Dade County Courthouse

 

In 1890 the first courthouse on record was built in Miami-Dade County in Juno, Florida.

The courthouse remained in Juno for almost 10 years before being relocated down the river into Miami. The original wooden framed building consisted of offices and jail cells on the first floor and a small court room on the 2nd floor.

 

In 1904 a new building on Flagler Street was constructed out of coquina rock and had an elegant roof (for that time period) installed. The courthouse was large enough to handle all community business and serve as a beautiful addition to the city.

 

Over the next 20 years the growth of Miami was moving too rapidly for the court systems to keep up with. It was decided that a new courthouse needed to be constructed as soon as possible in efforts to keep up with the steady growth of Miami.

Antony Teneycke Brown was the chosen architect for the new building.

 

The new building was built around the old building and then dismantled from the inside.

The final decision between the county and Mr. Brown was that a 25 storey “skyscraper”

would be built this time to allow for growth and expansion of Miami. The new courthouse became the first high rise building to be built in Miami-Dade County.

 

The structure was finally finished in 1928 and the move-in of both the courthouse and Miami City Hall commenced immediately. The top nine floors of the new courthouse were decided to be used as the “maximum security” area of the jail house. Presently people laugh at hearing about this because a record setting 70 prisoners escaped from this so called high security jail house.

dade county courthouse

 

After 80 years the building is still standing proud as a landmark in Miami-Dade County. Few renovations have needed to be made over the years, although there has been an ongoing renovation project for the past 20 years. Restoring the courthouse back to its initial grandeur has become important to the entire community.

 

The building is used presently to house mostly administrative offices, chambers and small courtrooms, and offices assigned to different clerks of the courts. As each of the courthouses before it; the massive growth of Miami has forced the county to seek larger accommodations for its court system and city hall. After the money can be raised for the final renovations of the lobby of the courthouse, the history surrounding the progress of Miami-Dade County will be able to be told again.