Downtown Homestead is a place of both history and change. In 2007, Historic Downtown Homestead was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 2013, the City of Homestead celebrated its Centennial. The Historic District encompasses 11 city blocks that comprise an area of approximately 12 acres. Recently, the City embarked on a dramatic Downtown Revitalization Project designed to breathe new life into the Historic District with a variety of public and private projects and partnerships.
History of Downtown Homestead
Downtown Homestead became famous as the hub of South Florida’s early railroad pioneer expansion at the dawn of the 20th century. The Florida East Coast Railway was extended south and the Downtown District began to take shape with a variety of commercial and public buildings.
Historic Downtown Homestead qualified for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as being both associated with significant historical events and containing distinctive architectural styles. As you stroll through Downtown, you’ll find examples of Masonry Vernacular, Art Deco, Mission Revival, Italian Romanesque Revival, and Neoclassical Revival.
For a self-guided walking tour that explores our history and shows how Downtown Homestead has evolved, pick up a copy of Homestead Then & Now.
On October 28, 2015 the curtain finally rose on a stage that had remained dark for nearly four decades. The reopening of the Seminole Theatre was made possible thanks to the citizens of Homestead who approved funding for its restoration during the decisive May 2014 Bond Referendum.
The historic structure, originally built in 1921, was first restored in 1940 with the iconic Art Deco façade you see today. The theatre, a central part of Homestead’s social life, was mainly used as a movie house until it closed its doors in 1979. In 1992, it suffered a near total loss as a result of Hurricane Andrew. In an attempt to salvage the historic property, citizen groups embarked on a renovation effort that would span decades. The 2014 citizen-approved funding allowed for the complete restoration of this space as a cultural hub for Homestead.
Click here for information on upcoming shows and events at this unique historic venue.
Homestead National Parks Trolley
Winter through Spring, Homestead invites its residents, neighbors, and visitors to explore Everglades and Biscayne National Parks, and Homestead Bayfront Park with a FREE guided trolley ride from Historic Downtown Homestead.
The City of Homestead, designated as the “Gateway to Everglades and Biscayne National Parks," created this pioneer program to offer free public transportation to Everglades and Biscayne National Parks by expanding its already successful local trolley service.
In addition, both Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park have partnered to offer free Park admission to those on the National Parks Trolley. This ground-breaking project is the first of its kind nationally to offer public transportation to two National Parks and was the recipient of the prestigious National Park Service Director’s Partnership Award in 2015.
Visit the Homestead National Parks Trolley Homepage to view current schedules and information.
Historic Town Hall Museum
Downtown Homestead is also home to the Homestead Old Town Hall Museum. This historic structure was constructed in 1917, and is on both the local and the national registries of historic buildings. It served as the City of Homestead Council Chambers, Police Department, and Fire House until City Hall moved to a location on Homestead Boulevard in 1975. In April 2016, City Hall moved back to Downtown Homestead and is currently located at 100 Civic Court. Today, the downstairs of the Old Town Hall serves as the home of the Historic Town Hall Museum and the upstairs contains the offices of Homestead Main Street.
After years of planning and months of construction, the City of Homestead announced the completion of its new home for City business in March 2016. The 75-foot tall landmark building was designed almost a decade ago, by Rodriguez and Quiroga Architects, and was completed under the City’s current leadership to be a community centerpiece that aligns with the vision to revitalize Downtown Homestead.
Designed with Homestead’s growing population in mind, the new facility features a 225-seat council chamber to accommodate more residents than before during public meetings. The new City Hall also provides a better operational flow for City business, is constructed to withstand a category 5 hurricane, and will function as an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during a crisis.
The 55,000 square-foot, three-story facility is Homestead’s first new building constructed specifically for law enforcement operations. The new headquarters was designed by Rodriguez & Quiroga Architects Chartered and built by Munilla Construction Management. The impressive facility, constructed on-time and on-budget, is a community centerpiece that aligns with the vision to revitalize Downtown Homestead.
Voters approved the passage of the police station bond referendum with an overwhelming 74% approval which provided funding to evacuate police personnel from the old facility, temporarily relocate police operations, and construct the new police headquarters.
Homestead Station will include a Downtown Transit Center that will serve as the City of Homestead Trolley Hub and connection to Miami-Dade County Transit. The project will also include a 1,000 space parking garage, multi-screen movie theater, bowling alley, restaurants, and retail. Homestead Station is the result of a Public-Private Partnership between the City of Homestead and Ax-i3. Construction on the project began in May 2018 and is expected to be complete in 2019.
The Cybrary brings Homestead an ultra-modern, public library that bridges the gap between literacy and cutting-edge technology. Using innovations like augmented and virtual reality, texture mapping, and interactive robots, the Cybrary will bring excitement back to libraries, literacy, and learning!
Losner Park Expansion
Losner Park’s expansion will transform the quaint pocket park into a destination park designed by Sasaki and Associates, the same architects who prepared the Master Plan to the Beijing Olympics.
Other Coming Attractions
Looking to the future, low-rise apartment developments to provide a residential component to Downtown Homestead. It also expands the City’s relationship with Miami-Dade College (MDC) by creating a Student Center and Entrepreneurial Center directly across from City Hall. This allows MDC’s students to get out into Downtown Homestead to explore retail, recreation, and dining opportunities while bringing Homestead’s business community to MDC as they utilize the resources of the Entrepreneurial Center.