(Courtesy: Miami-Dade Parks)
It’s hard to imagine a time when Miami-Dade was marshland and not high rise buildings, and where the only traffic tie-ups were from the wildlife that stopped in the middle of the road! Back when Miami-Dade County was formally created in 1836 there were fewer than 1,000 residents. A lot has changed since then. With more 2.5 million residents, a busy and bustling arts, culture, and sports scene, and a community that speaks half a dozen languages, it’s good to know that there is still a place in the northeast corner of the County that takes you back to a time when the pace was slower and the world was quieter.
That place is Greynolds Park.
How it started
In the late 1800s Miami-Dade County acquired the land where Greynolds Park now stands. The land was once a Seminole Indian trading post, served as a transportation corridor, and later became a rock quarry. One of the property’s most unique attributes was its abundance of oolitic limestone. This limestone was used to help build some of South Florida’s roads and bridges.
In the early 1930s, when the Miami-Dade County Parks department was first coming into fruition, the need to have a park in the north end of the county was evident. At around that same time, A.O. Greynolds, owner of the Ojus Rock Company, was facing some financial troubles and so he agreed to deed his land to the county to use as a public park. Through his first donation of 110-acres, and then a donation of 100 more acres from other sources, Greynolds Park was born! The labor to build the park was through President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program. The CCC took unemployed, unmarried men and provided them with manual labor jobs in work that would help conserve and develop the country’s natural resources. Using the stone from quarries leftover from the Ojus Rock Company, many of the structures that still stand in the park today were created. Landscape architect Prentiss French designed the signature entrance wall and road and when he resigned, landscape architect William Lyman Phillips took control of the project and saw it to completion.
Phillips is responsible for designing the grounds, the boathouse and the notable Observation Mound and Tower – the grassy knoll that was created to bury mining equipment left over from the former quarry. Kids today still run up to the top of the mound so they can roll down the side; it’s a contest of who gets down first! At the very top of the hill, a stone tower, which locals dubbed, “The Castle”, offers park goers the chance to get a bird’s eye view of the property. At 42 feet high it was at one time the highest land point in the county! Along the park’s western edge, the Oleta River served as the source of water for the construction of a lagoon with a stone boathouse and bridges. Greynolds Park opened in 1936 making it Miami-Dade County’s second oldest park.
For those who like to golf, there’s a nine-hole, 58-acre public golf course that was added in 1964 and renovated in 2016. In 1968, the park hosted the first “love-in,” with Grateful Dead as the headliner. The Love-In Concert in the Park still goes on today and is scheduled for Sunday, April 30th.
Inside Greynolds Park are estuarine mangrove forests and tropical hardwood hammocks that provide habitats for birds and fisheries.
In 1983, the Historic Preservation Board declared Greynolds Park a historic site.
With its nature and bicycle trails and natural beauty, Greynolds Park remains one of Miami-Dade County’s most valued public spaces. Discover it for yourself.
Above content provided by Parks-Foundation of Miami-Dade and Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation