"The City of Miami, incorporated in 1896 with a population of some 300, was not even a decade old when Government Cut was opened in the summer of 1905. Now, 100 years later, Miami-Dade County boasts a population of nearly 2.3 million, while the Port of Miami is recognized throughout the world with the dual distinctions of being the Cruise Capital of the World and the Cargo Gateway of the Americas.
Although historical records show that wooden piers in what was then the unincorporated town of Fort Dallas began receiving supplies for local settlers' plantations as early as the 1840s - and Native Americans used the Miami River for transport of goods long before that - it was not until the opening of Government Cut that a navigable channel was in place to connect the inland waters of the city with the Atlantic Ocean.
While early written accounts vary as to details of events, it is agreed that the initial formation of Government Cut was authorized through a June 13, 1902, act of the Committee on Rivers and Harbors of the U.S. House of Representatives. Because the channel was formed as a result of government action, it earned the name by which it is still known today.
By the summer of 1905, a 900-foot slice of the south tip of the Miami Beach peninsula had been cut through and a ceremony was held, presided over by Miami Mayor John Sewell and attended by throngs who came to the site by boat. Just before the final portion of the cut was to be made by dredging equipment, the equipment broke (a circumstance some believe was intentional), and Sewell wound up using a shovel to move the last few spades-worth of material. Accounts describe a force of water pushing back land on both sides of the cut, and, within a day, a wide area of water joined the ocean with Biscayne Bay."
On December 19, 2005 a Grumman G-73T Turbine Mallard seaplane owned by Chalk's Ocean Airways crashed into the Cut, killing all 20 onboard. The plane, on its way to Bimini, Bahamas, took off from its base at Watson Island. It was the first fatal accident in their history dating back to 1919.
(The latitude and longitude of this map are the approximate coordinates of the site of the crash.)
, In The News