The name “Allapattah” comes from the Seminole Indian word for alligator. The initial settlement of the Allapattah community began in 1856 when William P.Wagner, the first permanent settler, arrived from Charleston, South Carolina and established a homestead of forty acres where Miami Jackson High School presently stands. Allapattah is also the neighborhood lying immediately Northwest of Downtown Miami. The total population of Allapattah is 44,486 persons (12.3%) of the City’s population and is mainly of Hispanic origin. It emerged in the 1960's as a neighborhood with the second highest concentration of Cubans and in the 1990's with the highest concentration of Dominicans in the City of Miami. At the present time, Allapattah is a mosaic of people from many South and Central American and Caribbean countries.
Allapattah is the proud home of some of the finest medical facilities in the United States. Institutions like the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, the Ryder Trauma Center, Cedars of Lebanon Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital are but a few of the many outstanding diagnostic, treatment and research facilities in the area, attracting patients and distinguished physicians from all over the world.
Civic Center, a seat of local, county and state governmental agencies is located a few blocks away. The Dade Criminal Justice Building, Dade County Jail, and the Public Health Department are found steps away from each other. Centers of education, such as the Lindsey Hopkins Adult Education Center, Miami Dade School of Medicine and Miami Jackson High School, are also located in this area.
The 20th Street merchant’s corridor, between 27th and 17th avenues, is now famous for its multiple garment manufacturing and wholesale outlets attracting buyers and exporters from all over, especially from Latin America and the Caribbean. Nearby, the Produce Market, the largest open-air food distribution center in Miami, serves local supermarkets and “bodegas” with the freshest variety of South Florida produce, tropical fruits and many other products.
The largest industrial area of the city is located in Allapattah. Many trades are well represented here and a wide range of services are offered: clothes manufacturers, auto repair shops, paint and body shops, carpentry and upholstery shops. Additionally, there are several shipyards and dry docks located along the banks of the Miami River.
Allapattah NET has helped bring stability to this neighborhood, and contributed to the revitalization of the area by improving the physical, economic and social conditions. The Allapattah neighborhood has benefited from the many municipal and social services offered by NET. By working together with the Minimum Housing Agency, Allapattah NET has helped improve the conditions of many tenants living in sub minimal housing standards. The 20th Street Merchants Association was created with the support of Allapattah NET to encourage merchants to unite in the revitalization of the area. Extra police has been assigned to this commercial corridor, reducing crime greatly. Allapattah NET has cleared the area of abandoned vehicles, and has considerably reduced illegal mechanical repairs in this neighborhood.