Julia Tuttle Biography

Julia Tuttle

Founder of Miami
Born: c. 1840
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio

Miami is the only major U.S. city to have been founded by a woman. Julia Tuttle, a Clevelander, first saw southern Florida in 1875 when she visited her father, who had moved there as a homesteader. After Tuttle’s husband died in 1886, she decided to move to South Florida as well. Arriving in 1891, she bought several hundred acres on the bank of the Miami River. To a friend she announced that “it is the dream of my life to see this wilderness turned into a prosperous country.” She knew that the area, then called Bay Biscayne, would never be anything but a sleepy backwater unless it was accessible by railroad. She eventually convinced railroad executive Henry M. Flagler of the area's vast potential and persuaded him to extend his Florida East Coast Railroad to Miami in 1896. In exchange, Flagler received hundreds of acres of land from Tuttle and the other major property holders in the region, the Brickells. That same year the city of Miami was incorporated.

Died: Sept. 14, 1898

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