I was 7 years old in 1952 and had been living with my family in a ranch-like home complete with a barn, horses & chicken coop on Miami International Airport property for about a year since moving down from the Bronx, New York.

We lived at the airport ranch for free because my dad was an electrician for the Dade County Port Authority and was on call 24 hours a day. I was riding with my dad on NW 36th St near Red Rd (NW 57th Ave) one day when we saw a Flamingo lying on the shoulder of the road. After pulling over for a closer look my dad discovered it was injured and unable to fly. He gently placed it on the back seat of our car and made it our mission to find out where it came from and return it to its owner.

We initially thought the Flamingo must have come from the Hialeah Race Track, but after checking with some close by businesses we found out there was a much closer home to a flock of those tall pink birds. It was a place called The Curtiss Mansion.

I don’t remember if my father had ever heard of The Curtiss Mansion before, but I had not. Neither of us certainly knew about it being the home to any Flamingos. We got directions to the Mansion and delivered the injured bird to its home next to the pond at 500 Deer Run. The man who received the bird was surprised to see it and very happy to get it back, but I’m not sure if it survived its injuries or not.

The next year, we moved from our airport home to 148 Truxton Dr in Miami Springs, the home in which I lived for the rest of my childhood & early adult life. Years later my wife and I would enjoy many fine dinners at the Miami Springs Villas restaurants, the King Arthur’s Court at the Mansion, and the nearby Japanese Steak House, both run by Art Bruns.  I have lots of fond memories of the Curtiss Mansion from over the past 65 years.

Ken Wilde

July, 2017