While Miami is the product of a late 19th century deal between the well-known William and Mary Brickell, Julia Tuttle and Henry Flagler, the Brickell’s had no counterparts in Fort Lauderdale. They owned a wide swath of land on the north side of New River from the west side of the finger isles to fork of New River,
Were it not for Mary Brickell, US 1 and the Florida East Coast Railroad would have continued through Fort Lauderdale on the crest of the Atlantic Coastal Ridge (approximately NE/SE 15th Avenue) as it does along the rest of its route. Brickell, however, planned a luxury suburb at the east end of her New River holdings. A highway and a railroad on the ridge through her property was not part of her plan, so she had them both shifted to the west. She had the then Dade County’s north-south road, the precursor to US 1, moved to the west side of her luxury subdivision, where the Henry Kinney Tunnel is today. The railroad was shifted even further west in the Brickell New River holding to assure the core of the new town would be sufficiently distant from the leafy, suburban enclaves she was planning to the east.
Successful in her route-altering efforts, Mary Brickell’s plan for an exclusive suburb for the new town gave us what are today the neighborhoods of Beverly Heights and Colee Hammock. The well-known Las Olas Blvd. restaurant/retail district runs through the neighborhoods, as does the hidden, picturesque Himmarshee Canal.
Dating from the early 20th century, these fancy, century-old neighborhoods contain fine examples of that century’s architectural periods, including Florida Cracker, Mediterranean Revival, Tropical Art Deco and Bauhaus/International Style.