The Town of Miami may have come on the scene later than its neighbor to the east, but when it comes to history, Miami can certainly hold its own.
The Miami Historic Building Tour is planned Sept. 7. The tour starts at Bullion Plaza and visitors will be shuttled to downtown where they will be let off to walk and choose their stops along Sullivan. The shuttle will stop at the Catholic Church and the old YMCA area.
Tickets are $10 a person and each ticket holder will be registered for a gift basket of certificates and local merchandise. The shuttle will run from 10 to 3 p.m. from Bullion Plaza.
The story has always been that Miami in its heyday was the rowdy kid that Globe may have been in its early years…and may still have wanted to be. The streets may be home to antique stores and such now, but it wasn’t that long ago that the bars outnumbered the churches and restaurants were open late at night to cater to the miners coming off their late shifts.
Heck, as late as the mid-1960s the Keystone was in full operation; it was only the dubious decision to run an ad in the yellow pages that caused their demise. If there is any doubt, the Keystone was a brothel. Stories about the place abound, but there were plenty of more family-friendly places that still evoke a smile as people remember their youth in a booming Miami.
They will tell you that the sidewalks were crowded all the time, but most especially on weekends and on payday. The movie theaters downtown were the delight of youngsters. And for those who were working more than playing, money could be made in hawking the local Silver Belt newspaper on the streets or at businesses, or perhaps selling the homemade tamales from the bucket their mother had filled. The youngsters knew there were plenty of places to sell those tamales, but by far the best were the bars where a generous tip often followed the sale. Sometimes it was better not to mention where they had sold the tamales as Mom had a tendency to frown on trips into the liquor establishments.
That money raised by jobs delivering papers or for some of the area stores could be easily spent at the movie theaters, a game arcade and a multitide of stores featuring comic books, candy and toys.
It’s hard to imagine now, but Miami residents fondly recall that their town was the place to be in those boom years. It still had the excitement of a booming mining town, with no apologies for its mining roots.
The Fitzpatrick building was one of the first permanent structures in Miami and it has been fortunate that current owners Roy and Karen Webb appreciate its history. Originally built as a restaurant and bar on the ground floor and a rooming house above, it has served time as regular hotel, senior center and is now entering a new lease on life as an art studio and performance arena. The Fitzpatrick will be one of several featured stops on the Miami Building Tour.
Also that day is the Angel Perez Wings of Hope car show in downtown. What a perfect way to see Miami with classic cars lining the streets and selected stops with a history flair. A pancake breakfast at the Miami Senior Center can kick off your adventure, beginning at 7 a.m.
We’ll be letting you know more about the tour and featured stops in coming weeks.