- History of Our City
History of Our City
The South Dade area opened to homesteaders in 1898. At the time the only way in and out of the area was through a path called the "Homesteaders Trail". In 1904, Henry Flagler decided to extend the railroad from Miami to Key West. Farmers in the area were able to transport their fruits and vegetables to Miami and other parts of the state. Many of the workers who helped build the railroad stayed in the area and founded the City of Homestead in 1913. Read about Homestead's designated Historic Districts.
Homestead's Centennial Timeline
1898 South Dade County opens for homesteading
1902 William J. Krome surveys South Florida to determine location of Florida East Coast Railway Key West extension.
1905 The Key West Extension begins, workers from the Bahamas assist in construction.
1907 First school opens in Homestead
1909 First Baptist and First United Methodist churches are formed.
1912 Homestead’s first bank opens at the corner of Krome Avenue and Mowry Street.
1913 The Town of Homestead is incorporated with a population of 121 people and 28 registered voters.
1913 Lawrence McClain, an African American born in North Carolina and his wife, Rebecca, platted McClain’s Addition to Homestead in the southwest section of the Town of Homestead on March 3, 1913. The 2.5 acre subdivision is on the south side of S.W. 4th Street between S.W. 3rd and 4th Avenues.
1916 The Royal Palm State Park is opened by the Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs. Homestead gets its first gas station at the corner of Krome Avenue and Flagler Street and the bank is robbed.
1917 Town Hall (43 N. Krome Ave.) is built, along with the first electric plant and the first fire truck is purchased.
1923 Homestead becomes a city. The Chamber of Commerce is formed. Population grows to 3,360.
1924 Fannie Showers Starr, a Spellman Seminary graduate develops the first formal school for African American children with an eventual student body of 100 students. Curriculum included Latin, algebra, science art, music and drama.
1925 The South Florida Real Estate Boom peaks. Homestead High School is established and the Homestead Rotary Club receives its charter.
1926 Ed Leedskalnin starts constructing “Coral Castle”, the Card Sound bridge opens and in September “the Great Hurricane of "1926” hits the southeast coast of Florida and destroys the real estate boom. The First Presbyterian Church is chartered.
1930 The population declines to 2,319
1932 The First National Bank of Homestead is established.
1935 The Labor Day Hurricane destroys the railroad to Key West. Homestead Baptist Church is converted into an emergency hospital, Homestead residents are first responders to hundreds of Keys victims.
1938 A highway to Key West opens, using the railroad right of way and bridges.
1939 The Lily Lawrence Bow Library is built as a WPA project. Franklin D. Roosevelt visits Florida City.
1942 Lt. Col. William Plummer activates the former Pan Am Services Air Field into a fully operational military base, Homestead Army Air Field.
1945 Hurricane closes Homestead Army Air Field
1947 Royal Palm State Park becomes Everglades National Park, President Truman participates in dedication.
1950 Retired military helps increase local population, which is 4,573.
1953 Homestead Air Force Base is reestablished.
1962 Cuban Missile Crisis turns nation’s attention to possible missile attack, three missile sites established in farm land of the Redland.
1965 A permanent Nike Missile Site is built and manned inside the Everglades National Park.
1965 Aerojet facility is built and manned, testing solid rocket fuel versus liquid fuel. Three firings occurred between 1965 and 1967. By1986, Aerojet sold most of its land to the South Dade Land Corporation.
1972 Turkey Point Nuclear Power Station is commissioned.
1975 New Homestead City Hall is constructed and local government moves off of Krome Avenue to US 1 and Campbell Drive.
1983 Homestead population increases to 25,000.
1992 Hurricane Andrew devastates Homestead with a direct hit.
1993 Homestead Miami Speedway groundbreaking
1995 First race at Homestead Miami Speedway.
2013 Homestead celebrates its Centennial.
2014Voters approve funding for major Downtown Revitalization Projects. Homestead's population reaches more than 65,000.
2015 The Seminole Theatre reopens after nearly 40 years of vacancy, thanks to voter-approved funding.
2016New Homestead City Hall, a LEED-Certified facility designed to last more than 100 years, opens in Downtown Homestead.
2017 New Homestead Police Headquarters, the first facility constructed specifically for law-enforcement in Homestead, opens in Downtown Homestead. Its construction was thanks to voter-approved funding.
2019 Homestead Station opens its doors. The first movies, bowling, and transit center in Downtown Homestead as the first public-private retail partnership.
2021 The world's first Cybrarium opens its doors in Downtown Homestead. It is a Cyber library with a state of the art virtual reality cube, children's theatre, makerspace studio complete with a 3-D printer and a brand new collection of physical and digital resources for all ages.