Cauley Square and Goulds, Florida

On this edition of Learning from Miami we continue our exploration of adaptive reused spaces by exploring the remarkable history of Cauley Square in Goulds, Florida.

Goulds was built by homesteaders in 1900, and grew alongside Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway, which ran through South Dade to the Florida Keys. In 1903, a railroad siding was built near what is now SW 216th Street. This area was named after Lyman Gould, an employee of the railroad who operated the siding. It was first known as Gould’s Siding, and then later shortened to Goulds.

In 1903, construction of Flagler’s East Coast railway extension to Key West was well underway. Agriculturalist William Cauley owned 10 acres of land near the railroad construction site where he developed a two-story Spanish style warehouse, packinghouse, and office for his tomato business. He soon established a small village on his property which housed both his employees and Flagler’s railroad workers. This became Cauley Square and brought numerous businesses to the South Dade area including several restaurants and saloons.

After the mid 1920’s, several unfortunate events would cause Cauley Square to fall into disrepair. Following the Great Depression, the Miami hurricane of 1926, and World War II, Miami-Dade County condemned the site for demolition. Fortunately, Cauley Square would be saved just in the nick of time.

Interior decorator and reservationist Mary Ann Ballard was so fond of the quaint cottages and history surrounding Cauley Square that she purchased it in 1949 and gradually restored the square’s pioneer homes. Ballard invited numerous independent entrepreneurs and artisans to set up shop at Cauley Square. In 1979, she opened Cauley Square’s famous Tea Room. Then, in 1992, Hurricane Andrew ravaged South Dade and caused over 1 million dollars in damage to the square. Ballard raised funds and was able to reopen Cauley Square in 1994. That same year Cauley Square was officially declared a historical site.

Mary Ann Ballard passed away in 1998. Three years after her death, her children sold Cauley Square to Frances Varela, who continued the legacy of Ballard’s preservation efforts. With many of the original architecture intact, Cauley Square continues to retain its picturesque early 1900’s architectural charm.

-Ursa Gil


Baca, Mandy. Discovering Vintage Miami: a Guide to the City’s Timeless Shops, Hotels, Restaurants & More. Globe Pequot, an Imprint of Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.

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