An early land owner of the area, W.A. Larkins owned property west of Red Road and Sunset Drive. He built the first grocery store in the area, and as the community grew, a post office was placed in the community. Larkins became the first Postmaster, and the community took the name of "Larkins". A depot was placed along the Florida East Coast Railway.
In 1926, area residents wanted to incorporate their area, and because of the booming city to the north of them, they chose the name of "South Miami". The original town boundaries were Red Road on the east, Kendall Drive to the south, Palmetto Road to the west (now Palmetto Expressway), and Bird Road to the north. The year 1926 also saw the first incoming class of freshmen at the newly chartered University of Miami campus, which abuts the city of South Miami eastern boundary along Red Road (SW 57th Avenue). Also founded with a university theme that same year was the Cambridge Lawns neighborhood of South Miami, situated just 0.7 miles (1.1 km) from the university campus. The neighborhood's Cambridge Lawns Historic District, some 30 homes in the Tudor Revival and Mediterranean revival style completed in 1928, were granted historic recognition by the City of South Miami in 2005.
In 1933, the original six square miles of South Miami were reduced to just over three miles (5 km) due to an effort to reduce municipal responsibilities. The city's size was reduced again in 1937, and many of the northern city residents sued to get out of the city. This is why the city of South Miami has the most irregular boundaries of any city in Miami-Dade County today.


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