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Car Dale Tower: 1912

Car Dale Tower: 1912

Circa 1912, another view of Old Miami and some long-gone landmarks. "Car'dale Tower and landing and Musa Isle Fruit Farm, head of navigation, Miami River. Steamer Lady Lou entering the mouth of state drainage canal." The origins of the name of the tower, which overlooked the Everglades, are obscure. Sometimes spelled as "Car'dale," also "Car Dale" or "Cardale." View full size.


Personal History

When my wife and I had a cleaning service, an elderly couple we serviced had owned the Musa Seminole Village attraction just off 27th Avenue. This is not ancient history.

Canal System

The canal system made South Florida habitable by diverting water away from stagnant ponds which would fill every summer and generate incredible quantities of disease-bearing mosquitos. My current house sits where one of those ponds used to be, as is evidenced by the three feet of algae-generated limerock clay (marl) lying under the topsoil.

Musa sapientum

Musa, the name of the island, is also the genus name for the banana plant.

A Beauty

I can just imagine that summer's day…blue sky, warm temperatures.

Would be quite something to colorize.

Alligator Joe

I googled Musa Isle Fruit Farm and apparently our old friend Alligator Joe worked his magic here.

Miami River

Musa Isle, with its observation tower and the adjoining Seminole Indian village, were popular tourist attractions in early Miami. They stood on the North Fork of the Miami River just east of today's NW 27th Ave. The tower afforded a view of the Everglades, which began a few hundred yards beyond the tower where a waterfall and rapids obstructed further boat traffic.

The Lady Lou is starting up the Miami Canal, an engineering marvel which had just been completed all the way to Lake Okeechobee in 1912. This canal helped drain the East Everglades, allowing for the westward expansion of Miami for another 20 miles or so to where the Everglades begins today.

I'm a little late to the party...

having moved to South Florida only 3 years ago, but it really impressed me to learn that Miami was essentially nothing at the start of the last century. I think there were estimates of between one and two thousand in population in 1900.


In early January 1912, the new Cardale Resort with a skating rink and tower
opened at Musa Isle, the former site of Richardson's Grove,
on the south bank near today's 25th Avenue. On opening night the boat
Cardale left the Avenue D (today's Miami Avenue) bridge at 8:30 p.m.
Round-trip fare was 25 cents and included admission to the skating rink.


I wish I could have seen Florida when it looked like this. Kind of reminds me of the Humphrey Bogart movie "Key Largo."


This doesn't even look REAL. How strange.

Lady Lou

Here is a little blurb from Google Books about Biscayne Navigation Co. and the Lady Lou. Seems she was associated with a casino operator.

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