Crime museum in South Florida, crime tours, black history tours
Crime museum in South Florida, crime tours, black history tours
Crime museum in South Florida, crime tours, black history tours

South Florida History Tours

Crime museum in South Florida, crime tours, black history tours

The South Florida Crime Museum contains blood encrusted knives, bullet fragments, dioramas, reproduction of real crime scenes, and real crime scene photos and other pieces of once crucial evidence from some of the most exciting events in South Florida and U.S. history. We cover both the profound and the mundane -- extradition warrants signed by President Herbert Hoover, execution warrants signed by the Governors of Florida, liquor warrants for a neighbor's garage and jail sentences of two hours for playing "bolita" -- the Cuban street lottery.

Lie detectors, alcohol measuring devices both real and phony along with new and old fingerprinting techniques - all of varying effectiveness. Come spin the South Florida Wheel of Misfortune! It features the mug shots of the unlucky both famous and infamous to accompany our Wall of Shame.

The history behind these true crime exhibits are explained via videos and photographs on our museum wall monitors or bus tours. The idea that a man of the cloth could be put to death without a trial by jury would outrage the public today, but that is one of the many true stories about South Florida in the 1930's. This was, after all, the era of the Ku Klux Klan, the Great Depression and Prohibition, when you could literally get away with murder, when poll taxes could buy an election and when the crimes of adultery and homosexuality could land you on a prison chain gang.

Chaining white and black prisoners together was against the law along with whites teaching blacks or blacks teaching whites or both races occupying the same room at night. Insulting a teacher in front of her students or selling sugar substitutes or margarine could land you in the county jail. This was the era when questioning a woman's chastity or questioning the solvency of a bank could do the same, when illegal steamboat racing was banned alongside horse trading gypsies and going bowling on a Sunday.

In the age of Prohibition, however, it was not illegal for a police officer to search your home without a warrant if they suspected liquor was being stored there. The museum starts with the first known act of bioterrorism - the murder of native American tribes by Spanish Conquistadors who presented them with yellow fever infected blankets as "gifts." Take a walk through the era of the Cuban bombers, the Cocaine Cowboys right up to the Ponzi schemers like Bernie Madoff and Scott Rothstein of today.

When the saw grass blooms in South Florida so does racism, gambling, prostitution, public corruption and the photographs, videos and exhibits that fill our museum's walls.

In the 1930's, Miami's black "Overtown" neighborhood got its name from the many whites who crossed "over" into "colored town" to listen to the music of Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Josephine Baker, Bessie Smith and Billie Holliday. They went to hear the bluesman sing, "Lord, I'm so low down baby, I declare I'm looking up at down," and to pretend that there would be no price to pay for the racism and corruption that was growing steadily among the orange blossoms in their backyards.

The South Florida Black History tour is the story of the famous and infamous African American South Floridians whose struggles. setbacks, defeats and accomplishments tell the story of the ultimate victory that those who have faithfully kept their "eyes on the prize" still seek.

Crime museum in South Florida, crime tours, black history tours
Crime museum in South Florida, crime tours, black history tours
Crime museum in South Florida, crime tours, black history tours

Crime museum in South Florida, crime tours, black history tours

Florida is the only state in the U.S. that has no minerals but the Spanish arrived in the 1500's and tore it up looking for gold anyway and in the process destroyed the peaceful lives of the Tequesta Indians who had named Miami after their word for "big water."

The modern day history of Florida began with people who did not care about the consequences of what they were doing to others and it continues to this day to be that way,

The Spanish explorers brought with them European diseases like smallpox and syphiilus. They also came looking for Indians to enslave and kidnap to work in the center of Spanish empire, the aptly named island of Hispanalo, known now as the Domican Republic and Haiti. The Spanish justified these atrocities by claiming that God was on their side. They even named the Florida Keys "The Martyrs" because they looked like the decapitated heads of Christians who had died for their faith.

This insanity went on until 1821 when Spain ceded Florida to the United States for a whopping $5 million dollars and Spain has now owned Florida longer than the US has - and that won't change until the year 2057.

Given Miami's relatively late start as a civilization and its distance from other major US cities and limited law enforcement resources, it's no wonder so much crime has happened here. This has been the wild wild west with beaches and palm trees from the beginning.

In the 1800's there were Pirates and ship wreckers galore, Then came the bank robbing and moonshine making Ashley Gang, then the Era of Prohibition Rum Runners, and with them came the snake in the garden of Eden, Al Capone who arrived in 1928 to be met with open arms by the city fathers.

In the 30's, Myer Lansky's gambling empire took root here and the Italian Mafia followed in the 30's, 40's, and 50's to buy up Miami Beach resorts, Marijuana smuggling in the U.S. began here in South Florida in the 70's soon to be followed by cocaine smuggling which became king in the 80's. In this decade, South Florida was the Prescription drugs and pill mills capital of the nation and now we're leading the world in Ponzi schemes and psychosis inducing synthetic drugs like Bath Salts and Flakka..

This has always been a great place to be a crook!

Over the years local and federal law enforcement have stepped in to meet these successive crime waves but it somehow always gets away from them until something new comes along. We here at Crime Tours believe the place was cursed by the indifference of the Spanish, and maybe even before then and that South Florida will always bring out the deviousness in those who want to "get rich quick" by any means.

We're fascinated by all with this and hope you will be fascinated by it too.

There's so much crime and so little time in our tour of the murder, mystery mayhem and history of the Magic City of Miami.

Crime museum in South Florida, crime tours, black history tours
Deliberate indifference began to worm itself into the fabric of Florida’s existence with the arrival of the first white settlers in 1830 soon after Spain sold Florida to the United States for five million dollars. They came to find a swampy, mosquito-ridden area so uninhabitable that it would take nearly 70 years and the vision of a wealthy Standard Oil industrialist named Henry Flagler who built a private railroad to bring tourist money to the land of eternal sunshine in 1897.

In the 1920’s - 1930’s, Miami’s magic came from exotic things like Spanish moss on cypress trees and bull alligators and black lightning bugs that flashed and roared their mating calls during red sunsets. It came from silken sand dunes, white egrets, brown rattlesnakes, blue bottlenose dolphins and the red ink stained hands of bolita players whose magic came from gambling. While destitute New Yorkers hawked apples on the streets of the Big Apple in the midst of the Great Depression, Miami was grossing $60 million a year from illegal gambling and the daily horse race results sheets were the hottest sellers on the streets of Miami.

To convince the less wealthy and complacent workers of the great Northeast to come to the warmth of the south for vacation there needed to be affordable hotels and a variety of activities and Henry Flagler happily provided them. His five-story Royal Palm Hotel at the mouth of the Miami River was built in 1897—the first hotel in the city to feature electric lights, an elevator and swimming pool. It was also the first hotel to offer gambling—totally illegal at the time, as was the serving of alcohol. Yet, while a clause prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages had been included in all land deeds for the new city of Miami, the Royal Palm Hotel had an exemption to serve alcohol to its guests during the three months of the tourist season—an early example of South Florida's deliberate indifference.

And the gambling? It was a profit center that police chiefs, judges, and politicians stumbled over themselves to get a piece of the pie. In South Florida, "Tourism is King" ever since the 1800's for both good and bad and in the name of protecting tourists, South Floridians have promoted the circular reasoning that any crimes committed against them and any effort to indulge them should be played so as not to drive them away.

Crime museum in South Florida, crime tours, black history tours

Historical Tours By The Sea, LLC Operates South Florida's Only Crime Museum & Tours

213 Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale By The Sea, FL 33308 954-281-8810