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“Minarets and Domes: a Fantasy City Hall” 4 of 5 stars
Review of City Hall and Gardens

City Hall and Gardens
Opa-locka Blvd and Sharazad Blvd, Opa Locka, FL
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Ranked #3 of 3 things to do in Opa Locka
Washington DC
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98 reviews 98 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“Minarets and Domes: a Fantasy City Hall”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2012

If you're into fantasy architecture (and Florida is known for it), the historic Opa-locka City Hall is a must-see! The city of Opa-locka was developed in 1926 by aviation mogul Glenn Curtiss, in the middle of the Florida land boom. To distinguish it from other competing new communities, Curtiss and his architect Bernard Mueller chose Moorish Revival. Streets are named for various characters from the Arabian Nights (Sinbad, Sharazad, Ali Baba, etc.). City Hall began as the developer's main administration building, the showcase for buyers. Its confectionery decorations, balconies, domes and minarets are fantasy at its best. The walled garden is magical.

City Hall was in service until 2009, when the municipal offices moved a few blocks away. It is slated for restoration beginning in 2013, as part of an arts and culture initiative.

Though one can't enter the building, a walk around the grounds and garden is worth the few minutes it takes to get there from Miami or Ft Lauderdale. Opa-locka's historic town center includes some 100 Moorish buildings, most of them small houses in a neighborhood a few blocks from City Hall. The Hurt Building, corner of Opa-locka Blvd and Ali Baba Blvd, was the old hotel. Just across Ali Baba is the restored railroad station. Neither is open to the public, but hey, if you're a fantasy architecture buff, you have to add these to your collection!

Visited January 2012
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