When Plumbers Local Union 519 was charted on December 24, 1910, Miami was an emerging city, with many cornerstones of its future already being placed. Railroad building, canal dredging and construction of new roads and bridges prepared the way for the tourists and part time residents who would create the main economic base for the people who chose to live here.
Within ten years, the population of the area quadrupled to nearly 43,000 according to 1920 census figures. Land developers moved in, and the county exploded with growth, increasing the head count to 143,000 by 1930!
The tendency toward rapid, extreme growth continued, putting the 1940 population at about 268,000. By 1950 it had nearly doubled again, with almost half a million people enjoying the Florida lifestyle.
This outrageous growth could not be stopped, and as airlines helped establish Miami as a major hub for both national and international travelers, the 1960 figure approached one million. This total was also affected by the influx of Cuban exiles and other immigrants, who made indelible contributions to this great city.
1970 figures indicate a comparative slowdown with a population increase of a little over 30%. Still, there were nearly 1.3 million people in Metropolitan Dade County, which was quickly becoming a bilingual, bicultural community.
Census data for 1980 shows more then 1,625,000 residents in the Metro area. In spite of an economic recession suffered in the 70’s, the area sped toward an era of even more remarkable growth, assimilating many cultural changes and establishing itself as a new center of world trade and commerce.
Having reached 1,937,094 by 1990, Dade County’s population today is estimated at more than 2 million. That 1990 figure was surely altered by the collapse of major airlines and other corporations in the early part of the decade, and by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. But by the year 2010, when Local 519 celebrates its 100th birthday, Dade County may have up to 2.4 million residents. We’ll see about that in a few years from now.