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Don Boyd | all galleries >> Memories of Old Hialeah, Old Miami and Old South Florida Photo Galleries - largest non-Facebook collection on the internet >> Miami Area Tourist and Local ATTRACTIONS Historical Photos Gallery - All Years - click on image to view > 1940 - the Miami Aquarium onboard Prins Valdemar in Bayfront Park
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1940 Courtesy of Alice L. Luckhardt

1940 - the Miami Aquarium onboard Prins Valdemar in Bayfront Park

Bayfront Park, Miami, Florida

Thank you to Alice L. Luckhardt, and Alice L. Walters Wallace who is Alice's mother's cousin and godmother for providing this image. Mrs. Wallace grew up in Miami, graduating from Miami Senior High in 1940. Her father was Captain Richard J. Walters, owner of the Prins Valdemar, sailing ship and later converted into the Miami Aquarium at Bayfront Park. The ship/aquarium was a major tourist attraction from 1928 to 1950.

Mrs. Luckhardt also grew up in Miami, just west of the Northside Shopping Center and she graduated from Miami Central High School in 1968. She and Mrs. Wallace have spoken to an audience at the Historical Museum of South Florida on March 25, 2006, and she has written an article for Florida Monthly Magazine and South Florida History Magazine.

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Joseph Papierz Jr. 27-Jul-2014 01:16
I just posted as Guest 27-Jul*2014 01:11 because I didnt figure out how to get my name on my comment. Now I figured it out, I think. That wasn't so hard. Now I feel dumb.
Guest 27-Jul-2014 01:11
I love to read the messages here. My family moved to Miami in 1945 from Chicago when I was 4 years old. My grandparents owned an apartment building named June Apartments. I think it was on N.W. 2nd Ave. and about 13th Street. I've driven by in the last year or so and it's still there. We lived in an apt. there the first year and later moved to 69th St. and N.W. 2nd Ave. It seemed so far away at the time and N.W. 79th St. was the end of the bus line. It turned around in an empty field and headed back downtown. My grandmother often took me, my brother and sister to Bayfront Park to feed the pidgeons and walk around. I, too, remember that garden with the huge gold fish. It was alwasy fun. We usually had lulnch at Pier 5 after walking around looking at all the fish people caught and watching the boat people clean them up throwing scraps to the dozens of pelicans that showed up to watch for a hand out. I remember climbing all over the antiaircraft gun that was there not realizing it was real or knowing anything about the war other than I had an uncle who was an officer in the army and my dad was exempt because he had three children and had been working in dairys since he was 16 years old. Bayfront Park was a whole different place then. The Bandshell was demolished, a beautiful library was built and then later demolished also. I remember that ship on land at the North end of the park too. And seeing hundreds of boats with masts at anchor in the North Harbor. Some were pretty big sporting two masts. We also used to walk down to the docks and watch them unload produce. It was fun to see the long line of laborers carrying crates or banana stalks on their shoulders comming down the gangplanks to waiting wagons especially if a big spider or small snake made a sudden appearance. Boy, did the screem and scatter in a hurry. Whatever they were carrying, crate or banana stalks ended up in the bay and it took nearly a half hour to reorganize the operation and get it going smoothly again. Ice was delivered to my grandmothers apartment for the "ice box" by a horse drawn wagon a couple times a week. This was between 1945 and 1950. I remember Richards Dept. store downtown brought the first color TV to South Florida. I think it was 1947 or 1948. There were so many adults standing in front of it us kids couldn't get look very easily but we discovered we could ride the escalater up and get a quick look as we passed by. Miami was safe in those days. In later years, late 40's early 50's us kids could take the bus downtown by ourselves, spend all day wandering around window shopping or going to one or two movies in complete safety. No panhandlers in those days either. My favorite theater was the Olympia. I loved the enterior because it gave me something to look at if I got bored with parts of the movie. It also had a simulated night sky with blinking stars and moving clouds. I loved growing up in Miami.
Richard Tuggle 13-Jun-2014 19:13
Richard Tuggle
Mother had to promise to take my brother Eddie and me to go the big ship after shopping down town. It was such a thrill.
Guest 06-Feb-2012 18:33
I remember the Richards at The 163rd Street Mall. It was on the west end of the plaza and is now a three story conglomeration of small shops.
Bob 10-Feb-2011 02:26
I grew up in Miami in the 40s and 50s. Love this site. Does anyone remember the Seybold arcade biuilding, Richard's dept. store and especially Kress store downtown. I will always remember their mezzanine restaurant. I loved it and the whole city. We lived around SW 1st and 2nd streets near 10th Ave. Thank you for this memory.
Richard Fenwick LeCain 07-Nov-2010 16:05
My Grand Father Captain Fenwick Stanley LeCain Pilot in the port of Miami was aboard the Prins when she capsized in 1926. At that time he was moving her to Miami Beach to be converted to a floating hotel. The main channel was block for a month.
Don Boyd29-Jul-2010 04:52
Professor Gruber: welcome to the site and I thank you for providing us with those great memories of your youth and how the aquarium it influenced your life's passion. : )

Samuel H. Gruber 29-Jul-2010 04:02
We always had a home in Miami Beach in the 30s; my brother and sister attended the Lear School before the war. But during the war, the military basically took over Miami Beach and we spent the duration in New York. I was born in 1938 so I well remember the war and even the occasional trip to the Beach although I was mostly left in Manhattan being too young to travel in those days.

But after the war we relocated to Miami Beach in '46 and I spent the rest of my life in South Florida. During the 40's I became a water baby and loved everything about the sea and marine life. At the age of around 11, I used to bike across the MacArthur causeway (1949--you could safely do such bike trips in those days) to a shell store to buy what I could not find. This store was located across the street from the Prinz Valdemar on Biscayne Boulevard at a site where the old Parkleigh House once stood in later years. I never failed to spend the rest of the day in the dark, dank bowels of this magical, mysterious place. The tanks leaked, the smell was pure ocean and I can remember it to this day. Maybe it cost a quarter to enter.

These early experiences helped to shape my career as a marine and shark biologist which began in 1961 as a University of Miami graduate student and continues today. Thank you indeed Alice and Capt Walters.

Samuel H. Gruber Professor Emeritus
Marine Biology and Fisheries
Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
University of Miami
4600 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami Florida 33149-1098 USA
Marge 06-Apr-2010 04:36
I was born 1944 & raised in Miami. My mother who is now in her 80s still talks about this ship. We lived out west on 8th street at what they called "The End of the Trail". The public bus (cost 10 cents) from town would turn around there and then head back to downtown Miami. My grandmother would take me to Bayfront Park to see the huge goldfish in the parks ponds and to buy peanuts from the vendors to feed the pigeons.
Guest 24-Nov-2009 21:31
My father Hubert ledbetter worked on this boat as a maintenance man. My Mother took us kids there to see Daddy at work. We really enjoyed going downtown and and shopping in mccrorys dime store eating lunch at counter of kresges dime store.
Guest 15-Oct-2009 02:49
I had a book in the late 1970’s, filled with historical information and photographs, that was given out for free if you bought a subscription to the Miami News. In it, this ship was credited with causing the land bust that happened in the mid to late 1920’s. This ship sank, blocking all ships (and their cargo) coming into Miami, including all the building materials need to keep new housing sales booming. The hurricane that struck in Sept 18, 1926 finished the rest of the momentum of the boom.
guest 10-Oct-2008 07:25
I grew up in Miami and remember going aboard this ship with my father during 1940-42. There was a huge (to me as a child) squid in a glass, water filled exhibit.
I remember my father telling me that the ship had been a German sailing ship and was captured in WWI. I heard that the ship is gone now.
As an adult I lived northwest of the Northside Shopping Center.
Bill Parks 11-Oct-2007 04:38
The anchor shown in the photo was bought by Jack Wirt when the ship was scraped. He donated it to the Miami Yacht Club on Watson Island. It's still there.
Guest 23-Jun-2007 16:26
The day my father insisted I touch the seacow in the shallow tank will be imprinted on my psyche for eternity. Prinz Valdemar aquarium 1938. 5 years old.
Don Moore