Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Crossroads, Where Cultures Have Mingled For Five Hundred Years

Across U.S. Route 1 from Starbucks is an oak grove along the banks of the north branch of Arch Creek. It was settled by the Tequesta Indians thousands of years ago, and it was one of the places visited by Spanish explorers in the 1500's. The area is now protected as a park. Half of it is a North Miami park while the other half is a state park, a strange way of doing it but it worked! It's not covered by condos which otherwise would have been its fate. Very few people today know anything about the history of the area, and they probably don't much care either.

The creek was a good source of fresh water, and there was a small settlement there in the 1800's with some of the land cleared for farming. Old Dixie Highway, the original U.S. 1, was just to the west of today's U.S. 1. It was a narrow two lane road winding through the woods and going over Natural Bridge. The bridge over the creek was created by water eroding its way through the rock. Today cars go zipping by here at fifty miles per hour along a divided six lane highway on a new bridge. The Tequestas are long gone but the sound of Spanish has returned again, joined by Russian, French, German, Kreyole, Yiddish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and half a dozen other languages besides English.

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