Post Card of Lummus Park, 1940’s- View from atop of Scottish Rite Temple

Lummus Park is on the eastern side of Miami River and it is roughly bounded by NW 3rd Street to the north, where the park has one of its entrance, and by NW 2nd Street to the south, where there is a second entrance; NW 3rd Court to the east separates the park and Interstate 95.

Lummus Park was created in 1909 as Miami's first park. It was then called City Park. The opening of the park in 1909, spurred development in the area, and today, most of the buildings around the park were built before 1926. On the north side were impressive homes, including the Temple Court Apartments. On the eastern edge of the park was the Miami High School and on the northwest corner is the singular Scottish Rite Temple. This unique building contains a distinctive Ziggurat steeped roof, classical columns at the main entrance and it has art deco flourishes. The famed architectural firm of Kiehnel and Eliot designed it.                           

Scottish Rite Temple 2

In the 1920’s the park was a busy place. A Mediterranean style pavilion sat in the middle of the park. Around it the city installed croquet courts and facilities for horseshoes, card games, chess and dominoes. Then the city added twenty shuffleboard courts that quickly became the most popular activity in Lummus Park.

In 1925 at the height of a real estate boom, the historic plantation longhouse was moved to the park to save it from demolition. Over the years the park was a very active place. For instance, in 1965 the Lummus Park Shuffleboard Club claimed 600 members. In 1979 the Wagner Homestead was moved to the park.


It should be noted that Lummus Park until the sixties was a whites-only neighborhood. The dividing line between this neighborhood and Overtown was two blocks north of the park at NW 5th street. 

In the last three decades the park saw a period of decline and neglect. This was caused in part by the construction of I-95 which essentially cut the park off from downtown. In the eighties, homeless people began living in the park. This decline caused the D.A.R. to decide that the park was no longer a safe place. In the 1990’s the park was for several years fenced and not open to the public. In 1996 the park was reopened to the public but the historic buildings have remained locked and generally inaccesible to the general public except on special occasions.

On October 25, 2006, the park and the buildings on its northern boundary were added to the U.S National Register of Historic Places as the Lummius Park Historic District.