Al Capone Never Had a Miami Hideaway: Debunking More Miami Historical Myths

It is possible—if not likely—that we are, here in South Florida, burdened with the worst and most egregious myths (total anti-fact) and absolute falsehoods and we will begin this short series of debunking the nonsensical fol-de-rol which, because it has been repeated not only so frequently but by people who know that what they are spouting off is simply not true, is what makes the doing-so even more egregious.

The first of those shameful (and totally false) bubbemissehs (for you gentiles, Yiddish for fable or fairy tale) is the one which invariably starts with the story of how Miami came into existence and it was in no way, shape or form in the manner which, sadly and unhappily, has been accepted as truth by the gullible, but, and even worse, has been spouted off by people who actually know that what they are saying has no basis in truth or fact, and this/that of course is the orange blossom fable.

In the unlikely event you haven’t heard this utterly shameful concoction, it is the “oh, Julia Tuttle send Mr. Flagler some orange blossoms, so he extended the railroad to Biscayne Bay” nonsense. That story, absolutely, totally and completely without basis in truth or fact, has, sadly to report, not only been regurgitated through several generations of Miamians, but, worse (if not worst) has been further propagated by people who know that said story is totally false and has no basis in truth or fact, as was explained in our previous article, as in “it never happened,” and, indeed, it never did occur.

The story is totally and completely fallacious and was exposed to you, our readers, in our last issue/submission as was the actual and factual explanation of how and why Mr. Flagler extended the railroad to the shores of Biscayne Bay, and it was absolutely, positootly, beyond a dadow of a reasonable shout, NOT because Julia Tuttle sent him some orange blossoms, a totally made up and shamefully without basis in truth or fact bubbemisseh.

Worst of all, of course, is that it has been propagated as fact almost since “the beginning” and nothing of the kind ever occurred as was explained in this writer’s last submission. (Think about it: After the great and terrible freezes of December, 1894 and January and February of 1895, some woman sent Mr. Flagler some orange blossoms claiming that “the region around the shores of Biscayne Bay is untouched by the freezes” so he extended the railroad 65 miles without verifying said story? NONSENSE. And, again, the facts were explained in this writer’s last submission, so we respectfully suggest that you read said previous piece and learn what the truth is and what the facts are about how and why the railroad was extended from West Palm Beach to the shores of Biscayne Bay, arriving here on April 15, 1896 in the form of a construction engineer’s train, with the first passenger train arriving one week later, on April 22, 1896 and the first excursion from the north leaving Jacksonville on May 11, 1896.

“But wait! There’s more!” And the “more” is that the second biggest (or worst) fable or fairy tale, or, as noted, bubbemisseh now must also be exposed for the totally ridiculousness which it is, and that is the completely false story, given on almost every walking tour by Miami’s walking fountain of MISinformation (no names, please—we’re British) as he stops in front of a given house or apartment building somewhere on almost every walking excursion, brings the group together, points at the structure and whispers conspiratorially, “that was Al Capone’s hideaway.”

WHAT?!! What kind of pure and utter nonsense is that? Mr. Brown (his nom de plume) didn’t have any hideaways, not in a house or apartment house anywhere in South Florida or in the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. (Yes, he did go there, but to take his son, “Sonny,” for swimming lessons), and, indeed, he did have a house, recently torn down, on Palm Island on Miami Beach and if there was any kind of a hideaway for Mr. Brown, that—and only that—was it.

So now, dear readers that you are aware of the facts and the truth related to the two biggest loads of hooey in Greater Miami history, we will, in the next issue or two explain what the facts are and what the truth is regarding a number of other South Florida fables, fairy tales and, yes, fol-de-rol. We’ll see you again soon.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Jitney on Patreon! The Jitney needs gas. Please donate or become a Patron here
Become a patron at Patreon!

Seth H. Bramson

Seth H. Bramson is America’s single most published Florida history book author. 24 of his 33 books deal directly with the villages, towns, cities, counties, people and businesses of the Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade County “gold coast.”