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Sherwood Forest, El Jardines, and El Portal; united, they form the Village of El Portal. A secluded, nature-filled beauty, the historic Village is the perfect balance of rich foliage, wildlife, and an active community, where it’s members are proud to live.


The Village of El Portal borders Miami to its east and south and was incorporated in 1937. Sherwood Forest, is a bird sanctuary,  filled with 75-foot tall oak trees, manatees, reptiles, and a variety of plants. Having been noted as the oldest non-permanent European settlement in the New World, scholars have traced the Village to have been home to a small group of Spanish settlers as early as 1535 (earlier than St. Augustine). Originally laid out by Lee T. Cooper of Ohio, Cooper purchased a large portion of El Portal for as little as $25/acre.

Another historic component of the Village is the Tequesta Indian Mound, one of the highest points in Miami-Dade, dating back to the year 600, when ancient Tequesta Indians migrated and settled there after passing by on the Little River. The Mound was declared a historic landmark in Miami-Dade in the 1920’s, being the first archaeological site to have this honor in the entire county. Later, in 1923, one of the oldest churches in the county was established- the Rader Memorial United Methodist Church. The Village community continues to honor the legacy of the original architecture and nature every day.


For the past 80 years or so, the Village has been home to an active and involved community. The Village’s extensive tree canopy celebrates its designation as a “Tree City USA” for their excellence in urban forestry management. In 2002, El Portal voted to change to a Council-Manager form of government. In 2013, The Design Charrette took place to plan for a more environmentally sustainable, beautiful, future for the Village. As for the Rader Memorial Methodist Church, in early 2007, the congregation elected to merge with another Methodist church and the building was sold to be converted into a convent and for other uses. Currently, the Village continues to make improvements to preserve the culture and architecture of the Village and bring it’s people together via community events.


The Village of El Portal’s name is Spanish for, “The Gate”. This is in reference to the wooden gates, located on NE 2nd Avenue, at the entrance of the Village, which were taken down in the 1940’s.


An iconic part of the Village is the nature that surrounds it. The diverse wildlife, around the river make for a picturesque town that promotes environmental sustainability. The Women’s and Garden Club work hard to ensure that the Village is well-kept so that all animals and plants, alike are maintained. This way the community’s peacocks, manatees, iguanas, and people alike, all have a beautiful place to call home.


Community activities on a regular basis make the Village an exciting place to live. With such a tight-knit community, our neighbors are constantly gathering together for events in efforts to make the neighborhood fun. Farmer’s markets, food trucks, and holiday BBQ’s are just a few of the events that the Village hosts for friends and families. An active community that cares is one of the reasons El Portal has been preserved so gracefully.

Photo Credit: André Teixeira, 2017 Photo Contest Nature Category Submission

© GFWC El Portal Woman's Club. All rights reserved.

General Federation of Women's Clubs

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