By Paul S. George
Bayside is a small, historic often overlooked neighborhood in the northeast sector of the City of Miami. It is also one of the city’s earliest historic districts (1991).
Bracketed by Biscayne Bay and Northeast 7th street on the east, the rear lot lines of properties fronting on Biscayne Boulevard on the west, Northeast 72nd Street and 72nd Terrace on the north, and Northeast 67th and 68th Streets west of Northeast 7th Court on the South, Bayside consists of four subdivisions platted between 1909 and 1925, although the area hosted settlers many years earlier.
Elmira, Acadia, Baywood, and Washington Place comprise the subdivisions. Platted in 1909, by William B. and Fred C. Miller (unrelated), Elmira abuts the warm waters of Biscayne Bay in the southern sector of today’s Bayside. Many winter visitors from Elmira, New York, were already living in the area by the beginning of the 1900s and beyond thereby inspiring its name. The Millers erected imposing masonry pillars at the entranceway to Elmira. Beyond stood the subdivision’s homes. Many, still standing, are characterized by the Frame Vernacular style.
In 1915, George Merrick, the future creator of Coral Gables, and his Realty Securities Corporation platted the Acadia Subdivision with place names therein that evoke the memory of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Merrick, a devotee of this early American poet, drew names for its thoroughfares from his writings. Most of the development of the Acadia subdivision took place in the mid-1920s, as seen in the Mediterranean-styled homes that dot its landscape.
Baywood and Washington place were platted in the 1920s and experienced construction spurts into the 1940s. The eclectic building stock of these subdivisions, which includes the Art Deco and Florida Ranch styles, was highlighted by the splendid winter home of Samuel J. Prescott, a nationally-prominent builder and the developer of Washington Place. Prescott grand estate on the bay at Northeast 71st Street included golf course for residents and guests.
A charming, verdant slice of “old Miami,” Bayside is a prime example of a neighborhood that cares deeply for its legacy and design, and took the necessary steps to ensure its preservation.