Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Miami's Famous Firsts!

Miami is the first and only major city in the US conceived by a woman, Julia Tuttle, who is regarded as the "mother of Miami."

The first photo-finish capability for deciding the winner of a horse race was installed at Hialeah Racetrack in 1936. The Racetrack is seen here as it was in 1925. It re-opened in November, 2009, for quarter horse racing. The season has ended, but racing will begin again in the fall of 2010. Hialeah Racetrack is also home to some very famous flamingos, seen in the opening credits of Miami Vice in the 1980s. 

The University of Miami was the first academic institution in Florida selected to host a Presidential debate (2004); those were the first ever Presidential debates in South Florida.

UM's Hurricanes are the first ever NCAA team to win more than 50 home games in a row. Their 58 game winning streak is a record that still stands in the NCAA.

Miami-based Pan American Airlines was the first international airline in the US. Pan Am was also the first airline to provide economy class service at a reduced rate to make mass air travel a reality. The globe from Pan Am headquarters can still be seen in the lobby of the Miami Science Museum, where is was moved when the airline closed.
    The Miami Dolphins are the first, and so far the only, NFL team to have a perfect season. In 1972, the Dolphins went 17-0 and won the Super Bowl.

    Joe's Stone Crab of Miami Beach was the first ever restaurant to start cooking and serving stone crab claws. No one else had figured out what to with plentiful stone crabs until Joe figured out to serve them cold with his signature mustard sauce! Joe's is still a must-see on every foodie's list when visiting South Florida. 

    Miami's Virginia Miller Art Gallery made international history in 1991 when it became the first art gallery to photograph visitors using a Canon digital camera developed for use in the Persian Gulf War. Those pictures were manipulated and then printed using a Canon color bubble jet printer, making it the first gallery ever to use digital art.

    In 1920, Miami resident Arthur Wynne, formerly from New Jersey, invented the crossword puzzle to entertain his children.

    In 1933, Dr. William Homer Walker came to Miami from Pennsylvania and opened Miami’s first Savings & Loan Association. Dr. Walker was granted the first ever Federal Savings & Loan charter ever issued by the US government.

    Gwendolyn Boyd-Savage was the first African-American woman to be sworn in as a police chief in North Miami, in 2002. She was the first Florida police chief, male or female, to hold a doctorate.

    The first ever night racing in dog racing history was in Miami, in 1925. It was started by O.P. Smith of the Miami Kennel Club, who also invented the mechanical rabbit, and who is regarded as the "father of modern greyhound racing."

    Chalk Airlines, which operated in Miami well into this century, was the first airline ever to have scheduled passenger flights. It started flights to the Bahamas in 1917.

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