Many cites have well-known monikers, so instilled into their public identity that we barely have to think about the association when we hear “the Windy City” or “the City that Never Sleeps”, or even “Sin City”. Oddly enough, you’d be hard-pressed to find even some native Miami residents who know that Miami is called “the Magic City” and why.
Miami is among some of the relatively younger cities in the country but is called the Magic City because of the rapidity with which it sprung into life as a full-fledged cultural beacon, how quickly it appeared on the map, as though it simply materialized via magic.
Many things aided Miami’s journey to magical status, and the University of Miami Archives and Special Collections holds many manuscripts and books that tell the story of early settlement in South Florida and that show how targeted tourism as well as commercial and infrastructure activities made Miami a hub of culture, art, food, and acclaimed natural beauty.
From the very earliest settlers in the area, who considered South Florida a swampy last frontier, to architects who planned floating cites on pristine water, The Magic City’s history is filled wth ecological mishaps, architectural triumphs, prescriptions for sun, and the allure of the exotic and new, all recorded in memoirs, journals, albums, photographs, postcards, paintings and letters. You can find them all within the tomes and shelves of UM Special Collections.
Explore the magic, and start your adventure with these digitized collections that pay tribute to the history of the Magic City.