The Birth of a Great America City

Julia (Sturtevant) Tuttle was born in Cleveland OH. She was 26 years old when she first visited southern Florida. Her father was a homesteader in Florida and Julia wanted to see the land he had raved about since he relocated from Cleveland. The land was beautiful, but essentially a wilderness. Julia returned to Cleveland but had a dream that the wilderness might become a place where others would want to live.

Ten years later, Julia’s husband died, and she discovered that her husband had mismanaged their finances. She was forced to convert her home into a boarding house. When her father died, she sold her home and moved to Florida.

She used her inheritance to buy 640 acres including a home where she lived with her family. She became convinced that the area could become a center of trade between the United States and South America. But getting to the area was a problem. She had taken a boat but realized that others would not find a boat trip to be satisfactory. What was needed was rail access.

She tried to convince an extremely wealthy businessman to fund the rail line but was refused. When Florida experienced a devastating freeze, she saw her opportunity. The freeze hadn’t affected the orange trees in southern Florida. She met again with the businessman to promote the rail line proposal. This time he accepted. Julia had to give up part of her property to seal the deal, but two years later the rail line was completed. A group of male residents who relocated with the rail line incorporated the site and called in Miami. But it was Julia’s zeal and property which became the basis for the new city. Julia died two years later, at the age of 49. She was largely forgotten for years but is now known as the Mother of Miami.

Julia is the only woman who created a major American city but was given very little credit until recently. Women have often been ignored for their contributions to society. They are hidden heroes because of their gender. All too often we have failed to recognize the contributions of persons based on their biology.

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“Miami is one of the great cultural melting pots in the world. I love working and living there.”- David Caruso (Actor)

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