There is something almost magical about the Indian Creek Village story. Imagine, if you will, a group of people who at the height of the great Florida boom of the mid-1920s, after building islands in Biscayne Bay and connecting them with a series of bridges called “Venetian Causeway” (built on the site of the first crossing between Miami and what was then called “Ocean Beach,” same known as the Collins Bridge) moved farther north into unincorporated Dade County with even more grandiose plans.
Once past the Miami city limits they organized the Shoreland Company, which, struggling through the years following the four terrible events of 1926, which have been commemorated several times on these pages, would enter bankruptcy in 1932 and which, in turn, would allow the Village of Miami Shores to come into existence.
Included in the plans of the Shoreland Company, the principals of which were Ellen Spears Harris and her cousin from Tennessee, Hugh Anderson, were several projects which, even today, boggle the mind and stretch the imagination: Spears Harris and Anderson, as part of the Miami Shores project, planned to build a mid-bay causeway to head north from one of the newly built Venetian Islands (its legacy is the posts that jut out into Biscayne Bay which can be seen from the eastbound lanes of the Julia Tuttle Causeway if the vegetation is not too overbearing) and thread its way through a series of islands (which they planned to build as the causeway went north in the middle of the bay) and terminate on a 600 acre island which was to be called “Miami Shores Island.” That island, incidentally, was going to be larger than all of the other man-made islands in Biscayne Bay at the time.
Once the mid-bay causeway reached Miami Shores Island the plan was to have it connect with a grand concourse which would cross the Bay and enter the mainland somewhere between today’s 118th and 125th Streets. Additionally, there was to be a short bridge over Indian Creek to connect the island with the Miami Beach side of the bay.
Not surprisingly—and many today say “happily” and “fortuitously” the grandiose scheme never came to pass.
Well, most of it never came to pass, but what did come into existence would, on May 19, 1939, became the incorporated municipality of Indian Creek Village. But that gets ahead of the story, for, indeed, the Shoreland Company had built bulkheads and filled approximately 300 acres in the middle of the bay, adjacent to what would become 91st Street in Surfside and about a half a mile south of what, in the somewhat distant future, would become the Town of Bay Harbor Islands.
Eventually, the island was connected to Surfside by a two lane bridge and it is that island that is the direct lineal descendant of the great and grand plans of the Shoreland Company. Unfortunately, while Spears Harris, Anderson and the Company are remembered for many things, Miami Shores Island is not one of them.
“Stay tuned,” though, for next week this column will discuss and divulge how a magnificent island of exclusive private homes and a member-only golf club on that island would come into existence.