|Right in the heart of downtown Miami, Brickell is quickly overtaking all competition to become one of the largest and most financial districts in the United States. It is also one of the fastest growing and most densely populated neighborhoods in Miami.|
The historic mansions in Brickell were designed by Mary Brickell, who gives the name to the neighborhood as well as an important avenue that runs through it. There is not much left of that important family, though the Brickell Mausoleum still stands in the park. The mausoleum is the only surviving structure linked to the Brickell family. In 1989 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. You can get to the downtown Brickell area in about 20 minutes from Miami International Airport by shuttle.
Another important landmark in Brickell is Miami Circle. This archaeological site measures 38 feet across and contains 24 holes cut into the bedrock. Originally, it was thought to be a burial site, though its exact purpose remains unknown. Wood recovered from the site has been radio-carbon dated at 1,700 to 2,000 years old. Some theories claim that the site is not as old as the wood, mainly due to the fact that there is no evidence of indigenous North Americans building permanent structures that early.
Artifacts recovered from the site link it to the Tequesta tribe, which was wiped out by infectious diseases brought over by the European colonials. A complete shark skeleton, a dolphin skull, and the carapace of a sea turtle were discovered underneath the site. The current prevailing theory is that the circle is the location of a ceremonial building that was raised on stilts to protect it from flooding. Whatever the true purpose of the site was, it is a fascinating place to visit.
Like the Brickell Mausoleum, Miami Circle has been added onto the National Register of Historic Places. Other Brickell sites on the register include Dr James Jackson’s office, which was the first surgery in Miami and opened in 1905; Southside School, the oldest elementary school in Miami, opening its doors in 1900; St. Jude Melkite Catholic Church, which is where Madonna and Carlos Leon had their daughter baptized; and Fire Station No. 4 which was built in 1922 and is now operating as a restaurant.