Florida’s Opa-locka: A city inspired by the famous work of literature “One Thousand and One Nights“

Florida’s Opa-locka: A city inspired by the famous work of literature “One Thousand and One Nights“

Spread the love

Florida’s Opa-locka: A city inspired by the famous work of literature “One Thousand and One Nights“

The city of Opa-locka, located in Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA, was the creation of industrial designer and aviation visionary Glen Curtiss and was designed according to the theme of the Arab Nights that is noticeable throughout the city through its large range of Moorish architecture.

It is a city where the town hall is a sheik’s palace, the Chamber of Commerce is a Turkish harem, and the train station is a mosque.
It is a city where the town hall is a sheik’s palace, the Chamber of Commerce is a Turkish harem, and the train station is a mosque.

Established in the Western Hemisphere in 1926, it has the largest collection of Moorish Revival architecture

Bernhardt Muller, Mr. Curtiss, and designer designed 105 buildings with a variety of domes, minarets, and exterior escalator structures.

The roads have names such as Sabur Road, Sultan Avenue, Perviz Avenue, Sharazad, Aladdin and Sesame Street.

Built during the Florida Land Boom of the 1920s.
Built during the Florida Land Boom of the 1920s.

In addition to the unique buildings, Mr. Curtiss completed his vision for Opa-locka; he had built a self-contained city with a hotel, three parks, golf course, archery club, swimming pool, two lakes, a large general aviation airport, and a railroad station which is currently the tri-rail station.

Opa-Locka Company Administration Building 1925-1928.
Opa-Locka Company Administration Building 1925-1928.
Administration Building.
Administration Building.

While the 1926 Miami hurricane badly damaged the city and brought the Florida land boom to a halt, several Moorish-style buildings survived.

Twenty of the original Moorish Revival architecture buildings have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Opa-locka Thematic Resource Area.

Several of the Moorish buildings survived after the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926
Several of the Moorish buildings survived after the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926

Opa-Locka hit a low point in the ’80s and ’90s when the city, plagued by drug-related crimes, was dubbed the murder capital of the country.

Metal barriers were erected in the Triangle, one of the city’s main boulevards, to both block traffic and ideally stem the tide of violence. In 2004 Opa-locka had the highest rate of violent crime of any city in the United States.

Seaboard Air Line Train Station.
Seaboard Air Line Train Station.

Opa-locka is currently in a state of advanced decay as the cash-strapped city faces financial collapse. Many of the Arabian-inspired buildings are falling apart.

And while the city has been fighting to recover from urban decline and high crime rates for decades, many are betting that its anomalous architecture may be the key to its future success.

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
John Smith has been with Histecho since 2017, A Senior Editor & Writer for Histecho. his work has been featured in outlets such as Scientific American, The Washington Post, NBC News, and Fox News. John grew up outside of Philadelphia and studied biology at Hamilton College in upstate New York.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *