Today the Village of Pinecrest celebrates its 19th Anniversary since the birth of their community. Residents Evelyn Greer and Gary Matzner were inspired by the rapid growth and local issues in the 1990’s that led them into a movement to incorporate the area. It was on March 12, 1996 that Pinecrest was officially incorporated into the Village of Pinecrest. Greer was elected as the first mayor and was later succeeded in 2004 by Matzner.
Long before its incorporation, in the early 1900’s, Pinecrest was used as a staging area for Miami’s pioneer and railroad tycoon Henry Flagler. He used the area during the construction of the Overseas Railroad which stretched into the Florida Keys.
By the 1930’s, the area began to grow and a community evolved around one of Miami’s first tourist attraction, Parrot Jungle and Gardens. It was established in 1936 by founders Franz and Louise Scherr. Franz Sherr envisioned an attraction where birds could “fly free”. He brought his vision to life when he and his wife rented 20 acres of hammock land for $25 a year. They opened the doors on December 20, 1936 to 100 visitors for an admission of 25 cents each. It became a world famous attraction and included famous visitors such as Sir Winston Churchill. On December 17, 2002, the Village of Pinecrest purchased the property and on March 8, 2003 dedicated the park, called Pinecrest Gardens, opening it up to the public. In 2011 the site was add to the National Register of Historic Places.
Another one of Miami’s popular tourist attractions was also found in Pinecrest. Founder Bill Haast opened the Miami Serpentarium at the end of 1947. It featured various snakes, lizards, reptiles and amphibians. It later closed in the 1980’s.
The area flourished in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Ranch-style homes were being built on acre lots which has laid the foundation for the community’s rural and lush landscape that has been nationally recognized as a Tree City USA, a Playful City USA, and a Community of Respect.
No wonder in 2011 the South Florida Business Journal recognized the Village of Pinecrest as one of the top 10 best places for “Quality of Life” in the state of Florida.
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