7 mar. 2010

FOLLOWING THE MIAMI RIVER: SEWELL PARK














I had not visited Sewell Park before. Its closeness to a mental hospital did not attract me ( I was afraid they would confuse me with an escapee) and although I like a calm and quiet walk alone, in certain areas of 
Miami that actibity is suicidal. With the asylum now demolished -a condo tower in its place- and supported by the courage of a couple of friends, I jumped at the adventure of getting to know this place.
Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful parks in the city. It is Located on the banks of the Miami River, and it was the site of a fabulous mansion that the city bought and demolished in the 60's. It has some strange structures: columns that do not support anything, stairs hidden in the brushes, a water pump and some caves that we tried to locate, but could not find. Some people say the caves belonged to the first inhabitants of Miami; others think they were built to store food during the civil war; some argue that they were built as part of an aqueduct project.
The park is ten acres big. It has a top area and the area at the bottom where the river enters and floods it. Palm trees line the shore by the water and beautiful trees and vegetation surrounds it. At the eastern end there is a stone pier, and among the rocks, colored necklaces, fruits and other objects are found. These are offerings that devotees leave to Oshun, the goddess of fresh water, fertility and welfare. From that site, there is an interesting view of another endangered beautiful bridge.

I hear that the city will build a public pier; I read that police stables would be installed, and any of the two projects would involve drastic changes in the natural environment and the eradication of the native plants that still exist there.
Months after our first visit to the park, I randomly discovered the location of the caves. They are on the south side of the river and visible from Highway 836. Above them a mega-house has been built, so I assume that the caves have no value (if they did, without a doubt, a representative of the city would had fought with their teeth to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of the city)
This park is beautiful; it has lots of history and magic. How to get there you ask? Take Olga Guillot Street, turn left onto Celia Cruz Avenue and make a right onto Willy Chirino Road. Well, that's material for an upcoming blog.


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