- Your Stories
Dade Heritage Trust (DHT) was founded in 1972 as a nonprofit membership organization to preserve Dade County’s architectural, cultural and environmental heritage through advocacy, education and restoration. One of DHT’s first projects was the restoration of the original 1905 office of early pioneer Dr. James M. Jackson. This neoclassical frame structure has been maintained by DHT as a museum and preservation center ever since.
A major accomplishment of DHT was the successful restoration campaign to restore and re-light the 1825 Cape Florida Lighthouse on Key Biscayne, which re-opened in 1996.
DHT saved the l858 Wagner Homestead, the oldest house in Dade County, by relocating it to Lummus Park in 1988 and restoring it to its original pioneer appearance. DHT initiated the annual RiverDay Celebration to spotlight Lummus Park and the historic Miami River as a kick off for Dade Heritage Days in 1997. In 1996 DHT formed a task force to secure and beautify the historic but neglected Miami City Cemetery and continues to sponsor an annual multi-ethnic Cemetery Commemorative Service as part of Dade Heritage Days. In 1999 Dade Heritage Trust initiated and successfully spearheaded a massive grassroots effort to save the 2000-year-old Miami Circle archeological site from demolition for a highrise. DHT saved from demolition the oldest house in Kendall, the 19l7 Dice House, by relocating and restoring it in 2006 as a meeting facility in Continental Park. DHT is now restoring the original 1905 Old Miami High School as a community center and park office in Miami’s Southside Park. Current DHT projects involve restoring a classic bungalow in Little Havana, working to save Hialeah Park, and leading a campaign to preserve and re-use as a rowing regatta and cultural facility the Miami Marine Stadium on Key Biscayne.
Dade Heritage Trust has long focused on community education, with many school programs and neighborhood outreach projects to “build bridges across cultural barriers.”
The organization has produced numerous video documentaries and a 12-part television series. DHT’s publications include Preservation Today magazine, newsletters, History Through Architecture, and the beautiful coffee table book Miami’s Historic Neighborhoods, containing the history of communities throughout all Miami-Dade.
For the last 27 years, DHT has sponsored Dade Heritage Days, an 8-week-long celebration of Miami’s cultural and environmental heritage with over l00 different events. Architectural lectures, boat trips, tours, folklife festivals, student activities and commemorative services seek to unite Miami-Dade’s multi-ethnic, diverse community through a shared appreciation of Miami’s unique heritage.
DHT’s staff includes a full-time executive director, a full-time office manager, a special events and Dade Heritage Days coordinator. Volunteers are drawn from a Board of 25 trustees and 20 advisors and a membership of approximately l200.
DHT’s funding sources include membership dues ($35 for an individual member; $50 for a family), special events, sponsorships and grants. Dade Heritage Trust is open to all, and offers something for all ages and backgrounds.