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Historic Building Falls for Homestead Station Project

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Posted: Friday, July 7, 2017 11:49 am | Updated: 12:05 pm, Fri Jul 7, 2017.

A pioneer Homestead structure was demolished June 30 to make way for the City’s downtown redevelopment.

The new Homestead Station is to include a multi-modal transportation center, parking garage, retail space and a cyber-library.

The “old police station” on the corner of Krome and Mowry was originally built as a bank in 1912. The wrecking crane spent a week slowly moving forward from the rear of the property. With a final stretch, the crane collapsed the two-story front façade into the space below on Friday.

The City purchased the property from 1st National Bank in 1981. Banking rules at the time prohibited a branch office so close to the new bank building at 16th and Krome so the historic space was offered to the City.

W.D. Horne chartered Homestead’s first bank in 1910 with $15,000 in stock. The bank opened at its new location May 1, 1912. A second story was added to the building in 1925. The Depression started in South Florida about that year, followed closely by the destructive Hurricane of 1926. 1st National Bank bought the building in 1932 and opened on November 1.

In her history of South Dade, author Jean Taylor tells the story of the first bank robbery, on Friday September 15, 1916 at 2 pm. Two men in a motor car idled in front of the bank while two others entered with guns drawn. They took $6,000 before fleeing as the bank cashier fired at the car. A sheriff’s posse found them Sunday morning in the Everglades. The thieves killed two brothers in the posse and fatally wounded someone else before escaping to the Keys. Two robbers finally were killed by a fisherman on September 29 and another drowned trying to swim away. The last bank robber was captured and convicted of second degree murder, according to the Miami Herald.

The old building was continuously added to and retrofit over the years. A study in 2014 found high levels of radon gas, mold infestation, and severe water damage in the structure. Homestead’s police department moved into temporary quarters before settling in their new building a block away in February 2017.

Original yellow bricks and rubble littering the property have yet to be removed. Other buildings remain to be demolished to clear the block. City Council was told parts of the block-sized project could be ready for business in 2018.

City Manager George Gretsas had this message on June 30 about the demolition, “Coming soon – a 10 screen movie theatre, 14 lane bowling center, video arcade, restaurants, new library, park and ride transit center. And more!”

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