Sweetwater Area

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The small city of Sweetwater got its start in a rather unique and unlikely way — by a small troupe of Russian-born circus dwarfs! No, we are not kidding. Known as the “Royal Russian Midgets”, they left Russia to perform around the world. The Russian revolution of 1917 and the ensuing political unrest, prevented them from returning to their mother country. The troupe arrived in the U.S. in 1931 and traveled with different circuses and carnivals.

They became American citizens in 1933, and for the rest of the decade, they performed all across the U.S. In 1939, after a performance in Miami, they drove past a strip of land they admired. Enticed by the Florida weather and wide open land, they decided to buy the mile-long strip advertised as “Sweetwater Groves” and make it their new home, in anticipation of retirement. The circus performers had plans of creating a tourist attraction on the 100-acre plot, but their plans never materialized as World War II approached.

Fast forward to the 1970s, when the population of Sweetwater grew to about 6,000 residents as Florida International University was built just to the south. Duplex residences were available for $85 per month, attracting GIs returning from Vietnam.

In 2010, Sweetwater annexed two square miles just to its north, which included Miami’s Dolphin Mall — the third most visited destination in Florida after Disney World and Sawgrass Mills Mall in Broward — the next county north of Miami-Dade. Today, Sweetwater has evolved into a small city with 14 shopping centers and more than 600 businesses. About 94% of the population is Hispanic, with the largest concentration belonging to the Nicaraguan community.

Sweetwater Area

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