In the first episode of This Day in Miami History, we discuss the last time Dade had its borders significantly redrawn. It’s the day that the neighbor to the north, Broward County, comes into existence: April 30, 1915. Or was it? The answer is much murkier than what you may think.

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[00;00;00;00 – 00;00;08;12] Matthew Bunch: If you’ve ever met someone who’s from Miami, it probably took you about five seconds to hear something like this. . . .

[00;00;08;15 – 00;00;11;10] Trick Daddy: Born and raised in the county of Dade.

[00;00;11;12 – 00;00;13;06] Matthew Bunch: Or maybe this

[00;00;13;09 – 00;00;15;05] Pitbull feat. Lil Jon: Hey! 305 till I die.

[00;00;15;07 – 00;00;29;04] Matthew Bunch: Miami’s best known as a city. But the concept of Miami is bigger than the boundaries of that city. The county — Dade — defines its people, defines its culture, defines its identity.

[00;00;29;06 – 00;01;14;13] Matthew Bunch: But what is Miami Dade? What is the 305? Perhaps it’s easier to start with what it’s not: Broward. The 954. A separate county that sometimes feels like a world away. But it’s not that far. And in fact, when you dig a little bit deeper, you understand that the two counties are intertwined through history and so much more. That’s what we’re going to explore today: This Day in Miami History. April 30th, 1915. The day that — at least on paper — Broward came into existence and Miami defined its boundaries as we know them today.

[00;01;14;15 – 00;01;33;12] King Elizabeth: “Miami Sunrise” by King Elizabeth

[00;01;33;14 – 00;02;02;22] Matthew Bunch: My name is Matthew Bunch, and I want to welcome you to This Day in Miami History. Over the next however long we’re going to be together, I’m going to do my best at least once a month to explore one important day in the history of the Magic City and the metropolitan county. My goal is that if you give me ten-ish minutes, I’ll try to give you a page out of the storybook. That is our city, That is our county, that is our region.

[00;02;02;24 – 00;02;31;19] Matthew Bunch: Now, I was not born and raised in the county of Dade. I was actually born in Baltimore, a city in a county that have a very unique governmental arrangement. The city of Baltimore is surrounded by the county of Baltimore and operate completely independently of one another. And so when I moved to Miami, it was very difficult for me to process the idea that the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County were both somehow separate and together at the same time.

[00;02;31;21 – 00;02;55;24] Matthew Bunch: As I learned more about the city and its history and about the county and its history, I became fascinated with the development of Miami-Dade County, and specifically the shrinking of Miami-Dade County. Dade County, as it was more simply known then, was created in 1836 and named after Major Francis Dade, who was killed in the Second Seminole War.

[00;02;55;27 – 00;03;18;13] Matthew Bunch: To me, what’s so distinctive about that Dade County, is how unbelievably large it was compared to the Miami-Dade County we are familiar with today. When the county was established, it included all of what is now Miami-Dade, most of what is now Broward and Palm Beach, and half of the Florida Keys from Key Largo to Bahia Honda.

[00;03;18;16 – 00;03;50;16] Matthew Bunch: That’s a big chunk of land. And the reason why it was so big is because, well, it was so small — in terms of population. The first recorded census population of Dade County took place in 1840, and the total population of all that land was 446. By 1850, the population fell more than 60 percent to 159, and by 1860 only 83 recorded people lived in all of Miami-Dade County.

[00;03;50;19 – 00;04;12;07] Matthew Bunch: During the 1860s, the rest of the Florida Keys were returned to Monroe, and it appeared the Dade County would remain, for a significant period of time, a rather uninhabited plot of land.As you can imagine, it won’t remain that way forever. [SOUND OF WIND BLOWING THROUGH EMPTY LAND]

[00;04;12;09 – 00;04;34;12] Matthew Bunch: But let’s skip ahead a little bit and let’s get into the 1900s. By this point, the population in the region has boomed. It’s no metropolis by any stretch of the imagination, but by 1900, the population is about to break 5000. And it is at this point, the state begins to consider both population and geographic consideration.

[00;04;34;14 – 00;05;08;16] Matthew Bunch: In 1909, the first major split from Dade County since the realignment of the Keys takes place. And Palm Beach County is formed. Even though a population of approximately 5000 people is carved out from Dade, the population in 1910 is actually larger than it was in 1900: Almost 12,000 people. And that brings us back to Broward. This Broward split seemed like the perfect starting point for this podcast because it is really the setting of the boundaries that South Floridians know today.

[00;05;08;19 – 00;05;38;18] Matthew Bunch: Since 1915, there has been no major change. What we had is what we have. And so understanding this move, to me, is pretty important in going forward as we look at Miami-Dade and the city of Miami and everything within the county’s borders. So I zeroed in on the foundation day. You do a Wikipedia search. It’s listed right there in the sidebar. As I mentioned earlier, it’s today, April 30th, 1915.

[00;05;38;20 – 00;05;55;00] Matthew Bunch: And so I dug in. I wanted to take a look at the reporting and wanted to take a look at the coverage of this major news event, the splitting of the counties, the creation of a new governmental unit. And when I dug into it, I was confused.

[00;05;55;02 – 00;06;35;02] Matthew Bunch: I took a look at covers of the Miami Herald and the Miami News from 1915. And yes, there was coverage of this issue, but it wasn’t quite what I imagined. The Miami Daily Metropolis, as the Miami News was known then, had a story about Broward County on the front on April 30th, but it read “Broward County Will Be Dry: Opinion of County Attorney.” Will be dry. That’s not the kind of verbiage you use to describe a county that already exists. And as we established, Broward is supposed to exist on this day, April 30th, 1915.

[00;06;35;04 – 00;06;53;10] Matthew Bunch: But what I found was more interesting was on the front page of the Miami Herald on April 30th. And that was simply: nothing. I shouldn’t say nothing. There was a lot on the front page of the Miami Herald on April 30th, 1915, just no mention of Broward County.

[00;06;53;12 – 00;07;31;23] Matthew Bunch: There was coverage of World War I, mentioning the Dardanelles. There is the mention of the Davis Package bill that was designed, essentially, as a first step towards prohibition. There was even mention of a fish bill that died in the state House of Representatives, but not a single mention of the word Broward. How? How is it possible that the day that is identified as the founding day of Broward County, there’s not a single mention of it in the Miami Herald, the paper of record for the City of Miami in a county that was getting carved up to make Broward County.

[00;07;31;26 – 00;07;57;20] Matthew Bunch: I had to look in a little bit further. What I found is that the creating of a new county out of an old county creates all kinds of headaches, and those headaches take time to resolve. And the simple answer was Broward County didn’t come into existence on April 30th, 1915. It came into existence on October 1st, 1915. In fact, that’s exactly what the law says.

[00;07;57;23 – 00;08;31;19] Matthew Bunch: Reading now from the GENERAL ACTS AND RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE LEGISLATURE of FLORIDA At Its Fifteenth Regular Session, Under the Constitution of A. D. 1885, specifically reading Chapter 6934, “AN ACT Providing for the Creation of Broward County in the State of Florida and for the Organization of Government Thereof.” The very last part of the law, Section 23 states: “This act shall take effect and be in force from the first day of October 1915. Approved April 30, 1915.”

[00;08;31;21 – 00;09;04;14] Matthew Bunch: So the law creating Broward County was signed on the last day of the session in 1915, but Broward County really didn’t come into existence until October. And when you start to look at the news reports from around October 1st, you begin to see a much different story in terms of the coverage. Again, pulling from the Miami News headline, “Broward County comes into being tomorrow with great celebration in Fort Lauderdale, County Seat.” “New county takes place in counties of the state on October 1st.”

[00;09;04;16 – 00;09;31;18] Matthew Bunch: The actual government of Broward County has been pretty consistent about this. In a South Florida Sun-Sentinel report from September of 2014. The county was preparing its centennial celebrations and was using the October 1st date to celebrate. So why has there been this mix up? Why has the passing of the law been used by so many people as the formation date of Broward County when the county itself doesn’t do it?

[00;09;31;21 – 00;09;59;21] Matthew Bunch: Now, you may say, Matthew, you mentioned that you got your date from Wikipedia. What a silly resource to use to base an entire podcast episode. But the funny thing is, it’s not just Wikipedia. It’s all over the place. It’s found in an official state document, “Florida County Superintendent of Public Instruction,” a document that’s meant to help educators better teach their students, uses the wrong date” “County formed April 30th, 1915.”

[00;09;59;23 – 00;10;30;02] Matthew Bunch: The University of South Florida provides a resource to teachers in the state entitled “Exploring Florida.” And as part of that website, it also shows maps of Broward County and identifies the establishment date as April 30, 1915. Ultimately, that number did come from somewhere, and the somewhere was a misunderstanding of Florida law and how it works. And what the law is and how it works does not always compute with the realities of what people experience on the ground.

[00;10;30;04 – 00;11;15;09] Matthew Bunch: Even though Broward becomes an official county, finally, on October 1st, 1915, there are still matters to resolve. In fact, it’s not until February 3rd, 1916, that this headline appears in the Miami Herald: “Dade and Broward Counties agreed on their divorce settlement of all matters by commissioners in joint session.” It took months after the official date before the agreement between Miami-Dade — what was then Dade — and Broward County was completely finished. How appropriate that between Dade and Broward Counties, the local rivals, it’s Broward that arrives on Miami time.

[00;11;15;12 – 00;11;46;00] Matthew Bunch: The last little interesting bit I took away from my digging into the coverage of this news event was the Herald’s coverage of the day of official separation. October 1st. The news coverage doesn’t actually appear until page six, which certainly means that October 2nd, 1915, was the first time a Broward resident sought to contact the Herald, complaining that they didn’t get the coverage that they wanted for their neck of the woods.

[00;11;46;03 – 00;12;31;10] Matthew Bunch: But the other thing I found interesting was actually a little bit before that on page three, not in the news section, but in the sports section. The headline reads, “Dixie Highways drop close one Lauderdale.” “The Miami Dixie Highways dropped a sensational game to the team of Fort Lauderdale yesterday afternoon, by the close margin of 1 to 0. The lone tally scored in the game went over the plate in the eighth inning.” The last paragraph of the story reads, “The loss of the game yesterday does not lose the title of Dade County championship to Fort Lauderdale as Fort Lauderdale is now in Broward County. The Dixie Highways maintained the title of champions of Dade County, although this may be disputed by Homestead.”

[00;12;31;12 – 00;12;56;02] Matthew Bunch: It left me thinking, is there some title, some trophy, some plaque somewhere in Broward from a team long gone by in a league, long gone by that would remain the ultimate souvenir of the separation of these two counties in the ultimate beginning of the friendly — and sometimes unfriendly — rivalry between the two.

[00;12;56;04 – 00;13;21;20] Matthew Bunch: I guess we’ll never know. But what we do know is that’s the end of our show. First off, I want to thank you for listening, taking the time out of your day to check things out. I want to thank the band King Elizabeth for their track “Miami Sunrise,” which is the theme song to our show. I want to credit the Miami Herald and the Miami News Archives for their incredible resource of information that I’ve been able to pull from.

[00;13;21;23 – 00;13;55;22] Matthew Bunch: And I want to direct you to and @thisdaymiamipod on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, where you’ll be able to interact more directly with these primary sources of information that I’ve used to help bring you this story. If you like what you’ve heard, please rate, subscribe and review wherever you listen to your podcasts. I greatly appreciate it. And tell a friend! Or, contact me and share an idea for the show. I look forward to hearing from you. Until next time. I’m Matthew Bunch.

[00;13;55;24 – 00;14;15;01] King Elizabeth: “Miami Sunrise” by King Elizabeth

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