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Hialeah Florida


Hialeah, Fl, the "City of Progress" is located upon a larger prairie between Biscayne Bay and the Everglades. The name Hialeah is translated as "pretty prairie" or "Upland Parries". The Seminole interpretation of its name, "High Prairie" the area is home to the Seminole Indian tribe. The area was discovered by Missouri cattleman James Bright and Glenn Curtiss who was a pioneer aviator.

The culture of today's Seminole Tribe of Florida can be traced back at least 12,000 years. In the early day of its existence, the US government carried out a policy of displacement and extermination against the American Indians in the east US systematically removing them from the path of "white "settlement. Two legendary leaders Osceola and Abaca. Osceola masterminded successful battles against five baffled general. Murdered the US Indian agent, took punitive action against any who cooperated with the white man and stood as a national manifestation of the Seminole's strong reputation for non surrender... though his exploits were not so well published Seminole medicine man Abiaka may have been more important to the internal Seminole war machine. He was a powerful spiritual leader who used his medicine to stir warriors into frenzy. For all of the resistance the Seminoles began the 20th centaury where they had been left at the conclusion of the Seminole Wars, in abject poverty and hiding out in remote camps in the wet wilderness areas of South Florida. The tribe has matured both politically and financially and the challenge of maintaining the unique Seminole culture while operating in the mainstream economy is the priority for them today. Until 1821 Florida was under the control of the government of Spain.

Entertainment was plentiful in Hialeah during the decade known as the "Roaring 20's" The Spanish sport of jai-alai and greyhound racing drew visitors from far and near. Even the 1926 hurricane that nearly destroyed the city those who believed in the future of Hialeah could not be deterred.

Hialeah Park racetrack opened in 1925 and is one of the oldest existing recreational facilities in southern Florida. Racing drew spectators and competing stables from all around. When the facility was severely damaged by a hurricane in 1926. Philadelphia horseman Joseph Widener and Kentucky horseman Col Edward Bradley hired architect Lester Deisler to design a complete new grandstand and a clubhouse in the Renaissance Revival style. Beautiful landscaped gardens with native plants and a lake in the infield stocked with flamingos. When is opened again in 1932 it was considered one of the most beautiful in the world and became so famous for the flamingos that is has been officially designate d a sanctuary for them by the Audubon society. The track is gone but the flamingoes remain in this park which was once considered one of the world's most beautiful racetracks.

The flamingo Stakes race was an important stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby for 3 year old horses. The well known cult classic horse racing movie "Let it Ride" with Richard Dreyfuss, Terri Garr, JenniferTilly had most of its principal outdoor scenes at Hialeah Park.

The Hialeah Park Racetrack was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and was determined to be eligible as a National Historic Landmark. The park closed to the public in 2001 but the facilities remain intact except for the stables. Since the closing citizens to Save Hialeah Park Race Track have worked to preserve it. They offer this quote " the Park was once the most beautiful rack track in the world, it marks the beginnings of the city of Hialeah and its founders, features a unique central park area, and is a symbolic resting place for the horses that raced there and the millions of people who once cheered from the clubhouse and grandstand. Hialeah Park is the city's most evident and only historical link with the rest of the nation. It deserves nothing less than to be completely restored and preserved" What the fans will miss the most is the ritual after the seventh race, the flight of the flamingos. The quality of racing in general in the area was adversely affected when Hialeah did not open up the backside to accommodate 1,000 to 1,300 horses from all around the country who were normally stabled there. This reduced the number of horses coming into the area to race.

From a population of 1500 in 1925 Hialeah has grown at a rate faster than most of the ten largest cities in Florida. Predominantly Hispanic, Hialeah resident s has assimilated their cultural heritage and traditions into a hard working diverse community. Citizens are proud of their ethnic background and strive to keep neighborhoods family oriented.

Nearly 92% of the populations are Spanish speakers The city was once proposed to be a playground for the rich but in 1959 Cuban exiles flooded in a finished building this working class community. Several waves of Cuban exiles streamed in after Castor's takeover in Cuba in 1959. There were even more in the Freedom Flights, the boat lifts and the desperate boat people who in the late 1990's set out in any possible conveyance to try to reach our shores. They have created a very successful economy and industry that has seen continued growth.

The city's first slogan was "All Ways Lead to Hialeah". From the beginning Glenn Curtiss and James Bright knew of the potential of the area but could not have imagined how important Hialeah's location would be for transportation. Hialeah has access to every major means of transportation. The I-75 and the Palmetto Pwky direct economical access to the Opa Locka and Miami International Airports. There is Amtrak, Tri Rail and Metro Road station conveniently located with the city.

The Miami-Dade Public School System serves the city with 3 high schools, 4 middle schools, and 17 elementary schools. The Dade Christian School (Baptist) is the largest private school in the area and is a ministry of new Testament Baptist church.

Monsignor Edward Pace Hitch School, St John the Apostle School and Immaculate Conception School serve the primacy and secondary private school students.

Miami Dade College Hialeah Campus opened in 1980. In addition to academics there are many cultural and community events sponsored by the college.

The larges Santero Community outside of Cuba is in Hialeah, the Santeria World Headquarters. In a lawsuit between the Church of lukumi Babalu Aye v. city of Hialeah, the Santeria practice of animal sacrifice was ruled unconstitutional.

Telemoundo is the second largest Spanish language network. It is headquartered in Hialeah. There are several studios working taping programming, talk shows, news programs and telenovelas.

Hialeah is the densest city in the United State without a skyscraper. The city's tallest building is 14 floors and is only considered a mid rise.

Sports enthusiasts can enjoy Major League Baseball. The Florida marlins and Minor League Baseball, the Jupiter hammerheads and the Palm Beach Cardinals play and hour and a half north in Jupiter, Florida. The hammerheads are a Class A Advanced affiliate of the Florida Marlins, and the cardinals are a Class A Advanced affiliate of the St Louis Cardinals.

The National basketball League Miamian Heat, The National football League Miami Dolphins and the national Hockey League Florida Panthers are all within a small driving distance of Hialeah. The United soccer League is represented by the First Division Miami FC and fans of college football will enjoy the fact that nearby Miami is the home of the Orange Bowl

Hialeah restaurants and bars are a mix of traditional Cuban and international fusion food. Asturias features a unique menu that combines traditional Spanish menu items like tapas which are small plates of different appetizers that are eaten as a meal, with an American influence. Cantina Okeechobee is known for their delicious margaritas and fajitas. At Café Raul on Palm Avenue the Cuban coffee, sandwiches and pastries are extremely popular amount the locals.

Shopping centers and malls abound in and around Hialeah. Westland Mall, just off the Palmetto Expressway, is a popular shopping destination. Anchored by Macy's JCPenny and Sears, Westland Mall features nearly 100 stores. There are also cafes and restaurants like Crepe's Land and Havana Madrid Restaurant, Just up the street from Westland Mall is the Miracle Mille Shopping Center, whose stores include Ross, TJ Maxx and Lane Bryant. Across the street there is Burlington coat Factory and Marshall's. Other nearby shopping malls includes mall of the Americas, Dolphin mall and Miami International Mall.

On the southeastern section of Hialeah is the historic district called Deer park. This tiny section of Hialeah is unique because its street names were probably borrowed from the natives who lived in the area. Per-na-na and To-to-loche are but a few of the interesting names.


Submitted by:

Kamyar Shah





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