About the Area

About Pinecrest

Pinecrest is a suburban village in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States of America. The population was 18,223 as of the census of 2010. Pinecrest is governed by a five-member Village Council and operates under the Council-Manager form of government.

During the 1900s, Miami pioneer and railroad tycoon Henry Flagler used the property at U.S. 1 and Southwest 102 Street as a staging area during the construction of the Overseas Railroad to the Florida Keys.

In the 1930s, the area’s growth continued and the community began to evolve around one of the first tourist attractions established in the Miami vicinity – Parrot Jungle and Gardens. Parrot Jungle was founded in 1936 by Franz and Louise Scherr on property located at Red Road and Southwest 111 Street and over the years became a world famous tourist attraction whose visitors included Sir Winston Churchill. The idea for Parrot Jungle began after Scherr, who owned and operated a feed and supply store in Homestead, Florida, became intrigued with the idea of building an attraction where birds would “fly free.” To bring his vision to life, he rented 20 acres (81,000 m2) of hammock land for an annual fee of $25. Parrot Jungle was built as a winding nature trail dug through the coral rock and hammock land, indigenous to the area. All the natural plants were left undisturbed. The entrance was built on Red Road. The attraction opened on December 20, 1936, to about 100 visitors. Each paid 25 cents admission to see and hear Scherr talk about his birds, trees and flowers. Since 1936, Parrot Jungle has attracted over a million visitors and became a world-famous tourist attraction. On December 17, 2002, the Village of Pinecrest purchased the Parrot Jungle with the aim of developing the site as Pinecrest Gardens. On March 8, 2003 the Pinecrest Village Council dedicated Pinecrest Gardens and officially opened it to the public as the Village’s newest municipal park. The attraction moved to a new waterfront location on Watson Island between Downtown Miami and Miami Beach. It was relaunched as Parrot Jungle Island.

The Miami Serpentarium, another popular tourist attraction which featured serpents (snakes) lizards and other reptiles and amphibians, was located on US 1 for many decades prior to closing in the mid-1980s.

During the 1950s and 1960s the area flourished with the development and construction of ranch-style houses on 1 acre (4,000 m²) lots which laid the foundation for the community’s rural and lushly landscaped residential character.

In August 1992, Pinecrest and the surrounding South Miami-Dade area were severely destroyed by Hurricane Andrew. Many of the homes and businesses in the area were destroyed. In the subsequent years, the area was slowly rebuilt.

Rapid growth and local issues during the 1990s inspired a movement led by residents Evelyn Langlieb Greer and Gary C. Matzner to incorporate the area.

The Village of Pinecrest was officially incorporated on March 12, 1996. Greer was elected the first mayor and was succeeded, after serving two terms, by Matzner in 2004. The founding Village Council, including Greer, Cindie Blanck, Barry Blaxberg, Leslie Bowe, Robert Hingston, together with Village Manager Peter G. Lombardi and Village Clerk Guido Inguanzo, are credited with establishing well-regarded municipal services including police, parks and recreation, building and planning services, and public works.

About Coral Gables

Coral Gables, is a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, southwest of Downtown Miami. According to United States Census Bureau estimates conducted in 2005, the city had a population of 42,871. The city’s population was 47,401 according to 2012 estimates by the Nielsen Company. Coral Gables is home to the University of Miami.

Coral Gables was one of the first planned communities, and prefigured the development of the gated community and the homeowners association. It is famous for its strict zoning regulations. The city was developed by George Edgar Merrick during the Florida land boom of the 1920s. The city’s architecture is almost entirely Mediterranean Revival Style. By 1926, the city covered 10,000 acres (40 km2), had netted $150 million in sales with over $100 million spent on development.

Merrick designed the downtown commercial district to be only four blocks wide and more than two miles (3 km) long. The main artery bisected the business district. Merrick could boast that every business in Coral Gables was less than a two-block walk. The city used to have an old electric trolley system which was replaced by the popularity of modern automobiles, but now a new free circulator trolley system, initiated in November 2003, runs down Ponce de León Boulevard.

In 1925, roughly simultaneous to the founding of Coral Gables, the city was selected as the home to the University of Miami, which was constructed that year on 240 acres (0.97 km2) of land just west of U.S. Route 1, approximately two miles south of downtown Coral Gables.

During World War II many Navy pilots and mechanics were trained and housed in Coral Gables.