burgeoning community. In March of 1926, a group of qualified voters met and voted affirmatively to annex an area of approximately 6 square miles. This section of land was bounded on the east by Red Road, on the south by S.W. 104th St. and Kendall Drive, on the west by Ludlam and the Palmetto, and on the north by Bird Road.
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