MIM Ineffable Miami Fall 2019: Kendall by Hanna Sotolongo-Miranda

STUDENT BIO 

My name is Hanna Sotolongo-Miranda. I am currently an FIU freshman in the first semester, and a resident of Miami-Dade County. I live in a part of Miami known as Unincorporated Miami Dade, in between Kendall and Pinecrest. Growing up, I always went to magnet schools, where kids would share where they live, and that would more or less determine who your friends are. Because I was in the middle, I never identified with the ‘Kendall Crew’ or the ‘Pinecrest Peeps’. When asked to do this project I decided I wanted to learn and write about as much as I could for both parts of Miami to see what really distinguishes them. In the spring, I hope to be able to do Pinecrest as my Ineffable Miami Project, so I can see the differences in communities that are so close together. 

GEOGRAPHY

For the purposes of this travel guide, there will be self-imposed boundaries to estimate the location of Kendall and its many qualities. The area of Kendall will extend up to Snapper Creek, Down to the Falls (North and South), and within the west side of US1 to 117 Ave (West and East). Although there are no mountains, or significant hills, there are bodies of water, such as Snapper Creek, E Lake, Miami’s canal system. Although Kendall is close to the ocean, the boundaries do not touch, and therefore does not include any coastal area or ocean.

HISTORY

Pre-19th century: Kendall, like the rest of South Florida was inhabited by Native Americans for many years, such the Tequestas. Although there are not many records of these people due to the devastation caused by European conquistadors such as Ponce De Leon, they inhabited much of South Florida through archeological sites such as those found in the Deering Estate and the Miami Circle. In fact, according to Jean Taylor, historian and writer, two Seminole camps existed within the borders of Kendall, and existed up until the 1940s (39-49). 

19th to 20th Century: In 1883, the Florida Land and Mortgage Company purchased the land and named it after the company’s director Henry John Broughton Kendall. Because the land could not be used to make self-sustainable farms, development was slow in the 1900s, when Kendall eventually moved into the area. The first institutions to be put in place were the first post office in 1914, and the first school in 1929. After 1926, and collapse of the ‘Land Boom’ real estate market in Florida, some people left, which put a damper on the development of the Kendall area. This collapse had an impact not unlike the 2008 recession according to Donald Rapp, economist and author of Bubbles, Booms, and Busts (164). Kendall continued to flourish and development, however racially was and still is predominantly a white neighborhood. In fact, a map of black residential areas in 1990 Miami had little difference to that of 1938 Miami, as these neighborhoods tended to be north, away from Kendall (Mohl,2001 3).

Image Above (Mohl,1995 395)

20th to 21st Century: Today, there are no more laws or rules that prohibit this, there is still an unspoken rule of Miami and Kendall that there are certain parts of town for certain people. Although there were racial issues, the residence and culture of Kendall began to develop further and further until 1992, and the events of Hurricane Andrew. The Miami Herald remembering this tragedy described that many homes were destroyed and had to be rebuilt, reinforcing code to prepare in case of another much like it, taking many years to recuperate from the natural disaster (Morgan 3-4). For the most part, the result of that rebuilding is what is seen in modern-day Kendall.

DEMOGRAPHICS (according to the 2010 United States Census Bureau)

Population: 75,371

Age: The percentage split based on age in Kendall is divided by people under 5 and 18, and people of 65 years and older. Those under 5 years of age, registered as infants, or small children, are 4.5% of the Kendall population. Those under the age of 18, registered as minors, or young adults, are 18.8% of the Kendall population. Those who are and are over the age of 65, registered as senior citizens, are 17.9% of the population. The remaining 58.8% are registered as adults within the age gap of 18 and 64.

Sex: In terms of sex, the percentage split is between males and females. The amount of females is 51.8% of Kendall’s population, meaning the remaining 48.2% is male. These statistics are challenged by people who are intersex or born with no biological distinction between male and female.

Race and Ethnicity: In the US Census, there are 5 races: white, black, native American, Asian, and pacific islander. Within Kendall, the white population is 88%, dominating the other races as the majority. The percentage of black people in Kendall is 3.7%, and the amount of Asians is not much higher at 3.9%. The amount of American Indians or native Alaskans is the same as the amount of native Hawaiian or pacific islanders which is 0.0%. People who are a mixture of two or more races are 2.4% of the population, but looking at this data, it is clear that Kendall is a predominantly white neighborhood in terms of race. However, in terms of ethnicity, the US Census only asks whether Hispanic or not. Hispanics and/or Latinos in Kendall are 66.9% of the population, while 24.9% is white alone. This question can potentially limit the collection of accurate data due to the presence of more ethnicities without necessarily having to be white.

LANDMARKS

St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Church

Places of Worship: St Andrew Greek Orthodox Church is a beautiful eastern orthodox church not only known for their triangle-like structure, but also for their events. Their annual Greek Festival in mid-November is something that both locals and tourists come to enjoy. A celebration of greek culture and religion attracts audiences of all ages with food, beverages, carnival rides, and shopping kiosks. It is something that Miamians and local Kendallians look forward to each year to bring in the holidays. After the festival, they sell Christmas trees to spread the joy of Christ to all. Their mass is in both English and Greek, depending on time. Whether Christian or atheist, this church is a Kendall staple. Beth Or, a Jewish synagogue, is less known than the St Andrew Greek Orthodox Church, but nonetheless, their teachings and events are still crucial to the Kendall community. Every Friday, they have Kabbalat Shabbat Services, a musical celebration from 7:30 to 8:30 with food and liveliness. They also have an LGBTQ+ support group called BeJewQ that meets the first Sunday of every month to help those who are abandoned or rejected because of their identities. They also have other less-known social justice programs that are not only limited to Jewish people, but to all who identify and want to be involved. This community of people regardless of their religion creates a sense of love and pride for Kendall residence, however, there is a major lack of mosques and mandirs within the area. Mosques are places of worship for Muslims where they can practice their religion and read the Quran, while a mandir is the Hindu place of worship for people who read and practice Vedas in the Shruti. Although the US census does not account for religion, there are still members of both Muslim and Hinduism in Kendall that have to travel to other places to worship.

Continental Park’s Dice House

Historical Sites: The Dice House, located at 10000 SW 82nd Ave is a historic house built by David Brantley Dice during the 1920s (Dice House 1). It was designated a historic site by the Miami-Dade County Historic Preservation Board in 1989 (Dice House 1). The house attempted to become a preschool and daycare center until Bernardo Junco attempted to make it a coffee shop (Dice House 1). It was finally due to the Miami Parks and Recreation Department, Dade Heritage Trust Inc, owner Bernardo Junco, and ex-commissioner Katy Sorenson that it became an after school recreation center where the community could hold events for children as well as adults (Dice House 1). It still stands today within the Continental Park. Another historical site is Janet Reno’s home, a small homestead in Kendall, was built by hand in the 1940s by Janet Reno’s mother Jane Wood Reno, and her husband Henry Reno (Viglucci 14). It is now owned by Janet Reno’s sibling, Maggie Hurchalla, and brothers Mark and Robert that now look after the house (Viglucci 11). The location looks very ‘run-down’ and old, however, the plants and peacocks that overpower the house are what make it so nostalgic and reminiscent of a time where South Florida was still the Everglades.

Dadeland Mall Entrance

Shopping Centers: Dadeland Mall is the biggest indoor shopping center of Kendall, and one of the most popular in the nation. On the corner of North Kendall Drive and US1, the mall is sleek and modern with chain restaurants to attract people. Inside there are high-end stores, as well as affordable stores attracting multiple audiences to this location. Although the stores and dining options inside are chains, the mall itself is not, and is very stereotypical of the image of Miami, clean, contemporary, and comfortable. With the Dadeland condos right next to it, it attracts many tourists. Because of this attention of the mall, across the street in Downtown Dadeland, many businesses that are small and local are left to die, such as small eateries and quaint boutiques. 

Museums:  There is a serious lack of art, history, and science museums within the Kendall area. However, there are two museums of the westernmost side of Kendall: Lisa Ann Watson Children’s Discovery Museum, the National Videogame History Museum. The Children’s Discovery Museum is located within the Alper JCC and is currently focused on interactive art based on Andy Warhol’s works in the Pop Art Movement. The National Videogame History Museum is the history of technology put into each of the video games throughout time. According to their website, they strive to “describe, preserve and educate” through interactive activities and hands-on learning (Mission Statement 1). Although this museum specifically is attractive to older audiences that understand the technology and its components, both museums are more centered and mostly attracted to children, and so there is a lack of initiative for adults being cultured and learning about other values of life in Kendall. It is evident that Kendall is mainly residential, but rather there be three huge shopping centers, there should be more initiative to have at least one adult-centered museum, without a long commute to Miami Beach to see PAMM or the Frost Science Museum.

GREEN

Lake View in Indian Hammocks Park (night)

Indian Hammocks Park is the main green space of Kendall. Its massive area allows for all sorts of green area that can be used for the public. There are small courtyards and gazebos that are used for yoga and outdoor activities, there are 36 holes for disc golf, and a skate court that skaters of all ages can appreciate. Small grills are also stationed throughout the park for any barbecue. There are also baseball fields where many schools play games and practice. There is also a lake that overlooks the highway that is the perfect spot for a picnic or a late stroll. Continental Park is another amazing park filled with activities. Like Indian Hammocks, it has baseball courts that others can use, but it also has tennis courts, classes, and a summer camp program. The main house and the dice house can be reserved for private events, as well as a playground for the little ones. Although smaller than Indian Hammocks, Continental still has a lot to offer, and most importantly, a space of nature and tranquility. The Environmental Center at MDC’s Kendall Campus is a 9-acre reserve, filled with flora and fauna native to Florida (MDC 2). The trails lead to many hotspots in the reserve, such as a lake, pinelands, hammocks, butterfly gardens, and many animals (MDC 2). Unfortunately, the Environmental Center is not open due to renovation, and have canceled field trips and events for the time being, but usually, classes are offered, and you can schedule events and field trips on their website (MDC 1).

TRANSPORTATION

Miami Metro: The two train stations within the borders of Kendall are Dadeland South and Dadeland North. For the most part, the Metrorail runs along US1, and because the easternmost part of Kendall borders only part of US1, the metro is not the best form of transportation for Kendall.

Miami Buses: There are multiple buses in the public transportation system, such as 34 Express, 35/35A, 38 Busway MAX, 39 Express, 52, 71, 73, 87, 88, and 104. These are all buses that take you from or to Kendall, depending on if they are northbound, southbound, eastbound, or westbound. However, bus 288/288A is specific to only Kendall, therefore this is the most recommended bus to take to explore Kendall’s geography and landmarks. To keep track of all buses and metro rails, it is highly recommended that you download the Miami-Dade Transit Tracker, a free mobile app on your device that tracks the location, and tells you each individual stop.

Highways and Main Roads: Snapper Creek Expressway, or Route 878, is a toll highway that travels from Kendall in the west and US1 in the east. As the name suggests it runs parallel to Snapper Creek, a canal close by 72nd St. The Don Shula Expressway, or Route 874, is a toll highway that runs through Kendall, from Glenvar Heights on the north end, and the Florida Turnpike on the south end. This highway is the best way to travel within Kendall and is named after Don Shula, a former football coach for the Miami Dolphins, whose legacy has stayed in the city not only in a highway, but also through many sports venues, hotels, and restaurants. The Palmetto Expressway, or Route 826, is a toll highway that ends on US1 by Kendall on the south end, and on the north end, in Sunny Isles Beach. This highway is the best way to travel outside and back to Kendall. Miami’s fastest road runs on the easternmost border of Kendall, called US1. Although it is not best for traveling within Kendall, it is very good for traveling throughout Miami after 10 am and before 5 pm. US1 is the longest road in the United States running from Key West, the southernmost part of the US, all the way to the Canadian border in Fort Kent, Maine. North Kendall Drive, or 88th St, is the heart of Kendall. This road is the fastest to get anywhere within Kendall’s boundaries, with many local shops and eateries that will be the main focus of this guide. Sunset Drive, or 72nd St, is the next major street north of Kendall Drive close to Snapper Creek and traveling into South Miami on the east side of US1. This street is convenient for traveling both in and out of the Kendall area. Galloway Road, or 87th Ave, runs through both Kendall and Sunset Drive and is another very convenient way of traveling within and outside of Kendall with minimal traffic.

FOOD

The Norman Brothers

The Norman Brothers, located at 7621 SW 87th Ave, is a grocery store that had been in Kendall for over 40 years, not only making it a local place to eat, but also a historical site. This family-owned business sells things from produce to snacks, however, they also sell prepared food such as their famous hamburgers and delicious sandwiches. 80-year-old Salvador Juncadella, a lifelong resident of Kendall, says that it is “his favorite hamburger”, and that the quality of their products is “very good and very fresh.” When asked about the sanitary inspections and scandal in 2018, he responded that “there were setbacks, yes they had some errors, but they have cleaned up and they have good food; I trust them.” Even with the complications of grocery inspections and health hazards, the people of Kendall have trust and faith in this family business that they will clean up their business and continue to satisfy and serve (Neal 38). The Hole in the Wall, a local bar located at 8002 SW 81st Dr, is a gold mine for locals. With good beer, good friends, and a great atmosphere, this place is always packed on a Friday night. The service can’t be beaten with waiters and bartenders that truly enjoy what they do, and the night’s game on the big screen is always a must at any bar. There is another location on US1, however, it is not a chain. The Hole in the Wall is also family-friendly and highly recommended to have a drink or grab a bite.

BUSINESSES

Galloway Farm and Nursery

In a mostly residential area of Kendall, Galloway Nursery is a fast and convenient way to get greenery for your home or garden without traveling down all the way to homestead. With their beautiful plants, it’s a refreshing oasis in the concrete realm of 87th Avenue. The kind service and clean environment match their unbeatable deals and low prices. This simple, local business is always willing to go out of the way for a customer. Another local business is the kid-friendly orthodontics on Main Street Kendall. Dr. Hector Prieto works hard to fix smiles and help kids have happy healthy teeth. Although this does not seem very big, a child’s self-esteem can be brought up through just fixing their smile. Dr. Prieto also teaches children how important hygiene is, including brushing their teeth and flossing.

SUMMARY

Overall, Kendall’s main problem’s lies in its history, and as a result, its demographics. Due to the history of it being a white town during the height of racism and segregation, it continued to be a predominantly white town even after the Civil Rights Movement, according to the 2010 US Census. The landmarks within Kendall are very limited, as places of worship are limited to certain religions, and as museums are limited to children. Thankfully, the historical sites that do exist within Kendall continue to be preserved and open to the public to learn. Major shopping areas such as Dadeland Mall are limiting small local companies like boutiques and coffee shops to flourish, as corporate America takes over the quickly urbanizing Kendall, however, the local eateries and businesses that do survive are due to a loyal community and reliable services. Despite how quickly it’s urbanizing, Kendall has done a very good job of keeping needed green-space in places such as Indian Hammock, Continental, and the MDC Environment Center. Their transportation systems are extensive and inexpensive, and there are many options to commute and explore Kendall and other parts of Miami. Although there is the issue of race, age, and religion, Kendall demonstrates a tightly knit community that is impressive for an area so large. Kendall should strive to create a more inclusive environment for all citizens and have a more welcoming attitude towards people of all color and religion and should strive to educate and serve its needs to create a more cultured and lively environment, but maintaining that sense of community.

WORKS CITED

Historical Marker Project. “The Dice House – Kendall – FL – US.” Historical Marker Project, Historical Marker Project, 22 Sept. 2014, historicalmarkerproject.com/markers/HM1G5W_the-dice-house_Kendall-FL.html.

“Mission Statement.” Mission Statement – The National Video Game History Museum, www.nvghm.org/mission-statement.html.

Mohl, R.A. (1995). Making of the Second Ghetto in Metropolitan Miami, 1940-1960. Journal of Urban History, 21(3), 395-427. doi: 10/1177/009614429502100305.

Mohl, R.A. (2001). Whitening Miami: Race, Housing and Government Policy in Twentieth-Century Dade County. The Florida Historical Quarterly, 79(3). Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/30150856

Morgan, “Remembering the fury of Hurricane Andrew in South Florida”. Miamiherald.

Neal, David J. “Which Chain Had Moldy Empanadas? And Where Did Water Leak on Pork? Grocers Get Inspected.” Miamiherald, Miami Herald, 24 Sept. 2018, www.miamiherald.com/living/food-drink/article218916975.html.

Rapp, Donald. Bubbles, booms, and busts: The rise and fall of financial assets. Springer, 2014.

“School of Continuing Education& Professional Development.” Miami Dade College, www.mdc.edu/ce/sp/environmental/.

Taylor, Jean (1985). Villages of South Dade. St. Petersburg, Fla: B. Kennedy. pp. 39–49. LCCN 88132899. OCLC 18906834.

“U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Kendall Park CDP, New Jersey; Kendale Lakes CDP, Florida; Kendall CDP, Florida.” Census Bureau QuickFacts, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/kendallparkcdpnewjersey,kendalelakescdpflorida,kendallcdpflorida/POP060210#POP060210.

Viglucci, Andres. “What Will Happen to Janet Reno’s Famed Rustic Kendall Homestead? The News Is Good.” Miamiherald, Miami Herald, 4 Apr. 2017, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/kendall/article142629089.html.

Leave a Reply