Jan 23, 2023 - News

Mysterious Miami landmark near Everglades removed

The Tamiami Trail arches are pictured before and after they were demolished.

The Tamiami Trail arches are pictured before and after they were demolished. Photos: Google Earth; Kevin Donaldson.

Miami has lost one of its most mysterious landmarks: a pair of 70-foot-tall concrete arches near the Everglades linked to several murders and a failed real estate development.

Driving the news: The old intertwined arches, located along the Tamiami Trail on land owned by the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida, were removed earlier this month without a trace, Miami historian and Islandia Journal publisher Jason Katz wrote in a recent blog.

Why it matters: The arches are part of Miami's hidden history, as Katz calls it, and their mystique has enthralled Miamians for decades.

  • "Anything that is tall and out of the ordinary on a flat road in South Florida that isn't a high-rise condominium is fascinating to me, and I think captures the imagination of the people who live down here," he told Axios.

Flashback: The arches, built around 1962, were designed as the gateway to a planned industrial park that never happened due to a lack of money.

  • Locals used the vacant lot for target shooting, fishing and drinking with friends, Katz said.

The intrigue: The arches would later be known for their connections to Miami's underbelly — and even the great beyond.

  • In 1976, notorious serial killer Samuel Little murdered 25-year-old Miriam Chapman "in the shadow" of the arches, according to the Miami Herald. Her body was discovered along a nearby canal.
  • In 1979, a Hialeah man who claimed he was abducted by aliens regained consciousness next to the arches, Katz wrote.
  • In 1986, a pair of armed robbers began terrorizing visitors to the rural hangout, accused by police of killing two people and nearly shooting a third to death, according to Herald archives.
A 1994 Miami Herald article pictures the Tamiami Trail arches.
A 1994 Miami Herald article pictures the Tamiami Trail arches. Credit: Newspapers.org

The latest: Miccosukee Tribe Chairman Talbert Cypress told Axios in a statement that the tribe removed the arches to store construction equipment there for a project on the reservation, and in anticipation of future possible projects on the vacant lot.

  • Cypress noted the arches were on the land when the tribe purchased it.
  • "Not exactly sure why they weren't removed then, but I'm a guy that likes to get things done," he wrote.
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Miami.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Miami stories

Miamipostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Miami.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more