The Construction of Miami High, 1927.
THE PEOPLE had never before heard tell of a school as imposing and elegant as that which was rising day-by-day over the fields of green palmetto and lofty pine out beyond the edge of town, way down Flagler Street. In fact, they’d never seen anything like it, period.
It felt like a miracle, and they needed nothing more. The boom and all of its high-flying dreams and schemes had died, taking down with them in their death throes nearly all of the city’s banks, robbing loyal customers of both savings and trust. The mighty rivers of cash that had for some years flowed so swift and strong that it seemed as if they’d never stop, had all gone dry as dust. It was the peoples’ hearts that were parched, and hope itself that seemed to be withering.
None of it had been easy. On the very day that the official groundbreaking ceremonies had been originally scheduled the year before, marking the commencement of the project, the terrible Hurricane had swept in, laid the city low, and resulted in its indefinite postponement.
But preeminent architect Richard Kiehnel, collaborating closely with his client, School Principal W. R. Thomas, went about their extraordinary business with fixed determination, for they knew that in this case, a school was much, much more than a school. They were building nothing less than a bastion of hope for a broken-hearted city, and saying without words (and more forcefully) to the young people of Miami:
“You are our future, and we are thankful and glad for it. You are the very best, are fully deserving of nothing less, and thus you have been given it. Look around you.
” It is each of you in whom we have placed our faith for a world bigger and better, and we cannot doubt that you will rise up, stand tall, and make us all proud. We shall all of us be lifted together!”
And so it was. Miami Senior High School has always been a great deal more than a school. It is a rare treasure, belonging in full measure not only to those who have been fortunate enough to study there, but to all who love Miami, or who ever have, or ever will.