Remnants of Royal Palm Hotel Excavated in Downtown Miami

Archeologists have found remnants of Henry Flagler’s Royal Palm Hotel on the site of the soon-to-rise Met Square tower, an entertainment complex in downtown Miami.

Photo by: Kara Franker Once construction is completed, the Met Square tower will include a hotel, theater and space for restaurants. On the site, archeologists have found remnants of a hotel from the early 1900s and artifacts from an Indian village dating back thousands of years.  

Often referred to as the father of Florida tourism, Henry Flagler built Miami’s first fully developed resort, the Royal Palm Hotel, on the site of a historic Tequesta Indian village. The hotel was torn down after a hurricane ripped through the property in 1926. 

Archeologist Bob Carr has been digging on the site, which is now part of the Met Square development, and discovered artifacts like hotel keys and the brick bases of the columns that once supported the hotel’s grand veranda. 

When Carr dug a little further he discovered the worn limestone of the original shoreline where the Miami River and Biscayne Bay converged, as well as a pattern of ancient postholes in the bedrock, likely from the Tequesta Indian village. 

The Tequesta Indian tribe was wiped out by European disease in the 1700s and artifacts discovered in other downtown lots, like the Miami Circle, date back nearly 2,000 years.

On another Met development site, where a Whole Foods market is now under construction, they discovered an Indian cemetery with the fragmentary remains of an estimated 500 people. According to the Miami Herald, those remains have been reburied in an undisclosed location under the guidance of the Seminole Tribe.

Carr and his team have analyzed the artifacts and then sent them to the HistoryMiami museum to use in exhibits. “All of these things have a story to tell about the prehistoric people of downtown Miami and about the ancient environment, and how much it has changed and degraded because of urbanization,’’ Carr said to the Herald

Met 1 Miami Condo Listing

  • Location: 300 S. Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL
  • Listed By: Teresa Valiente & Mary G. Arias with Met Miami Properties
  • Price: $489,500
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